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Appears in Collections:eTheses from Stirling Management School legacy departments
Title: The use of natural resources in the Scottish Highlands, with particular reference to the Island of Mull
Author(s): Mowle, Alan David
Issue Date: 1980
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: The thesis examines the use of natural resources in a case study area of the West Highlands, the Island of Mull. A review of history and description of present conditions leads on to an exploration of the island's future prospects and subsequently to a discussion of the island's problems in the more general context of remote Highland communities. Mull has been the subject of extensive previous survey, a review of which forms a foundation to the main part of the work, the exploration of some possible future patterns of resource-use. Three specific scenarios of the period 1980-2030 AD allow assessments of carrying capacity for a human community. In each case, a maximum feasible solution is described for the supply of food and shelter, and to a lesser extent of energy and material goods (in other words, the support of an economy) within the constraints set by the scenario. The first scenario explores a future in which Mull's present connections with the outside world are severed, enforcing self-sufficiency. In this case, the land and energy resources available on the island could support about 8000 people at a subsistence level. The second scenario envisages increasingly detailed resource planning at a national level. Mull's population is barely maintained, or declines to just below 2000, while raw material output, particularly of timber, and tourism potential is increased significantly. The third scenario anticipates a change of direction for remote communities, with a technologically sophisticated but self-reliant population. This community has considerable autonomy, and is able to provide food and energy for a population of about 10 000. While these anticipations are exploratory and in no way predictive, they all envisage a large increase in output accompanied in two cases by increases in population, a contrast with the present situation of 2500 population, declining agriculture, constrained forestry and significant dependence on tourism. In the final chapters, the barriers to resource development are discussed and the concept of 'appropriateness', coupled to analysis of the functional roles of natural resources and technology, is put forward. In the final analysis, there are clearly considerable current pressures in the direction explored in the second scenario. Whether this is desirable is questioned. It is recognised that attempts to direct development cannot succeed if they impose externally determined priorities and values, but may do so if they encourage and enhance community self-confidence.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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