Human Ecology – Basic Concepts for Sustainable Development

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Environmental success stories from around the world with their lessons on how to turn from decline to restoration and sustainability.

Author: Gerald G. Marten
Publisher: Earthscan Publications
Publication Date: November 2001, 256 pp.
Paperback ISBN: 1853837148
Hardback SBN: 185383713X

Information for purchasing this book:
United States/Canada – Stylus Publishing
Elsewhere – Earthscan Publications
Japanese version – Amazon Japan

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While most of the ideas in this book derive from many years of ecological science, it is appropriate to recognize at least some of the specific sources of concepts and examples presented here. I should first note my intellectual debt to Kenneth E F Watt and C S Holling who pioneered the rigorous application of systems analysis to ecology. While the cyclical character of natural and social processes has been recognized for thousands of years, Holling’s analysis of cycles in ecological systems stimulated the ‘complex system cycles’ in this book; the conflict between ‘stability’ and ‘resilience’ also originated with Holling. The book’s central conceptual framework based on interaction between human social systems and ecosystems originated with Terry Rambo, who illustrated the concept with the example of cooking fuel and deforestation in India that is used in this book. I am particularly grateful for Terry Rambo’s intellectual companionship over the years. The nail puzzle in Figure 4.4 was brought to my attention by Virginia Fine. The ‘Gaia hypothesis’ came from James Lovelock. Coadaptation and coevolution between the social system and ecosystem after the Industrial Revolution is based on Richard Norgaard’s Development Betrayed. Some of the perceptions of nature in Chapter 9 are based on ideas developed by Gene Barrett. The discussion of the impact of ‘portable capital’ on renewable resource use is based on ideas originally put forth by Colin Clark. The phrase ‘tragedy of the commons’ was first used by Garret Hardin. The role of social complexity in the rise and fall of civilizations is based on Joseph Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies. Conditions for sustainable common property management and the example of fisheries in Turkey are from Eleanor Ostrum’s Governing the Commons, and the account of traditional forest management in Japan is based on publications by Margaret McKean. Melanie Beck, Paul Edelman, Joe Edmiston, Winston Salzer, Suzanne Good and Russ Dingman provided information on nature protection in the Santa Monica mountains. Scott Halstead provided information on the epidemiology of dengue hemorrhagic fever and Vu Sinh Nam provided information on his copepod programme for dengue control in Vietnam. Kerry St Pe provided information on the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. Richard Carriere, Richard Borden, Anthony Clayton and Ann Marten commented on the overall manuscript at different stages of its development. Gary Haley and Julie Marten did computer graphics for the figures.


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