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Buechner Reviewed work(s): Source: Daedalus, Vol. 96, No. 4, America's Changing Environment (Fall, 1967), pp. 1192-1199 Published by: The MIT Press on behalf of American Academy of Arts & Sciences Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20027112 . Accessed: 18/06/2012 19:47
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of critical environmental has created a favorable climate problems of of knowledge orientation for an intellectual relevant thought to contemporary But the task of orienting knowl world problems.S. Egler formulated their philosophic basis. seems in a contemporary context edge ecological overwhelming. The points of view. as an aid in orient The one critical of problem facing societies human 1192 most . DILLON Ecosystem RIPLEY Science AND HELMUT K. Before conditions caused by radioactive fallout. carbon dioxide. in of its value. Our purpose full awareness and seemingly without the present paper is to present a two-dimensional model. conceptual based on levels of integration and points of view. and intersocietal pheric aggression the knowledge and the behavioral of the humanities sciences. exploding can be treated. Although was in Europe during the nineteenth already established knowledge its use in American research and education has been casual century. on an theme in a An idea for orienting ecological knowledge is suggested the concepts context of today's world by problems and and "points of view. the greenhouse atmos effect of increased populations. however. as well as the natural sciences. BUECHNER as a Point of Synthesis an today is humanity ecological to their environ harmoniously relating ments.1 The levels of integration widely into the BSCS has been that this approach incorporated cepted have textbooks. understanding Appreciable is often necessary in a given to a satisfying performance ciplines but comprehension of the unity of knowledge appears specialty. twenty by ac are now so five years ago." of "levels of biological integration" Frank E. difficult to achieve. pollution. must be Our recent awareness integrated. series of high-school this system for organizing not had a comparable impact. so has become that depth of understanding Knowledge complex of other dis requires specialization.
functions as an been applied. such as cells. integration. may be conceptualized If ecosystem. until all of it is lost to the living systems. ecological in nature. organs. Through through the system and is eventually a certain the system maintains feedback mechanisms. population attributes that emerge increase. are of human characterized Populations beings uniquely by as human social behavior. an ecosystem if the total environment is added as an integral part of the system. has a birth A population of an African antelope. components (such to which the term ecosystem level of organization has emerges. entities. to biological levels below that of the cell. or An ecosystem. rate. their total environ society. It is an open-energy system in which interacting whole into organic compounds is incorporated solar energy through the in green plants. from animal to animal. a more complex cal. Tissues. an intrinsic rate of a death rate. is known in what A state. in plants the original potential is this process. and a pool of genetic variation?all at the population of level of integration through the interactions the population of antelopes the individual members. Biological integration levels of inte and communities. 1193 . water. system. and air). a social behavior. By integrating or and the nonliving. interspecific populations populations or animals. In through decomposing organisms. steady stability or whether cell and its microenvironment. The societies together with form the highest level of biological the emer ments. from plant to animal. than a mere sum of the parts. with all other kinds of living organisms physi as earth. An is somewhat analogous to an open reservoir. which their highly complex emerges of man. Energy circulates within process photosynthetic the plant. organisms. populations. of organisms of a single kind. part single free-living as an of a tissue system. are as one can go viruses and rickettsiae accepted living systems. is more in which the whole gration for example. which requires lost to the system. energy degraded as un from concentrated form to greater and greater dispersion available heat energy. of degree as a or homeostasis. relevance with ing knowledge considers of the model levels of biological The first dimension in terms of ecosystems. with energy ecosystem in place of water the system. represent organisms. and biocommunities constitute of plants biological each can be considered entities at levels of increasing complexity. Maintaining the flowing through a constant moves ecosystem input of energy. and finally such as fungi and bacteria.Ecosystem Science as a Point of Synthesis to the ecological crisis.
(such as air and 2. particles. purely a or a of any kind? system. Although the inter as faces between of view are increasingly points recognized signifi cant areas of the basic study. Man's societies dominate all population on earth.S. for studying any subject matter. Relationships as the environmental as well on the environment the entity 1194 entity effects on . We concerned with human society it self as with the environments in which men live. in space?zoogeography. complex physical biological from the following may be studied points of view: 1. The living water) components organisms. higher plants and animals of the system. both are parts of an that evolves as a unit through time. populations and to degrade his environmental systems. and processes?the physiology that control homeostasis mechanisms regulatory cluding at any level of organization living systems in the in time?changes or ontogenetic phylogenetic system through in in 3. Functions 4. Tschulok. the structural relationships or the cells and organs of nomy of vegetation. and slightly modi of view suggested points fied by Egler. DILLON RIPLEY AND HELMUT K. cessively our orientation We on the need to concentrate of knowledge level of integration of because human-society-plus-environment its relevance a reason to the central world problem of achieving human societies and the finite resources ably steady state between are as much of our planet. 5. phytogeography. the separate points of view provide framework for organizing it a Any entity?be knowledge. BUECHNER gent attributes of which are incomparably more complex than those of a of an African antelope. the or to environment?the influence of 6. or planets system?sub-atomic components physical of a solar system of the cells. The current crisis arises out of this ecosystems ecological since man has allowed his to increase ex dominance. Distribution whether time. organism. interacting whole The second dimension concerns in our conceptual model the in 1910 by S. Structure or of the parts. in organization morphology?the and between the social organization within species of cluding of plants in the physiog animals. Distribution for example human geography.
The U. Modern the capacity technology provides a few years ago. not man characteristics expressed by the making a of decisions that affect society is normally Similarly. or the classification of vegetation. the classification animals. plus-environment there are unique attributes for the system as a whole. not a separate and divine creation as an outside influence on the earth's ecosystems. It is important to recognize that human societies are an integral is level of biological of the highest component integration. S. of the par the minds of men as well as the physical movement the past five and soil. disadvantage?as in the overgrazing of Iran and Greece. of group action. and the groups within societies naturally determines the be ciety 1195 . of rivers.Ecosystem Science as a Point of Synthesis or the taxonomy of plants 7. The acting impact of man on natural systems is mediated societies. expansion pollution erosion of top the excessive of lakes and estuaries. involve new They not from the behavior of man. man has been altering his environments the in the salinization of the soils of Mesopotamia. that were processes. deforestation by sheep the destruction of the Great Lakes fisheries by the sea Spain. lamprey. as at any other. the National the drying-up of the Everglades Park. integrated wholes with unique characteristics that emerge from the interactions of individual human beings. water. some phenomenon represents Congress more than a mere summation of the individual thing thoughts of so The quality of the individuals that constitute congressmen. ticles through to his own thousand years. Classification?for example. through human are Societies themselves complex. of whole ecosystems to the human-society of view can be applied level of integration. The move or DDT ment and non of radioactive through plants particles in the released these contaminants human animals into man?who an ecosystem in It involves decisions first place?is phenomenon. and the atmospheric pollu for tion in Los Angeles. At this level. macroenvironmental unimagined manipulations at Man's alterations of ecosystems of planet earth are phenomena the level of human-society-plus-environment. eutrophication soil from our most valuable arable lands. resulting of the physiology of the earth's ecosystems five thousand part These points years ago. the of the arid lands of the world. Through the air. Man in nature. Mob violence or civil rights demonstrations peaceful exhibit as an individual. he is a part of nature.
Instead of studying emphasis on political of in a historical context. in fact. His conceptual environment has changed in literature. Man's in which he lives and his under image of the world are critical of man s place in in the universe standing achieving can contribute basic facts and ideas homeostasis. the behavioral to achieve a more readily identify his role in helping can perhaps man s must integrate society and steady state. we can never achieve a total understanding the two the human-society-plus-environment system. one should study the whole ecosystem between and the interrelationships human-society-plus-environment these systems on a global basis. Thus. The architecture. time. The study of society from the seven points of a on the role of the view mentioned earlier provides perspective social scientist and humanist in reaching an understanding of the total system of human-society-plus-environment. But man's concerns and values also determine the behavior of societies. DILLON REPLEY AND HELMUT K. but ultimately they into an ecosystem total environment concept.S. expressed havior influence and modifications of the landscape. scientist will most in the have less influence probably environment evolution of a conceptual relevant to today's ecological crisis than the humanist. as in the case of Rachel Carson through her book The Silent Spring. but only of we can think. ecological problems of re in the context of his environmental studies the history of man as a can be as fundamental and intellectually rewarding lationships of man with the cultural evolution traditional approach through society isolated systems. By segregating society from the scientist and humanist rest of the natural system. are not level of biological at the highest integration Ecosystems more complex than more complex than we think they are. BUECHNER of society as a whole. a component is an artificial one. conceptual the future of humanity. One person can have a significant on society. a transformation through poetry. Nevertheless. Science ecological about ecosystems. will determine our now has the of developing The humanist responsibility to the central ecological relevance of values with understanding an our times. natural 1196 . theme in which one Seemingly. can be conceptually from the natural ecosys Society segregated tem for the purpose its unique of studying attributes. an here does provide model dimensional suggested conceptual can be organ efforts which interdisciplinary through approach music. although of a larger whole and the segregation society is. environment. Man's not science.
Compared with agriculture. structure tends but their administrative to militate the interdisciplinary Students and programs. expressing quality are such fundamental left ready to tackle problems?problems in the past. untouched The task involves and communication of research. the of man's place in the universe. city planners. and for some. reprogram programmed are filled with mis is impossible. which emphasize 1197 . against administrators be ready for a contemporary may higher ecological orientation for education and research. the problem of bringing the world's into homeostasis the within exploding populations limited natural resources is infinitely more we challenging. and groups that can con all individuals scape architects?indeed. were present. gressmen. Many concern over the of our environment. education. in a common effort ranging from the pure theory tribute effectively science to its application. to society. but many university scholars were before the space age. The solution of our information in agriculture problems in resulted feedback large part from the remarkable system at our in which all three of these components land-grant colleges. of ecosystem-oriented How can we come to grips with the formidable task of achieving an in our irreversible orientation before alterations ecological the evolution of higher levels of human life? ecosystems preclude are at the heart of the advancement Our universities of knowledge in the separate disciplines. Perhaps can the organizational structure we at need develop regional for ecosystem centers would inter science. necessary a of human societies within homeostasis the ecosys self-sustaining tems of the world not only of university is the responsibility scien tists and educators. musicians. understanding a ecosystem represents human-society-plus-environment point of for the focus of research and education on the contempo synthesis societies to their of adapting human rary problems harmoniously to achieve The orientation of knowledge environments. government agencies.Ecosystem ized to evolve Science as a Point of Synthesis and concepts to a better unifying principles leading In this model. is more and more concerned with the of public becoming problems the atomic bomb and pollutants. but also of scientists in private corporations and land congressmen. There is a gnawing feeling that we cannot know the safe levels of DDT and Strontium 90 without more basic research over a con significant period of time. the educated Fortunately. Many government ming agencies sion-oriented bureaucrats and scientists who fight for their projects like department heads at universities.
financial from Congress would support Strong or dis the struggle for survival among preclude departments The co-operation of universities. centers for advanced on the critical attention studies focusing of man's can enhance the programs behavior problems ecological at centers in the of the world. of man-in-nature. suc the will be vital to rapid progress and ultimate general public cess. laborato ciplines. they organized integrative for developing programs opportunities provide interdisciplinary struc without by the conventional departmental being hampered ture of universities. the body of basic knowl strategic regions Initially. Since society will ultimately problem determine the future of our ecosystems. federal agencies. relationships and their total environ societies that human By recognizing one can ments form the highest level of biological integration. of the special environment disciplines ecosystem to one are more in their relationship revealed knowledge precisely A more pro another and to the entire scope of man's knowledge. in the context of time and relevant to our edge meaningful ecolog ical crisis will evolve. but because Regional on an centers are new and will theme. the of our best scholars in science. found ecological through developed knowledge is funda here and others. the decisions of society re an com basis that can be developed quire ecological only through munication of sound to the general Special knowledge public. The value of the Smithsonian as a Institution with strong govern private organization basically mental should not be overlooked by society. DILLON RIPLEY AND HELMUT K. industry. regional major ecosystems centers must the involve universities.S. governmental is essential ries. Our critical shortage of professional ecologists and the urgency of orienting to an ecological general education theme define the in education. In research. that emerge direct thought and research to the unique phenomena the human-society-plus at this level in nature. Each organization will have clearly identi fied roles and indispensable functions. and the humanities is needed nology. and private foundations to such regional centers. By approaching as a whole. but in other only in the United of the world. model the two-dimensional suggested in respect to higher levels of human fife and meaning?both mental 1198 . tech guidance so that knowl social science. edge required for ecological to education and the flow of sound information subsequently. Such centers for ecosystem not science are needed States. BUECHNER and use the human-society-plus-environ disciplinary approaches as a ment ecosystem point of synthesis. But homeostasis must be accumulated.
"Das System der Biologie. 2. 1910). Tschulok. Frank Vol.Ecosystem to the quality of human individuals symbolic expression of these values Science as a Point of Synthesis and human societies and to the in the external landscape. "Vegetation Object 3 ( 1942). ed." Philosophy of Science. as an E. Forschung and Lehr. Eine 1199 ." of Study. 245-60.. S. 9. pp. No. Egler. References 1. historisch kritische Studie (Jena.
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