The Conceptual Utility of Models in Human Ecology

Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman
2000 Journal of Ecological Anthropology  
Introduction In E.P. Odum's (1969) discussion of the development of ecosystems through their "lifetime," he makes it a point to focus part of his discussion on human ecosystems. Noting bioecology's historical omission of humans from ecosystem analysis, he called for a form of ecosystem analysis that considers humans as a part of, not apart from, nature. The recognized role of humans in ecosystem analysis has not changed much since then. Bioecologists continue to treat humans as external to
more » ... notion of system, searching for "undisturbed" and "pristine" ecosystems in which to conduct basic research. By focusing on the negative effects of humans on ecological processes, ecologists continue to reinforce the idea that humans are not "natural" biological or ecological entities. Some attempts have been made to integrate humans into ecosystem analysis, but progress among bioecologists is slow. Within conservation and applied ecology there are attempts to integrate humans into ecological systems. A recent book (McDonnell and Pickett 1993) reports a conference in which researchers approached humans as
doi:10.5038/2162-4593.4.1.2 fatcat:vxk36sdtznaidcy6q4eoerfxqa