Contributions to the study of global environmental problems
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Current awareness of global environmental problems is drawing ecological anthropology into multidisciplinary debates over ‘sustainable *development’. The rapid destruction of tropical forests, grazing lands, coastal fisheries, etc., has stimulated interest in the ‘tragedy of the commons’, a model asserting that resources held in common ownership are inevitably overused and degraded by people pursuing their individual interests. However, ethnographic examples of sustainable common resource management in many regions of the world challenge this model. For example, Swiss alpine villagers have for centuries successfully managed and conserved meadows, forest and irrigation as common resources.