The size and distribution of the world population, average life expectancies, literacy levels, rates of energy consumption, techniques of information transfer ... just some of the agents and manifestations of change in our rapidly changing world. And just as the world is changing apace, so its problems are changing in scale, in nature and in complexity. Hence it is highly important to consider research to keep track of the changes and the improvements need to be made.
Research in the environmental sciences should serve those who are responsible for deciding how natural resources will be used. Decision-makers include the legislators, administrators, industrialists, farmers, fishermen, and foresters who decide how many forests will be logged, where a dam will be built, what area of land will be cleared, how many animals will be run, or how much money will be allocated to particular areas of research. Decision-makers are better able to predict the long-term effects of such activities if appropriate scientific information is available.
Research Centres around concrete management problems, bringing together whatever disciplines of the natural and social sciences are needed to cover the many facets of the problem at hand, and often involves local populations in the research effort.