This paper examines some of the assumptions underlying rapid appraisal of natural resources. Four case studies of varying complexity are presented to illustrate the range of possibilities in using ecological and environmental indicators to appraise aspects of the physical environment which might either be assessed by longer methods, or not at all. The cases concern the use of proxy variables to facilitate rapid assessment. These proxies are soil colour, plant indicators, soil erosion, and forest vegetation. The paper concludes that rapid appraisal of natural resources involves the use of proxy indicators, and that ecological and environmental systems are amenable to this type of treatment because of the high degree of interdependency between factors.
This paper may be of interest to those involved in rapid appraisal of natural resources and environmental conditions.
Rapid Rural Appraisal
IDS, Brighton, 4-7- December 1979