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PL 6002

Lecture 5: Science, Ecology and

Ecosystem and its Implications to
Public Policy Inputs
 Decartes: I think, therefore I am (Cogito
er Sogum)
– An catalyst in creating a new world view - call
– Subject vs object: think through, reduce it to
basic part until there is no doubt
– Thinking matter (res cogitans) vs extended
matter (res extensa)
 Theworld constructed by science is a series of tested
hypotheses – if we disapprove a hypothesis, the
probability of its being inaccurate is increased
 “If you cannot measure it, then it is not
science” (British scientist, Lord Kelvin).
Science treats Nature
 Science attempt to solve scarcity
 Nature imposes particular scarcities,
not an inescapable general scarcity
 Science, by making the resource
base more homogenous, erases the
restrictions once thought to reside in
the lack of homogenuity.
 Only relative scarcity matters
Ecology and Ecosystem
 Nature = an organism or community
 Help us with prediction and control
but cannot be moral ground (i.e.
wholistic, respective, trustuful,
aesthetic) to which ethics can be
drawn upon
 A.G. Tansley: the term: Ecosystem
 A System: a structured set of objects and/or
attributes. These consist of components or
variables that exhibit discernible relationships with
one another and operate together as a complex
 Classified on a functional basis into:
– Isolated: have boundaries close to the import
and export of mass and energy, ex: man in
outer space
– Closed: boundaries prevent the import and
export of mass but not energy, ex: the Earth
– Open: open boundaries which allow free
exchange of mass and energy with the system’s
surroundings, ex:
 Spaceship Earth (Adlai Stevenson): Earth has a finite
size and a finite supplies of most resources; but self
 Biosphere: living (organic or biotic) material and non
living(inorganic or abiotic) material
 Forming a nested hierarchy:
– Natural systems: which are totally or wholly unaffected by human
interference such as last vestige in the Tropical Forest Systems
– Modified systems: which have been affected to some extent by
human interference, such as many local vegetation systems in
lightly populated areas
– Control systems: human interference by accident or by design
provides a major regulator such as most agricultural systems
In Nature (1):
 Evolution
– Darwin Theory: Has not stopped
– Survival of the Fittest: Winner (evolved) and
loser (extinct)
 Mutation : ‘new species’ developed within a single
 Dominant

– Succession: a pattern of changes in specific

composition of a community after a radical
disturbance or after the appearance of a new
path in the psychical environment for
colonialization by plants and animals
– Climax in Communities
In Nature (2):
 Productivity
– Carrying capacity
A ratio between biotic potential and
environmental resistance such as climate,
pests or human induced degradation
– Resilience Capacity
– Constraints
– Balance of Nature (Equilibrium)
 a form of an envelope around the earth’s surface, wherein
plant and animal life can exist without protective devices.
 The envelope comprises a shallow layer of air, water, soil
and rock generally less than 30 km in thickness
 Upper limit: lack of oxygen, shortage of moisture,
increasing cold and decreasing pressure with increasing
altitude in the atmosphere
 Lower limit (soil depth and ocean depth): lack of oxygen,
lack of moisture, increasing pressure. Life detected at
depths of over 9 km in deep ocean trenches.
 Large scale cyclic mechanisms: transfer of energy, water,
chemical elements, and sediment throughput the biosphere
 In natural state, biosphere reaches a state of equilibrium
(self sustaining and ecologically efficient)
 Biosphere II (to develop human colony in Mars): in 1991: 8
humans live for 2 years, with 3-month worth of food
supply. O2 has to be pumped in. or
Ecosystem: Living Organisms
Autotrophs (self feeder: make organic matter
from inorganic ingredient, need energy (light
and chemical)
 Phototrophs: derive energy from light by photosynthesis,
ex. Mosses, fern, conifers, photosynthesis bacteria
 Chemotrophs: derive energy from inorganic substance by
oxidation, ex blue green algae, bacteria
Heterotrophs: feed on organic matter produced
by autotroph
 Saphrophytes: feed on soluble organic compound from
dead plants and animals
 Parasites: make a connection with the living tissues of
another species
 Holozoic organism: eat by mouth. All higher animals
Food Web (and Food Chain):
 Food Web :
 Primary Producers (autotrophs/ contain
Chlorophyll – photosynthesis)
 Primary Consumers: herbivore animals
 Secondary Consumers: carnivore animals
and human
Loss of energy
 Decomposers in soil  autotroph

 Ecological Organization
– Organism, population, community,
ecoysystem, biosphere
Ecology treats itself
 As a natural history; appreciative
experiencing, and personal
 As a science: predicting and controlling
the material living of the world
– Mechanistic, analytical to march it other
scientific discipline – exchange of elements and
energy – branch of physics (In spirit) – if we
can fix an engine, we can fix ecosystem
– Reduce nature as laws of physico-chemical
Limits to the Ecology
 Should real property of nature be defined
by number, size, shape and so forth at the
exclusion of life, soul, all the qualities that
depend on it.
 Galileo: “what we regard as nature is
objectified nature”
 Ludwig von Bertalanffy: “what is specific
of our human experience, is progressively
 Ecologist treat nature as non living
machine to be dissected, interpreted and
Threats to Ecosphere
 List of threats to our life support system
– Deserts are encroaching on ecologically productive areas at the rate of
6 million hectares per year
– Deforestation claims over 17 million Ha per year
– Soil oxidation and erosion exceeds soil formation by 26 billion tonnes
per year
– Pollution of groundwater accelerates
– 17,000 species disappear every year
– Stratospheric ozone continues to erode
– Industrial society has increased atmospheric CO2 by 28 %
 Allocation of resources
– 20% of human population enjoys unprecendented wealth
– 20% earns less than 1.4% of the global income and endure constant
 Roots: 19th century “sustained yield” of
forestry practice in Germany
 World Council of Churches (1974) calls for
sustainable Society
 Need for human to live equitably within
the means of nature
Four basic concept to be part of
 Arised from Landscape Ecology,
Carrying capacity – educational but
difficult to measure
 Economic concept of ‘natural capital’
– attempt to measure quickly
descend into a methodological
quagmire and require a high degree
of faith in the ability of economics to
value non economic entities
Sustainability is about Managing
 Natural capital: any stock of natural assets
that yields a flow of valuable goods and
services into the future, ex. A forest, a
fish stock, an aquifer can provide a
harvest (a flow) that potentially is
sustainable year after year
– Natural resources
– Physical processes and relationships among
components of ecosphere the provides
essential life support ‘services’
 Weak:
– Loss of natural capital is acceptable if
compensated through substitution of an
equivalent amount or value of human made
 Microwave transmission or optical fibres have greatly
reduced the demand for copper
 Do not always apply (ex sawmill) or not able to
substitute (ex. ozone layer)
 Strong
– Conserve or enhance our natural capital stocks
– If each generation is to inherit an adequate stock of
essential biophysical assets that is less than the stock of
such assets inherited by the previous generation
Ecological Worldview
Goods and Services


Labour and investment


Ecology and Economy:
 Economy assumes:  Ecology
– Earth is flat, not round, – The world is finite
though extending sphere, round shape.
without limit in all
All resources come from
directions and imposing
no serious constraints the Earth and of back to
on economic growth it in degraded form.
– Economic activity is – The only ‘income’ from
ultimately constrained outside is sunlight,
by the regenerative which powers material
capacity of the cycles and the web of
ecosphere life.
– Recognizes self – The circular flow
generating circular
includes waste or sink.
flows of money between
firms and households in
the marketplace
Human Carrying Capacity
 Human carrying capacity (derived from Ecology)= a
maximum population of a given species that can be
supported indefinitely in a specified habitat without
permanently impairing the productivity of that habitat.
– Increasing human capacity by eliminating competing species,
by importing locally scarce resources through technology – this
definitions do not apply to human
– Trade and technology are the cause of CC to be out of hand
 HCC redefined: Maximum load that can safely and
persistently be imposed on the ecosphere by people
– Human load = a function not only of population but also of per
capita consumption and the latter is increasing even more
rapidly than the former due to expanding trade and technology
 HCC is much a product of cultural factors as it is of
ecological productivity
 In a global economy, people has access to resources from
all over the world
 Human consumption is determined solely by biology
Human Ecological Footprints
 Defined as the area of ecologically
productive land (and water) in various
classes – cropland, pasture, forests, etc. –
would be required on a continuous basis
– To provide all the energy / material resources
– To absorb all the waste discharged
 Data collection of consumption in five
categories: food, housing, transportation,
consumer goods, services
Land and Land Use categories
for Footprint Assessment
 Energy land
– Land ‘appropriately’ by fossil energy use (energy, CO2
 Consumed land
– Built environment (degraded land)
 Currently used land
– Gardens (reversible built environment)
– Cropland (cultivated systems0
– Pasture (modified systems)
– Managed forest
 Land of limited availability
– Untouched forests (productive natural ecosystems)
– Non-productive areas (desert, icecaps)
 Human consumes 20% above the
Earth’s biological capacity
 Ambil peta dari wwf for nature
Gland, Switzerland
 Source:
Comparing People’s Average in the
US, Canada, India and the World
Consumption per person in 1991 Canada USA India World

CO2 emission [in toone per yr] 15.2 19.5 0.81 4.2

Purchasing Power [in US$] 19,320 22,130 1,150 3,800

Vehicles per 100 persons 46 57 0.2 10

Paper consumption [in kg /yr] 247 317 2 44

Fossil fuel use [in gigajoules/yr] 250 92340 287 5 56

Fresh water withdrawal [in m3/yr] 1,688 1,868 612 644

4.3 5.1 0.4 1.8

(Small) Assignment 1
 Visit
 Fill in the info required (please be
honest, and you may like to do it a
couple of times)
 See what they say about you
 Print it out
 Interpret it and write it down in a
piece of paper
Science as an Environmental
Claim Making Activity
 Cognitive claims : to convert experimental observations,
hypotheses and theories into publicly accredited factual
 Interpretive claims: to establish the broader implications of
the research findings for a non specialist audience
– Technical interpretive claims: researchers act as
scientific advisers to industry and government
– Cultural interpretive claims: develop ideological supports
both for expenditures on scientific research and for the
autonomy of science
– Social problem interpretive claims: existence of a social
problem which a particular scientific specialty is uniquely
equipped to solve.
 Ignorance claims: researchers highlights gaps in available
scientific knowledge
When uncertainty hits scientific
 Uncertainty
– Traditional science, a reductionist principle
predominates. A cardinal principle of green
science, necessity to look holistically.
– Reasonable doubt in legal terms creates a burden
of proof for scientists
 Uncertainly in problems of cause and effects
 Problems of forecasting impacts (incidence, distribution,
timing and effects)
 Uncertainty over consequences of present actions and
the risks imposed on future generations may lead to a
paralysis of policy
 Frequent absence of or sparsity of environmental data
not only makes it more difficult to provide sound
scientific judgement but open doors to manipulation
Principles applied to Environmental
 Do Nothing Policy
– Science based evidence have to prove the causal effects on the
environments before actions are supported and taken
 Quick-Fix Solution
– (Negative) consequences of activities leads to find solutions
– Ex. Landslide in Leuwigajah final solid waste disposal enforce the city
to find other locations
 A Precautionary Principle
– If there is reason to suspect that a particular substance or practice is
endangering the environment then action should be taken immediately
even if the evidence is not ironclad – endorsed by UN Rio 1992, EU,
and US.
– Rationale: it will be too late to respond effectively if we wait for a final
scientific resolution
– Ex. Environmental Protection of Children’s Health from Pollution
 A Voluntary Approach
– Polluters decide to recude their pollution level
“Policy Windows”
 Three major processes:
– Problem recognition
– Formation and refining of policy proposal
– Politics
 Scientific roles in environmental problem
– Trend spotters
– Theory builders (explain the causes for the changes that
the trend spotters identify)
– Theory testers (scrutinize the models suggested by theory
– Science communicators (translate difficult to decipher data
into terms that the public at large can understand)
– Applied policy analysts (consultants to political decision
Regulatory Science
 Differs:
– Done at the margins of existing knowledge
where fixed guidelines for evaluation may
often be unavailable
– Involves a greater degree of knowledge
synthesis, greater emphasis on the originality
of findings
– Require a hefty element of prediction
especially with regard to risk creation
 A means of legitimation, not adversarial
 No perfect objetiviable truth only a
serviable truth which balances scientific
acceptability with the public interests
The Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness
(Alfred North Whitehead)
 The “world of guesses” we’re asked to adopt in
preference to our own experience of the world
 Investigations of Decartes, Locke, and Newton
create nature that is a ‘dull affair, soundless,
scentless, colourless: merely the hurrying of
material, endlessly and meaninglessly’
 The mistaking of abstraction, or guesses:
– Our guesses to be things, everything to be things
– Treating reality as an object, rather than an experience
Ecological Law (Commoner
 1. Everything is connected to
everything else
 2. Everything must go somewhere

 3. Nature knows best

 4. There is no such thing as a free

lunch (somebody, somewhere must
foot the bill)