Unit K - Rural Environmental Management Training Programme



Unit K


These materials were originally written by Arthur Lyon Dahl as a set of training materials for use by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in 1983-85, before being extended to environmental management issues in all rural areas of developing countries. While many of the examples are from the Pacific, they are widely relevant. This unit includes introductory instructions for the use of each unit in a training programme, and more general information on the organization of training programmes using this material.


Unit A



This unit is to explain to trainees or potential trainees what the training programme is about, and to motivate them to want to go through the programme. Whoever is organizing or recruiting for the training programme should read the text over, and then develop his or her own way of explaining the programme to those who are interested, perhaps using the outline provided. Local examples could be added to make the presentation more interesting. The approach can also be adapted to particular local needs or audiences.

Recruitment can often be more effective by using some of the materials in the sensitization units, together with audio-visual materials which should be made or obtained locally in order to be adapted to the local environment.

When this unit is used to start a training activity, the introductory talk could be followed by a discussion with the participants on the programme and their reasons for taking part in it. A list of questions is provided to help start a discussion of the training programme. For the questions marked with an asterix (*), each person in turn should give their own personal response. The other questions can be put to the whole group for any who would like to volunteer an answer, until the question is answered to the leader's satisfaction.

B. Sensitization to environmental problems

Unit B1



This unit describes the common environmental problems in rural areas of developing countries. It shows that most environmental problems are not just local, but are shared by most developing countries with similar environments. It aims to create a sensitivity to the many different kinds of environmental problems experienced in rural areas.

Because of the diversity of rural environments, there are four versions of this unit: one for most rural environments, and special units for dryland and desert areas, for mountain areas, and for small islands. Select the one most appropriate for your local area.

The text can be provided as a reading assignment before a group discussion, or it can be described point by point by a teacher in one or more class sessions. The information can also be presented or reinforced with audio-visual materials which could be obtained or made locally.

The presentation of the material should be followed up with a discussion relating each of the problems described to cases known to the participants, or to case studies where these are available. Many of the problems are treated in more detail in other units of this training programme.

This unit can also be used by itself to sensitize people to the environmental problems facing rural areas.


If this unit is not to be followed by others treating the problems in more detail, then one or more field trips could be organized to local sites illustrating as many of the environmental problems as possible. These might include:
- rubbish tip (garbage dump)
- waste treatment plant
- forest logging or replanting area
- site showing soil erosion
- water catchment, dam, well or water supply
- agricultural chemical storehouse
- park or natural area
- mine, quarry or dredge site
- factory with waste disposal problems.

It might also be possible to invite representatives of some of the government departments or companies concerned to come and speak to the group about some of these problems.

Unit B2



This unit should create an awareness of environmental problems in the local environment. As such it must be adapted to each local situation. The training leader should prepare in advance a list of the important environmental problems in the participants' own areas. The topics in unit B1 can be used as a guide, but other problems should be added if they are locally important.

The group should explore local problems through a series of questions to be discussed by the group, as given in the text. As the participants answer these questions, they should describe their local environmental problems from their own experience. It may be useful to list the problems mentioned on a blackboard or piece of paper, or to have the participants write them down. Check to make certain that no important problems have been overlooked, by comparing with the list made up previously.

If the group is large, it can be broken up into small working groups for this exercise. The working groups would then report their lists of problems back to the whole group.

The questions can be modified to suit the local situation, and others can be added if necessary to bring out important local problems.

If resources permit, photographs can be taken of local environmental problems, to be used as supporting audio-visual material for this unit. Alternatively, the group could itself assemble newspaper clippings, photographs, government reports and even reports made by the participants themselves documenting local problems.


If time permits, individuals or small groups can visit or study particular problems identified in the group discussion and report back to the group. Tours or visits by the group to particular problem sites can also be arranged. Even a walk around the community with someone who can explain the different local environmental problems, such as a local health officer or doctor, agricultural extension officer or teacher, can be instructive.

Unit B3



The text of this unit summarizes some of the most important world environmental problems. Everyone today should know something about these problems, even if there seems to be no way that any individual, especially in the developing world, can do anything about them.

The simplest way to use this unit is to read the text with the group, or to pass it around so that each one can read in turn, and then to discuss each paragraph, perhaps with the help of the questions provided.

If time permits going into more detail and there is a library available, these subjects have been widely written about in newspapers, magazines and books. The participants could be assigned individually or in small groups to look for more information on one of the problems and to report back to the group.

International organizations concerned with these problems may also be able to provide information, and perhaps even audio-visual materials, so there has been no attempt to duplicate this material in this training programme.

Unit B4



Many people see interest in the environment or ecology as something far away from the practical concerns of daily life, and therefore a luxury that we cannot afford. This unit gives some of the reasons why everyone must be concerned about the environment. Participants learning environmental management must not only feel the importance of this work themselves, but also be able to convince others of its relevance. The approaches in this unit may help with this.

Each section of the text should be read and discussed within the group. The participants should be encouraged to think about and express their own feelings on each subject. This should help them to understand their own motivation and make it easier for them to share it with others. Where the number of participants is large, small discussion groups of 5 to 9 people can be formed to give everyone a chance to express themselves.

The group should be encouraged to think of other arguments for the importance of environmental concern and environmental management, perhaps related to immediate local problems.


After the general discussion of the topic, role-playing exercises can help the participants to understand these points while giving them confidence in their ability to express themselves.

The group is divided into pairs. One person is the sceptic who sees no reason to be interested in the environment and does not want to be bothered by it; the other is the environmental manager who must convince him of the importance of some environmental action. Each pair plays out these roles in front of the group. The pairs can also switch roles if they wish and if time permits. A few minutes should be sufficient to let each pair develop their arguments and counter-arguments.

The specifics of the case are not important to the lesson, but they may be either assigned by the group leader or chosen by the participants if this makes it easier to imagine the roles. Some examples are:

The farmer who is clearing a steep hillside subject to erosion, to whom it must be explained that the soil will wash away and his effort will be lost;

The fisherman going out to fish with dynamite, who does not care if there is no reef left for fishing tomorrow;

The cattle raiser burning off the pasture to clear the weeds, without realising the long-term damage to the soil;

The hunter going out to shoot an endangered species of bird;

The farm worker washing out his pesticide spraying equipment in a stream used by other villages for drinking water; etc.

Such role-playing is usually fun for the participants, and can often bring out new arguments and explanations for the importance of environmental management.

Unit B5



People with origins in non-Western cultures such as those of many developing countries often have a rich heritage of traditional knowledge of the environment and of methods for managing environmental resources. However Western education has generally eroded their interest and confidence in this heritage. This unit aims to create an awareness of the existence and breadth of this knowledge with many important applications to today's problems. The subject is treated in more detail in section E of this training programme, Traditional Environmental Management.

The heart of this unit is a list of different kinds of traditional environmental knowledge found in many indigenous cultures. The training leader should go over the text of the unit so that he or she can present the topic to the group. The group should then go through the list, while the participants describe and discuss examples from their own experience. The questions that follow the text can help to direct this discussion.

The personal examples brought out in the discussion should give the participants an awareness of the environmental knowledge they already possess. They will thus be able to see the continuity between this knowledge and the training programme.

If this unit is used separately from the training programme, it can be supported or followed up with materials from section E.

C. Basic resources

Unit C1



An understanding of the basic resources of rural areas must start with a knowledge of how the land was made and where its features came from. This unit reviews the geological origins of the different types of land features and gives some essential principles of their structure. As with all the units in this section on basic resources, the content of this unit can be taught in a classroom or demonstrated through examples in the field whenever these are available. Ideally both approaches should be used, but the balance between group study and practical activities in the field will need to be adjusted to the level of the participants. For participants with little academic background, the unit should be taught as far as possible through the study of examples in the field that demonstrate the geological processes or structures described in the unit.

It might assist in the retention of this material to have participants draw or copy diagrams showing the structure of the different land types, and perhaps a similar diagram of their own rural area. If participants have come from areas with different land types, they can each describe their land to the group.

More details on coral islands are given in unit C8 Coral Reefs.


One or more field visits should be organized in conjunction with this unit. The features available will depend on the area where the training is being held, but might include a volcanic crater or lava field, viewpoints where the form of the land can be seen, the shore line with cliffs or wave-cut terraces at different levels, coastal beach or rubble deposits and coral reefs, road cuts, quarries or other sites where a section cut through the topsoil and rock can be seen, caves or rocky outcrops which may show something about land structure, etc.

Staff from the local Department of Mines, Natural Resources or Geological Survey may be able to assist in identifying sites of geological interest and in explaining local features during field trips.

Unit C2



Water is essential to life and therefore to the environment. Many environmental problems are associated with water in one way or another. This unit explains why water is so important, and how it comes to and moves through the environmental system.

We have contact with water in our daily life in so many ways that we seldom give it a thought. As part of this unit, the participants should try to think consciously about the water all around them, and fit the different parts of their experience together into the water cycle. They should try to follow the water through all the parts of the water cycle in their mind.

An illustration or diagram of the water cycle can help to explain it. Each participant can be provided with the text and any illustrations available, or the information can be presented to the group with the aid of large scale drawing in front of the group on a blackboard or with felt pens on large sheets of paper. It may help to have each person copy the diagram.


The general principles in this unit need to be applied to the specific local situations of each participant's home area. If visits to some of these areas are possible, then they should include the water catchment, an examination of the local water supply and distribution system, and possibly a look at where the water goes after it has been used.

The participants can also prepare diagrams of the water cycle in their own village or area, including the specifics of their own water supply.

Unit C3



This unit introduces one of the most basic natural resources: soil. It is important that this unit be well understood, as soils are significant to many environmental problems, and a basic knowledge of soils is necessary for many of the units that follow.

The text should be covered in one or more group sessions, using any audio-visual supports that may be available. Most departments of agriculture have someone with a good knowledge of soils who could come and discuss local soils and soil problems with the group.


If soil maps or land use maps are available for your country, they can be used to help each participant relate the soils he or she knows from personal experience to the overall soil patterns in the country.


A field trip to give first-hand experience with different soil types and soil management problems is the best way to present this material. The trainees should look at, dig up and examine as many different types of soil as are readily available. Soil profiles can often be observed at road cuts or construction sites. Areas of undisturbed forest soil, recently cleared soil, soil subjected to heavy use, pasture land or savanna, degraded soil, and soil erosion should be visited if possible. An agricultural officer, instructor or extension worker might be able to accompany the group to provide detailed local explanations.


Depending on the nature of the training programme, related units on erosion and soil degradation, soil analyses, and agriculture and forestry impacts, could be used to supplement this unit.

Unit C4



Forests are or were an essential part of most rural ecosystems, and this unit explains the roles they have played and should play. The text explains how forests work, what their importance is, and how they are threatened. The text can be read individually or presented to the group as one or more lectures. The group should then discuss how the different points apply to their own land and forest areas.

This unit can be used independently in areas where forests are important or where forestry projects are being considered.

The content of this unit will be of greatest interest in rural areas with significant forest resources. It will be of less interest to people from drylands or areas where the forest was destroyed long ago.


The best supporting activity for this unit would be a visit to a natural forest area where the different roles of the forest can be explained and illustrated with real examples. If possible dig a hole in the ground or look at a road cut bordered by forest where the relationship between the forest and the layers of soil development can be shown.

Unit C5



Agriculture depends on environmental resources and can only succeed if those resources are respected. This unit reviews some of the environmental principles underlying the success or failure of agriculture and livestock raising. Since the specifics of agriculture differ greatly from place to place, it will be necessary for the discussion leader to explain the application of the general principles described here to local situations using local examples. Your agricultural department or agricultural extension officer may be able to help.

Since many participants will have had experience in agriculture, it should be possible to organize a good discussion of these principles as they relate to each person's own experience. The section on agricultural strategies is intended to pose questions rather than to suggest solutions, which may depend on government policy or on the preferences and possibilities of the individual farmer.

Other units such as those on soils (C3) and the weather (D2) cover closely related topics.


Local agricultural schools and extension services may have audio-visual materials which could be used to support this unit.


Field trips should be arranged to agricultural areas showing both subsistence and large-scale commercial development. If possible they should be led by a knowledgeable person able to explain the environmental aspects of each type and their sustainability.

Unit C6



This unit reviews the environmental principles which can contribute to the management of coastal fisheries, especially in the tropics. It aims to help fishermen to see how catching fish can have an effect on the biological system that produces the fish. They can then see how they are themselves responsible for managing their own fishery.

Each section of the unit should be presented and discussed by the group until the point is well understood. A local fisheries officer or other knowledgeable person could be invited to explain each point using local examples and the local names for the fish and other animals.

If there are experienced fishermen in the group, they should also be able to provide many details to illustrate some of the points raised. However fishermen or others who have never been diving with a mask or goggles may find it hard to imagine what things look like underwater. In this case underwater slides, films or field excursions would help to make the unit meaningful.

The units on Coral reefs (C8), Lagoons (C9) and Mangroves (C10) provide more information on specific coastal fisheries environments.


Films or slides of coral reefs and underwater life are quite widely available for general illustration of the fisherman's environment. Amateur photographers in local diving groups may also have pictures that could be used, with the advantage that they would illustrate the local situation, which is always more interesting. Local fisheries departments may also have audio-visual materials or publications with illustrations that can be shown to the group.


The most effective exercise would be to arrange discussions with local fishermen (particularly older men and women) about the management of local fisheries and possible signs of overfishing. Remember that different types of fishing are often the responsibility of different groups, families or sexes, and it would be good to include representatives of each to have an overall picture. Such discussions could even take place while accompanying the fishermen on a fishing expedition.

If it is possible to take the group diving with masks or goggles, this can be useful, particularly if it is possible to visit both areas where there is heavy fishing (and perhaps overfishing) and reserves or more remote areas where there is little fishing, to see the differences in the condition of the environment and the numbers of fish.

Unit C7



An important aspect of environmental management is the conservation of natural areas and natural resources to ensure the future survival of the native fauna and flora. This unit gives a simple explanation of conservation and the reasons for its importance. Each sub-topic can be presented and then discussed by the group, adding local examples wherever possible.

The treatment of the topic can be expanded with supplementary materials and audio-visual programmes as appropriate.


If there are parks or reserves in your country, a field trip to visit them would be appropriate.

There are often local people interested in native birds or plants who could speak to the group, or even take them on a field trip to some natural area.

If time permits, participants could prepare short projects collecting information on local species or natural areas in need of protection.

Unit C8



This unit gives a basic explanation of what a coral reef is and how it works, as well as some of the problems associated with coral reef management. The text can be studied by or presented to the group. Audio-visual materials and/or field trips are essential to give visual and practical experience with coral reef areas.


The best possible exercise is a field trip to a coral reef, if these occur in the area. A relatively protected reef or a patch reef in a lagoon are the best sites for such an introductory field trip.

If possible the trainees should be provided with masks or goggles, preferably with snorkels, to make it possible to see the reef life under water. Sturdy shoes (tennis shoes or equivalent) are necessary if a reef flat must be crossed on foot. Ideally the group should be accompanied by someone who can explain features of coral reef ecology in the field and point out interesting features.


Related topics are treated in the units on lagoons, mangroves, fisheries and monitoring coral reefs.

Unit C9



This unit describes the special characteristics of lagoons which make them places needing careful management. The material is supplementary to the previous unit on Coral Reefs (C8). It can be considered optional or omitted entirely in areas where lagoons do not occur.

While all types of lagoons are discussed in this unit, emphasis should be placed on those types which are found locally, and local examples should be added whenever possible.


Field trips should be made to as many types of lagoons as are readily available. Opportunities to swim or dive in the lagoons would be especially valuable, as they can give first-hand experience of lagoon environments, and often permit the discovery of phenomena such as thermoclines or salinity differences which are more easily experienced than described.

Unit C10



Mangroves are an important coastal resource in many tropical countries, and this unit will therefore be important for those countries where mangroves occur. Since people have often been taught to think of mangrove swamps as bad, this unit emphasizes the usefulness of mangroves in the coastal system and the special problems they present for environmental management. The content of the unit should be reinforced with as much work in the field as possible, assuming there is access to mangrove areas.


Field trips should be made to as many types of mangroves as may be accessible. Sites where mangroves have been damaged or destroyed should also be included if possible. The principles raised in the unit can then be explained with reference to local examples. Local fishermen and other users could also explain what they take from mangrove areas.

If the water is not too muddy, face masks or a glass-bottom bucket may make it possible to see baby fish or other animals in the water.

D. Principles of ecology and resource management

Unit D1



This unit treats several aspects of time that are pertinent to the environment, including the passage of time, how we measure or divide it up with a calendar, and the cycles things go through in time. Time is a subject that seems self-evident yet is difficult to understand across different cultures. If the leader and all the participants are from the same cultural background, this unit will be easier to cover (but perhaps less interesting) than if there are people from different cultures with different traditional conceptions of time.

The aspects of time presented in the text should be discussed carefully in the group to bring out the different ways of looking at time which affect how people understand the world around them. Then it will be easier to discuss the importance of time and cycles in the natural environment. Participants should try to think of as many local examples as possible from both their culture and their environment to illustrate these ideas.

Unit D2



This Unit discusses one of the most determining factors in any local environment, the weather, together with related problems of natural disasters. There should be no problem in getting into interesting discussions with the participants since most people have ideas on this subject. It is best not to criticize any ideas or theories expressed, since there are often good empirical observations or elements of truth in local folk wisdom even if these have not yet been validated scientifically.

If possible, bring in outside experts for discussions with the group. These could include a meteorologist from the local weather bureau, and perhaps an old man known for his ability to predict the weather.


A visit to a local weather station would illustrate the different kinds of information collected on the weather, such as temperature, rainfall, hours of sunlight, wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure, relative humidity, atmospheric conditions (with a weather balloon), and radar and satellite images.

Unit D3



Nutrients and the way they are cycled through living systems are one of the most critical factors in ecology. However, they cannot be seen and so are difficult to explain to someone with no knowledge of chemistry. Thus unit attempts to give the basic principles of nutrient cycling for people with no chemical background. The text should be explained carefully step by step, with discussion with the participants at each paragraph to ensure that the principles are clearly understood.

If a blackboard or other drawing board is available, the concept of the cycling of nutrients could be shown by drawing a diagram on the board while explaining it.

Unit D4



Principles concerning populations are important for understanding a number of environmental problems. This unit introduces the concept of populations, and explains the relationships between populations and the levels at which they feed through food chains. It then outlines the principles of biogeography as related to island and mountain populations. Finally, it applies population concepts to problems of pest control. The discussion leader may want to develop his or her own additional examples, perhaps drawing on local cases.

It might be possible to find a local specialist in pest control in the agriculture department who could contribute to the discussion on that subject.

Unit D5



The subject covered in this unit on microbes is essential to understanding problems of disease and pollution, but it is difficult to explain because microbes cannot be seen without a microscope and the participants will thus not have had any direct personal experience on which to draw. Cover the material in the unit carefully. Then if possible try to arrange for a demonstration of microbial life as a practical exercise. A discussion of what has been observed in the exercises can then serve to review the basic points in the unit. Then discuss with the group what their new knowledge of the microbial world means in terms of their life in their own village or area. The participants must come to understand that microbes are everywhere around them carrying out essential ecological functions or ready to cause illness or environmental problems. They should try to think through how disease germs might be spread through their environment or through their daily activities. This awareness will be very useful in their environmental analyses.


It is important to try to arrange some demonstrations of microbes so that the participants can associate the idea with something real that they have experienced. If it is possible to borrow or get access to a microscope (perhaps in a high school or college science laboratory, at the department of agriculture, or in a medical laboratory) then the participants can see microbes of different types moving or wiggling under the microscope. Simple preparations can be made of saliva or pond water to show bacteria and other tiny forms of life. The details of what is shown are less important than the demonstration that we are surrounded by living things we cannot see, but which are very important in our environment.

Other simple demonstrations can be arranged even if a microscope is not available. Mould can be grown on an old piece of bread or other spoiled food to demonstrate the actions of decomposers. A bottle of water to which a little bit of dry grass or other dead plants has been added can be left in front of a window for a few days; the water and the walls of the bottle should become clouded or coloured by algae or tiny animals. In this way, even though it is not possible to see individual microbes with the naked eye, it is possible to see them when many are grouped together.

Unit D6



This unit explains why water pollution is one of the most dangerous and widespread environmental problems. It describes the different kinds of pollution and where they come from. Since the kinds of water pollution that are most important locally differ from place to place, the emphasis in this section should be put on those sources of water pollution that are the most significant locally. In the discussion of this unit, use local examples wherever possible. You may be able to get details of the water pollution problems in your country from local health, environmental, or port officials. You could also invite such people to meet with the group to discuss these problems.


The group could be taken on a field trip to look at local examples of water pollution. They also could be assigned to go out individually or in small teams to identify as many different locations and sources of water pollution as possible. Then the group should discuss the origin of these pollution problems and what can be done about them.

If the government has a local water pollution monitoring programme, it might be possible to arrange for the group to go along and watch the samples being collected and analyzed.

E. Traditional environmental management

Unit E1



This unit gives some of the background to traditional or customary systems of resource use and management, including both good and bad examples. It shows the context within which these practices arose, and thus should help the participants to understand and appreciate them better. Some participants may still have a good knowledge of their own traditional systems, and they should be encouraged to discuss them and to use them to illustrate the points made. Others may know very little about their cultural heritage, and this section may help them to discover that the past is worth knowing about, and hopefully motivate them to try to learn more.

Since many participants from rural communities will already have some experience of these subjects, at least in their own area, the ideas in the text should be used to stimulate discussion on the value of this knowledge. The aim in many cases will be less to teach new knowledge than to change the attitudes of the participants towards knowledge they already have but may not have appreciated.

The discussion can be enriched by bringing in local people who know traditional resource management systems well.


Field trips can be made to areas where traditional techniques for resource use and management are still practised, hopefully with opportunities to discuss the techniques with people who still use them in their daily life.

Unit E2



The purpose of this unit is to show that there was a scientific content and scientific approach in traditional cultures, and that science is therefore not just something new imported from outside but the continuation and expansion of processes central to traditional life in rural areas. Unfortunately this traditional knowledge was often hidden under the name "sorcery" applied by the early missionaries and administrators, who tried by every means to stamp it out, and largely succeeded.

The discussion of this material should aim to help the participants go beyond the old labels of "sorcery" and "superstition", so that they can look again at traditional knowledge with a modern understanding to see what may still be useful today. By appreciating the scientific content of their heritage, the participants may also find it easier to study principles of modern science which may be useful to the management of their environment.

Unit E3



One of the most important steps in preparation for local environmental management is to reconstruct what knowledge still remains about traditional management systems and to evaluate its pertinence to modern needs. The previous units should have given the participants an appreciation for their heritage of traditional knowledge, yet the chances are that their understanding of it will be partial and imperfect. This unit gives some ideas for the collection of traditional knowledge, with emphasis on the kinds of documentation necessary to ensure that the records will also be useful to others in the future. Information without enough data on its origin is nearly worthless, like an old photograph without information as to who it is and where it was taken. The participants must realize the importance of recording what they know or learn, and the presentation of this unit should emphasize this.

If there are already local cultural preservation activities (often associated with a museum or cultural centre), a person responsible for these activities could participate in the discussion on this topic.


The intent of this unit is to get the participants to start recording the traditional knowledge of the environment in their own village or family. This could be started as field exercises during the course, with each participant reporting back to the group.

If there are existing cultural preservation activities, the participants might be able to assist with the field work for those activities.

Some countries already have an archive of written or recorded documents on traditional knowledge. Participants could be assigned to search through some of the archival material for information useful to resource management.

F. The human habitat

Unit F1



This unit introduces the human environment or habitat, focusing on people's most basic needs for food, water and shelter which must be met whether they live in a tiny village, a town or a large city. Emphasis is placed on the problems associated with water, since this is often the most critical environmental resource in villages and towns. If possible, the points made in the text should be illustrated with local examples, which are usually not too difficult to find. Someone familiar with the local water supply could be brought in to speak on the local problems in obtaining adequate pure water and distributing to users. A local architect interested in appropriate types of housing could also be invited to discuss that subject with the group.


A field trip could be arranged to see one or more local water supply systems, if possible following them from the origin of the water catchment to some of the final points of distribution. Examples of local types of housing, including traditional houses, low-cost housing, and squatter settlements could also be visited.

The participants can make a plan or drawing of where the water comes from in their own village or town, starting from the rain falling from the sky, and ending with someone drinking the water at home. Then they should note on their plan all the places where there is a chance that the water might be dirtied or polluted. Finally they should think about what might need to be done to keep the water clean.

If time permits, each participant can draw or make a plan of his or her own ideal house, and then explain to the group why it has been designed the way it is.

Unit F2



One of the most important environmental effects of pollution is on human health. This unit describes the environmental effects of the disposal of solid and liquid wastes, and gives the principles of hygiene and sanitation necessary to identify serious health risks and to take action to avoid problems.

A review of the general principles in the text by the group should be followed by practical exercises in identifying problems of hygiene and sanitation. As a class exercise, each participant could describe from memory the situation in his own community, using the checklist provided. An exercise in the field as described below would be even more effective. A local environmental health officer could be invited to assist with this unit.


The participants should visit whatever local waste disposal facilities are available, such as the rubbish dump and possibly a local waste treatment plant. If there have been any local studies of pollution, these can be used to illustrate the results of inadequate waste treatment. Coliform counts (a measure of pollution by intestinal bacteria and thus by human wastes and pathogens) can be particularly useful as pollution indicators. Counts of over 100 per 100 ml indicate water unfit for domestic use, and over 2,000 coliforms shows water that is dangerous for swimming.

The checklist can also be used in a field exercise to evaluate local environmental health hazards.


The environmental checklist is based on one originated by UNICEF and described in the following publication, which can provide additional material on this topic:

Rural Sanitation: Planning and Appraisal by Arnold Pacey, London, Intermediate Technology Publications Ltd., 1980.

Unit F3



This unit reviews a few of the general principles of urban environmental planning applicable to the villages and small towns of developing countries. It can be used to start a discussion of the particular town planning problems of whatever cities or towns are known to the participants. More detailed aspects of local environmental planning are covered in Unit G4 Planning.


Many towns have been the subject of town plans or planning studies. If copies of these can be obtained for a local urban area, they could be reviewed by the group, perhaps in conjunction with a tour of the urban area. This could be followed by a discussion of the reasons for success or failure in implementing the plan.

Unit F4



One time when the environment has an extreme effect on people is during a natural disaster. In this unit, the principal types of natural disasters common in rural areas are reviewed. The ways in which careful environmental planning can reduce the effects of such disasters on the human habitat are then discussed.

The best way to introduce this topic might be to describe some natural disasters (cyclones/hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis) that have occurred locally, perhaps with the participation of eye-witnesses to the damage caused. The text could then be reviewed with those examples in mind. A final discussion could then focus on steps that could be taken locally to reduce the risk to human life and damage to property in the event of future natural disasters.

The terminology for severe tropical storms varies from one ocean region to another. What are called cyclones in the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean are typhoons in the North Pacific and hurricanes in the Caribbean. In using these materials, the terms should be adjusted accordingly.

Unit D2 on Weather also touches on natural disasters.


If information exists on local areas damaged during a natural disaster, a visit to some of those areas could be arranged to give the participants a first-hand view of the kinds of sites where control measures should be developed.

G. Managing the local environment

Unit G1



This unit describes simple methods for making maps and inventories of environmental resources. The methods should first be explained to the group, preferably with the help of drawings or a blackboard. This should be followed by practical exercises making maps or inventories of whatever things are available locally. The exercises should be repeated until the principles are well understood.

Only the simplest principles are discussed here. There are many more elaborate techniques for inventories and mapping that may be appropriate in particular situations. The references listed under supplementary materials can be used to expand this unit if necessary.

The principles of sampling referred to briefly in this unit are discussed in more detail in the section on techniques for research and monitoring (Unit H2).


The first exercises should be done by the group leader as a demonstration. Then the participants should try the exercises themselves, repeating them as necessary until the principles are well understood. If the group is large, it may be better to divide it up into teams of two or three for the purposes of the subsequent exercises.

For the mapping exercises, first select an area like a sports field or the centre of a village that will be easy to map. Then a larger or more difficult area can be chosen. If there are already maps of these areas available, they can be used afterwards for comparison with those drawn by the participants.

If possible, there should also be exercises in making an estimate of a moving resource such as birds or fish, and a fixed resource such as a crop or certain forest trees.

It is always wise for the group leader to go through the field exercises first before presenting the unit to the group.


A simple but more complete description of surveying and mapping equipment and methods is given in: Surveying and Mapping: A Manual of Simplified Techniques by Robert F. G. Spier, published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., New York, 1970.

For an introduction to the scientific literature on resource inventory methods, consult Resource Inventory & Baseline Study Methods for Developing Countries edited by Francis Conant et al. and published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C., 1983.

Unit G2



The environment is not just something in the present, it also has a history. This unit shows the importance of the past history of the environment to its present and future, and suggests different ways that the environment in the past can be deciphered. Since this history is different in each locality, the points raised in the unit should be used one after one as the basis for group discussion in which the participants share their own knowledge and experience. The discussion leader can also share examples of past changes in the local environment known to him or her.

If the group consists entirely of young people, it may be useful to bring in some older people to describe the local environment as it was in the past and how it has changed.


If time permits, participants could be given individual projects to research information on the environment in the past from members of their family or community, or from documents or photographs in the library, museum and archives.

Field trips could also be planned to sites where there are visible signs of changes in the environment.

Unit G3



Any plan or management action must be based not only on present conditions but on what is expected in the future. This unit introduces some of the scientific methods for predicting the future and the limitations of these methods. Each part of the text should be carefully explained to the group, using both the examples given and others which the group leader can develop using local situations. The ideas should be discussed until they are well understood by the group. This is not a topic that is easily reinforced by field visits or practice sessions, so the principles must be communicated through the leader's presentation and through examples developed with the group.


One type of exercise which may help is that of imagining some particular time and place in the past, considering with the benefit of hindsight what actually occurred, and then asking whether and on what basis the people at that time could have predicted and prepared for the events that occurred. Try returning, for instance, to the time before some natural disaster such as a hurricane, flood or drought in your local area, and imagine whether the disaster could have been predicted at least in general terms, if not in its specific timing, and what steps people might have been able to take in the light of their predictions to minimize the damage.

Unit G4



This unit explains what a plan is and gives some of the basic principles of environmental planning. Many types of information that can be included in a plan are discussed, but participants should learn to be critical and selective in adapting the idea of planning to their own particular needs. It is much more important to learn the process of planning rather than the form.

At the local level, a plan can only work with community support, so methods for community participation in planning are discussed. This can first be tried within the group, and then possibly developed in a field exercise.

Participants must realize that making a plan is not just a goal in itself for the sake of having a plan, but that it is important to implement and monitor it. This should be discussed in the group at the end of the unit.


Practical exercises in planning should be a major part of the unit. A first exercise could be undertaken by the whole group under the direction of the leader. Subsequent exercises could be done by small teams or individually. Choose local examples that the participants are familiar with, or that they can go and observe for themselves to get the necessary information. Examples should include both a physical plan for an area like a village, neighbourhood or family land-holding, and a development plan for a resource or a rural area. Avoid choosing a problem that is too large or complex, so that the participants do not get bogged down in details.

For the community participation section of the unit, it would be good, if circumstances permit, for participants to undertake a real field exercise in community planning. A project should be selected in co-operation with local authorities, such as the development of a village over the next 5 years, the siting of a new school or shopping area, the development of improvements in an urban neighbourhood, the creation of a park or recreation area, etc. The participants should first study the problem and develop ways of explaining the problems and possibilities to the people concerned. They should then organize one or more meetings in the community at which a community solution to the planning problem is developed. The result should be written up and presented to the local authorities for possible implementation.

H. Techniques for research and monitoring

Unit H1



This unit gives a simple explanation of the scientific method as a way of thinking about problems and searching for their solutions. It shows that anyone can use the scientific method, and often does so, even without formal scientific training. Each section should be carefully discussed with the group, using practical examples, until everyone understands the principles involved. The concept of research as explained here is essential to the whole training programme.


This unit will need to be reinforced with several types of exercises. First, each point in the text should be supported by group discussion, focusing on concrete examples from the local environment similar to those used in the text.

After reviewing the whole text, group exercises should be organized to discuss and develop case studies of the application of the scientific method. The group should go through the different steps of defining a problem, thinking about possible explanations or solutions, and designing experiments or studies to prove them. Where the group is large, it can be broken up into working groups of about 5 people, each considering a specific problem assigned by the group leader. Examples of local problems that could be discussed are a water shortage in a village, a field with declining agricultural productivity, a pest like rats or giant african snails, the declining catch of an important food fish or bird, etc.

The following exercises can be done individually or in the group to develop powers of observation:

Coins are something we handle frequently without really looking at them. Describe in as much detail as you can one of the common local coins (specified by the group leader) and explain the significance of what is on it. Only afterwards should you look at the coin to see how accurate you were.

Look closely at a tree and describe as much as you can about it (species, age, history, condition, health, probable future, etc.).

Select a plant or animal and try thinking about it at different scales: as part of a larger community or ecosystem; as one of a population of that species; as an individual struggling for survival, and trying to produce offspring; as a collection of organs each contributing to the functioning of the organism; as a host to many insects, microbes and other tiny forms of life. Look at it from each perspective to see what evidence you can find for each of its roles.

The cartoons sometimes published in newspapers in which one tries to find hidden errors or differences between nearly identical drawings can also be used to develop powers of observation.

Unit H2



Scientific research does not always require complicated instruments and elaborate techniques. The purpose of this unit is to show some of the simple ways that information about the environment can be collected using materials available almost anywhere and equipment that can be built by oneself.

The unit is subdivided into sections concerning different techniques or resources. It would be good to go over all the sections at least briefly, as they may give ideas for techniques to be used with other resources. More time can then be spent on those sections most appropriate to the local environment or to the problems the participants face at home.

It has only been possible to include a selection of techniques here to give an idea of what can be done with a little imagination and not much else. The participants should be encouraged to think up their own methods adapted to their own particular problems.


Those methods most useful to the participants should be tried in the field as individual or group exercises. A person will have more confidence in himself if he or she has done something at least once under supervision. Attention should be paid to the following points in the practical exercises:

--- the respect of any principles involved in the construction of measuring devices,
--- the care with which the measurements are made, and
--- the recording of the measurements or information in a form that is properly dated and identified, and is clear and easily interpreted.

Methods and techniques can always be improved, and new ones may be developed that could be of interest to other developing countries. Comments on these methods and suggestions for new ones would be greatly appreciated, and should be sent to: Arthur Dahl, International Environment Forum, 12B Chemin de Maisonneuve, CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland, e-mail: dahla@bluewin.ch.


The method for studying coral reefs is described more completely in the Coral Reef Monitoring Handbook by Arthur Lyon Dahl, first published by the South Pacific Commission in 1981, and reprinted as Reference Methods for Marine Pollution Studies No. 25, United Nations Environment Programme, 1984. If this method is important for the course, then copies of this handbook should be obtained for each participant.

Unit H3



This unit describes one of the most critical aspects of scientific research and environmental monitoring, the careful recording and analysis of the data or observations. It is of no value to conduct experiments or to make careful observations if they are not written down or otherwise recorded in a way that the same person or others can go back later and remember what was done or make a comparison with the same place at a later time.

The participants first need to understand what should be recorded. This should be discussed fully until everyone sees the reasons for recording each kind of information. The five basic questions (What, Where, When, Who, Why) should be memorized.

Many ways of keeping records are then described, so it should be clear that anyone can keep good records using whatever materials are available. The special types of records, documentation, and ways of marking a site should also be discussed. It is important that the participants realize that it is the content and not the form of a record that is important.

The analysis of the data in records is only introduced here in the simplest terms. Most scientific types of data analysis are too detailed and complicated for use at this level, but the methods described should be just as useful for the kinds of observations and experiments described in these materials. This section should be discussed until both the principles of data analysis and some of the methods are well understood. Practical exercises in both making records and analysing them will help to consolidate the understanding of this unit.


The discussion leader may want to prepare some examples of records and of data analysis to use as models in the discussion. These could be based on local situations or on some of the examples in unit H1.

A field excursion could also be organized, with the participants asked to make records of what they observe. The results should then be reviewed and discussed in the group.

Exercises in data analysis could also be developed using local or imaginary examples. The calculation of monthly and annual totals, means and extremes should be practised.

I. Assessment of development projects

Unit I1



Anyone connected with a development project, whether in government or in a rural area, will probably have to deal with the developers. Since people in rural areas of developing countries have had little experience in such negotiations, this unit reviews some of the principles and problems involved in dealing with developers. It explains some of the ways that developers have taken advantage of people in the past, based on actual examples from developing countries. Since part of being a good negotiator is understanding the positions of each participant in the discussion of a development project, the roles and aims of some possible types of participants are discussed.

The material in this unit will be more interesting if it is illustrated with local examples, both of problems in the past with developers and of the procedures used to negotiate a project. If the group leader does not know such examples, then perhaps a local official involved with development projects could be invited to discuss these questions with the group.


One of the best ways to learn how to deal with developers is to take part in simulated negotiations for a development project. Pick an example of an important development project in a local situation that everyone knows (such as building a cement factory, a sawmill or a fish cannery). Assign each member of the group to play one of the roles mentioned in the unit. Then carry out the negotiations for the project as a simulation game, with each person defending the interests of his or her role. Start with the developer approaching the land owners and the government for permission to carry out the project, and continue until the project is finally approved or disapproved.

If time permits, more than one simulation exercise can be carried out, with the participants exchanging roles for each exercise. Such role-playing games can be both fun and a good way to understand the dynamics of the actual process of negotiating a development project.

Unit I2



Most industrialized countries have elaborate procedures for the environmental assessment of development projects. However the principles of environmental assessment are quite simple. The purpose of this unit is to give a brief introduction to the idea of assessing projects for their environmental impact. The principles will be useful both for those who may have to deal with large projects requiring a complete assessment, and for those who may be planning smaller projects, even at the village level, where environmental effects need to be considered.

The presentation and discussion should focus on the process of environmental assessment. It is not possible at this level to go into the many complicated procedures and methods that have been developed for environmental impact assessment. What is important is to understand what an assessment is and how it can help to make development projects more successful.

Details on the impacts associated with some common kinds of projects in rural areas are given in the subsequent units of this section.


If your country has environmental assessment procedures or an office responsible for environmental evaluations, it would be good to invite someone knowledgeable in local practices to speak to the group.

A field trip to a project that has been assessed, comparing the assessment with the actual result, would also be instructive.

Unit I3



This unit reviews some of the major environmental impacts of mining projects broadly defined to include all mineral extraction from oil wells to sand and gravel pits. Even rural areas without valuable minerals may have some problems with sources of construction materials, but obviously more time should be spent on the unit in areas where there are significant mining projects.

The text discusses the environmental problems in general terms, but the discussion leader should add specific examples whenever possible. If there is a local person knowledgeable on mining impacts, he or she could be invited to lead the discussion on this topic. Illustrated magazine articles or slides of mines would help the participants to visualize a mine and its effects.


The best exercise if the opportunity exists would be to visit a mine and discuss its effects with mine personnel and the surrounding inhabitants. A visit to a local quarry or dredging site can also be instructive. During or after the visit, the group should discuss all the environmental impacts they observed or suspected to be associated with the mining project.

Unit I4



Since most forest development projects involve the destruction of the forest, this topic should be introduced with a review of Unit C4, Forests and their ecological importance. This review should highlight the benefits that are lost temporarily or permanently when the forest is exploited. These losses are also discussed at the beginning of this unit.

Some of the direct impacts of logging are then reviewed in the unit, followed by a discussion of reforestation projects. The issues of forest cutting or clearing, and of re-establishing forest, should then be discussed with reference to local problems and needs.

If information is available on the amount of forest cover locally and its change over time, this also could be discussed with the group.


A visit to a forest logging project should be arranged if possible.

Unit I5



Aspects of agriculture have already been treated in units C5 - Environmental Management in Agriculture, C3 - Soils, and D3 - Nutrient Cycles. This unit focuses on the environmental impact of agricultural development projects, which tend to be large in scale and emphasize commercial production and cash crops.

Since each country has its own types of agricultural development programmes, this unit should be supplemented with information on local agricultural development and its effects on the environment.


If it is possible to arrange a visit to one or more large agricultural development projects, this unit can be covered largely through discussions during such visits.

Unit I6



This unit reviews the possible impacts of commercial or industrial fisheries development on coastal areas of developing countries, with an emphasis on coastal fisheries. The basic principles of tropical coastal fisheries management have already been covered in unit C6 - Fisheries Management, and it may be appropriate to start with a review of some of the characteristics of the fisheries resource described there.

The discussion of the text should concentrate on the characteristics of commercial fisheries that can make resource management more difficult in tropical shallow-water fisheries. Some of the economic factors may require more explanation if the participants have little background in economic thinking. Use simple examples if necessary drawn from situations with which they are familiar.

Since commercial fishing projects vary greatly in their nature and size, the points raised in the unit may be more or less applicable to specific local examples. These differences and the reasons for them should form part of the discussion.


While a commercial fishing operation is more difficult to visit than land-based development projects, there may be coastal port, processing or marketing facilities that could be the object of a field trip.

Unit I7



The tourism industry is a special case because it depends on the whole rural environment as a resource. This unit looks both at the direct environmental impacts of tourism development projects, and at some ways that tourism development can help to improve the local environment.

As with the other units in this section, the points raised here should be illustrated whenever possible with local examples, perhaps with the help of a resource person from the local tourism office.


If the participants are not familiar with tourism developments, and if there is a large resort in the area, then a visit to the resort would be instructive.

As a practical exercise, the participants could be asked to plan a tourism development for their own local area, with an explanation of how it should be designed and what its impacts would be.

J. Communicating

Unit J



The participants in this training programme may well find it necessary to communicate what they have learned to others. This unit should be the basis for exercises helping them to learn how to communicate better. It covers three types of communication: verbal communication (giving a simple talk); written communication (writing a report); and teaching by example.

The only real way to learn to communicate is through practice. While the suggestions in this unit may be of some help, most of the time should be spent giving each participant the chance to practice communicating to the others in the group. This will help to give them more confidence in carrying out their work.


Participants should be asked to prepare and present at least two short talks before the group, one of 5 minutes and one of 10 minutes, on topics either assigned by the group leader or chosen by the participant with the approval of the leader. Any comments made should be encouraging to build as much confidence as possible.

There should also be practice exercises in writing reports, with written comments provided by the group leader, or by exchanging the reports between members of the group. Report writing can also be included in the exercises for other units in the training programme.

K. Organization of a training programme

Unit K



This unit (text below) describes some of the different ways that these training materials can be used. It should be included in the training programme whenever the participants will themselves be using these materials to organize local training activities. The group should discuss specific ways in which the materials could be drawn upon to help solve local problems.

Each participant should be provided with a complete set of the training materials for his or her own reference and later use.

Unit K


The goal of this programme is to give local people the knowledge they need to develop and manage their own resources and environment so that they can both meet present requirements and still be able to provide for future generations. This goal involves many needs for local environmental training and understanding which can be met in different ways, and these materials have been design to be used in as many of these ways as possible.

The level of the materials has been set as far as possible to be understandable by adults in rural village areas of developing countries. They should therefore be useful in rural extension and adult education activities, in training lower and middle level government employees at the local, provincial or national level, and in formal education from secondary school through university undergraduate levels. The materials are self-explanatory, so training leaders or instructors do not need to have prior experience with the environment in order to use them, but they may want to bring in outside resource people to help with some of the units.

The training programme has been divided into 46 units grouped under 11 headings (see annex). The units have been arranged in a logical sequence so that they can be used together from beginning to end as a comprehensive training programme. It is also possible to select just those units that apply to a particular local situation. It is not necessary to follow the present order of units, so they can be mixed or rearranged if that is more appropriate. Where one unit contains background information for another, this is stated in the instructions for the unit. The units have been designed to stand alone as well, so they can be used individually or as a supplement to other curricula.

Each unit is accompanied by a brief explanation for the group tutor or instructor on the use of the unit, which gives some suggestions as to its presentation. If exercises are needed to reinforce the material, these are also described briefly. Supporting audio-visual materials or supplementary materials may also be obtainable in the country or region.

All the units have a text which gives the basic content of the unit. This can be used by the group tutor as the basis for his or her own presentation. It can also be used in a self-organized study circle format to be read in turn by the members of the group, or copied and given to them as a text to be read and then discussed in the group. The questions at the end of most units can help with the discussion.

The following are some of the different types of applications of these training materials to illustrate the ways they can be used. Obviously many other uses are also possible.

Training local environmental specialists or resource managers

The purpose of the training programme taken as a whole is to give participants a broad background in environmental problems, an understanding of their resources, and enough knowledge of scientific methods to be able to look for solutions to specific problems. This is explained in more detail in unit A. People so trained should be able to become local environmental specialists and resource managers, working with their own communities to develop their resources wisely and to avoid environmental problems.

Normally all the units would be used in such a training programme, although a few units could be skipped if they concern resources that do not exist locally (such as forests on many atolls or coastal resources in inland areas). The existing order should be followed unless there are special reasons to take some units out of order, such as the presence of a visiting expert or an opportunity for a field trip.

The length of the training programme would depend on the ability of the participants to absorb the material and the amount of time they have available. The programme could be concentrated into a period of several weeks, but it might be better to spread it over several months to a year, with periods of two or three weeks training as a group followed by periods back in their communities applying what has been learned and perhaps doing field exercises.

One possible time schedule for such a training course involving 13 weeks of group training spread over 9 months is as follows:

-- Goals of the training course (A)
-- Sensitization to environmental problems (B1-B5)
-- Resources of the country or region (C1-C10; lectures and field trips)

INDIVIDUALLY IN THE FIELD (at home) - 1 month
-- Each trainee prepares a descriptive report on the local resources of his village or area

-- Principles of ecology and resource management (D1-D6)
-- Traditional environmental management (E1-E3)

-- Studies of traditional resource use (in each trainee's area)

-- Reports and discussion of traditional environmental management
-- The human habitat (F1-F4)
-- Managing the local environment (G1-G4)

-- Inventory of local resources and environmental problems (by each trainee in his own area)

-- Reports and discussion of inventories and local problems
-- Research methods and techniques (H1-H3)
-- Group research projects
-- Choice of a research project by each trainee

-- Research projects

-- Review of research project reports
-- Assessment of development projects (I1-I7)
-- Communicating knowledge to others (J)
-- Review and evaluation of training course
-- Group visits to each community with presentation to the community of the trainee's results

Supplementary materials for training institutes and study circles

The materials in this programme are designed to be self-taught in groups without prior environmental expertise. They can therefore be used instudy circles or other self-organized groups. Where a community has reached the stage in its development where it has the need and capacity to address its local environmental problems, the institute coordinator can select the most relevant modules to make up a study book for group use, starting with section B and adding modules relevant to the local community from C, D, E and F. A tutor trained in group learning can then lead the group through the materials. Each participant in turn can read a paragraph of text, and the the group can discuss the content, sharing the perspective of each member to ensure that it is understood. The questions at the end of most units can help with the discussion. To extend the discussion to the ethical level, the tutor could supplement these materials with a selection of quotations on sustainable development or other materials from the resources section of the International Environment Forum web site.

Community sensitization on local environmental questions

Sometimes a whole community may have environmental problems which require understanding and action at the local level. A selection of training units could be presented in a series of meetings in the community to sensitize the people to their problem and to the possibilities for local action. This could start with units B1, B2, B4, and B5 to give a general introduction to environmental problems. A few units could be chosen from among sections C, D and F that apply specifically to the local problems. If traditional knowledge is important in the community, then units E1, E2 and E3 could also be covered. Finally unit G4 - Planning could be used to help the community prepare a local plan to solve its problems.

Focus on a specific local problem

It may be that all that is needed is to help a community or area with a specific local problem. The following two examples show how a selection of training units can be used for a training programme to address a particular problem.

Suppose there is a project to install a freezer for storing fish so that it can be sold in the main town. It would be important for the local fishermen to understand what this could mean for the management of their fishery. A training programme for the fishermen could start with units B1 and B2 to give a short introduction to the idea of the environment and the need to manage resources. This could be followed by units C8, C9 and C10 describing coastal resources, and by unit C6 on fisheries management. Part of unit E1 on traditional fisheries knowledge could also be included. Unit I6 would cover the possible impacts of fisheries development projects like the freezer. The training could end with the part of unit H2 on coral reef and fish monitoring, so that the fishermen could collect information themselves on what is happening to their resource, and then act accordingly.

Another example would be the case of a village with problems of water shortage and pollution in its water supply. An extension training programme in the village could start with units B1, B2 and B4 on general environmental problems. Unit C2 would explain water and the water cycle, and part of C4 could be added if part of the problem came from forest cutting in their water catchment. Unit D2 would explain the role of the weather, units D5 and D6 would provide the basis for understanding water pollution, and unit F2 would show possible sources of the pollution problem in the community. To help the people find a solution to their problem, units G1 and G4 could show how to inventory the water catchments and plan for their management, and the sections of unit H2 on rainfall and turbidity would show methods for collecting better information on the water supply and water pollution.

Training monitoring personnel

Both general government programmes and specific development projects often require regular environmental studies or monitoring to provide information on the present state of the environment and to record any important changes. However, there are few trained environmental specialists in rural areas of developing countries to do such work. In the absence of more highly qualified personnel, these training materials can be used to train existing or newly recruited staff to carry out routine environmental monitoring.

Such a training programme could begin with units B1, B2, B3, and B4 to give a general background on the environment, followed by the units in sections C and D most pertinent to the monitoring project. Units F1 and F2 would be appropriate for any monitoring in or around villages or towns. Mapping and inventories are covered in unit G1. Units H1 and H2 would be covered in detail, as would unit I2. If other specific monitoring techniques are to be used, they should be explained as well. The appropriate units in I3 to I7 would be added if projects are to be monitored. The communications skills covered in unit J might also be of use to monitoring personnel.

Introducing government personnel to environmental questions

Any government concerned about the sound management of its country's environment will want all government personnel to be aware of the environmental dimensions of their work.

Short training programmes built around a selection of the units could give government officers the necessary background to carry out their responsibilities more effectively without requiring too much time away from their jobs.

It is also possible to organize a rapid 2 or 3 week course which could skim quickly through most of the units, touching on the highlights of the materials and providing copies of the units so that they can be referred back to again for further individual study. Such an approach would both strengthen the participants' general background on the environment and also help them to see where they could themselves use the training materials in their own areas of responsibility.

Use in formal education

Many of the units could be used in schools and colleges at various levels. Taken together they could form the basis for a course in environmental management. Individual sections or some units in them could also be used as a supplement to existing curricula in fields such as:
- natural science (units in sections B, C, D, H),
- social science (B, D, E, F, I),
- health (B, D, F),
- geography (B, C, F, G),
- biology (B, C, D, H),
- geology (B, C, D, H, I),
- environmental science (all),
- agriculture (C, D, E, G, H, I),
- forestry (C, D, G, H, I),
- fisheries (C, D, E, G, H, I) and
- development planning (B, F, G, I).

The level of the units would be most suitable to upper secondary schools, but even upper primary school teachers could find some of the concepts and ideas useful in their classes. The materials could therefore be covered most appropriately as part of the curriculum in teacher training colleges.

Educating the general public

There is a great need in rural areas for the general public to become more aware of the environment and the things they can do to manage it wisely. Public understanding of environmental questions can also encourage governments to take action to solve environmental problems.

The text of certain units could be adapted for use as newspaper articles, or provide the basis for radio or television broadcasts on environmental topics.

There are many non-governmental organizations and citizens' groups interested in questions of environment and development that could use some of the units for group activities, or even organize their own training programmes for their members using all or part of the training materials. These groups might include women's associations, youth groups, church groups, adult education programmes, nature protection societies, environmental groups, and other kinds of associations. Such groups could pick and choose among the units those in which they are particularly interested.




A.Introduction to the programme

B. Sensitization to environmental problems

B1. Problems in the rural environment
B2. Problems in the local environment
B3. Problems in the world environment
B4. Relevance of environment to immediate practical concerns
B5. Overview of traditional environmental management

C. Basic resources

C1. Geological origins of rural areas
C2. Water and the water cycle
C3. Soils
C4. Forests and their ecological importance
C5. Environmental management in agriculture
C6. Fisheries management
C7. Conservation of nature
C8. Coral reefs
C9. Lagoons
C10. Mangroves

D. Principles of ecology and resource management

D1. Time
D2. The weather
D3. Nutrient cycles
D4. Populations
D5. Microbes
D6. Water pollution

E. Traditional environmental management

E1. Traditional resource use and management
E2. Sorcery and science
E3. Salvaging and evaluating traditional knowledge

F. The human habitat

F1. The human habitat: basic needs
F2. Hygiene and sanitation
F3. Human habitat planning
F4. Disaster planning

G. Managing the local environment

G1. Resource inventories and mapping
G2. The environment in the past
G3. Predicting the future
G4. Planning

H. Techniques for research and monitoring

H1. Research: the scientific method
H2. Research and monitoring instruments and techniques: Rainfall, Temperature, Turbidity, Coral reef and fish monitoring, Forest monitoring, Soil analyses, Censusing and sampling
H3. Recording and analyzing data

I. Assessment of development projects

I1. Dealing with developers
I2. Principles of project assessment and monitoring
I3. Mining impacts
I4. Forestry impacts
I5. Agricultural impacts
I6. Fisheries industry impacts
I7. Tourism impacts

J. Communicating knowledge to others

Giving a simple talk, Teaching by example, Writing reports

K. Use as a training programme

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Last updated 4 July 2008