DECISION-MAKING IN LOCAL AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITIES FOR SUSTAINABLE UTILIZATION OF BIOMASS RESOURCES
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Agricultural biomass fulfils several important functions essential for the sustenance of human societies; it is used for the production of food, feed, biomaterials and bioenergy. Although biomass is renewable, there is finite land available for its production. Thus, it is imperative that the production and consumption of biomass is governed appropriately to avoid unsustainable social, economic and environmental consequences at all scales of development. This thesis addresses the issue of decision-making for sustainable management of biomass resources in local agricultural communities. This is accomplished in two parts. Firstly, sustainable resource management strategies aligned with the understanding of agricultural systems as complex social-ecological systems are explored. Secondly, the viability of the application of the identified strategies is assessed by studying the decision-making processes regarding effective resource utilization of small farmers in India and Canada. This two-part research process offers insight into the operationalization of resource management practices that can enable the pursuit of sustainable development in local agricultural communities.