The United Nations University is an autonomous academic
organization under the United Nations umbrella, with headquarters in Tokyo.
According to its charter, the University's mandate is to carry out research,
postgraduate education, and dissemination of knowledge related to the pressing
global problems facing mankind. It has also a specific mandate towards capacity
building in the developing countries to assist them in dealing with the
questions of development. An international community of scholars, the United
Nations University works through networks of scientists from each of the world's
continents. These networks serve to focus the issues to be researched and to
bring together the brightest minds to cooperate in finding solutions to the
The purpose of the UNU Global Environmental Forum series is to
disseminate research results on issues pertaining to global environmental change
to a broader public. Since the beginning of the series in 1991, the Fora have
covered a wide variety of issues. The first one, entitled "Monitoring and Action
for the Earth," was concerned with new technologies for monitoring and
observation of the changes occurring in the terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems.
The second Forum, in 1993, focused on environmental change affecting rainforests
and drylands in South-East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Chinese drylands.
The third Forum's title was posed in the form of a question: "Will Tropical
Forests Change in a Global Greenhouse?" It examined the complex and
multi-faceted interlinkages between global warming and the sustainability of
tropical rainforest ecosystems and their biological diversity.
The fourth UNU Global Environmental Forum took place in Osaka,
Japan, on 25 May 1995. Its theme was "Population, Land Management, and
Environmental Change." The Forum focused on the research carried out under the
University's international collaborative research programme with the same title.
This publication reproduces the papers presented at the Forum in an edited form.
The first three papers set the objectives of the research programme (Harold
Brookfield) and outline some of the underlying key concepts, including farmers'
participation (Michael Stocking) and the role of women (Janet Momsen). The
following four chapters highlight preliminary results from the research
undertaken within the field research clusters of the programme in Papua New
Guinea (Graham Sem and Ryutaro Ohtsuka), northern Thailand (Kanok Rerkasem), and
the Amazon (Christine Padoch). The final chapter by Shunji Murai presents a
different perspective to the population carrying capacity at the global level.
The Forum was organized jointly with the International
Environmental Technology Centre of the United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP/ IETC), and in cooperation with the Global Environmental Centre
Foundation. The Forum, as well as all the earlier ones, was sponsored by