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Environmental Ethics

Volume 30, Issue 3, Fall 2008
Integrating Ecological Sciences and Environmental Ethics into Biocultural Conservation in South American Temperate Sub-Antarctic Ecosystems

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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3
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2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3
FROM THE EDITOR: About this Issue
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3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3
Ricardo Rozzi, Juan J. Armesto, Robert Frodeman Integrating Ecological Sciences and Environmental Ethics into Biocultural Conservation
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4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3
J. Baird Callicott What “Wilderness” in Frontier Ecosystems?
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Wilderness, for seventeenth-century Puritan colonists in America, was hideous and howling. In the eighteenth century, Puritan preacher and theologian, Jonathan Edwards, began the process of transforming the American wilderness into an aesthetic and spiritual resource, a process completed in the nineteenth century by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Henry David. Thoreau was the first American to recommend wilderness preservation for purposes of transcendental recreation (solitude, and aesthetic and spiritual experience). In the twentieth century, Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold advocated wilderness preservation for a different kind of recreation (hunting, fishing, and primitive travel) in order to preserve the putatively unique American character and institutions. Of these three historic conceptions of wilderness preservation, the third is the best model for frontier ecosystems at the austral tip of the Americas.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3
Sergio Guevara, Javier Laborde The Landscape Approach: Designing New Reserves for Protection of Biological and Cultural Diversity in Latin America
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One of the greatest challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean, the most biologically and culturally diverse region in the world, is to halt the loss of species caused by habitat destruction and land degradation. Up to now, setting aside protected natural areas is con­sidered the most effective alternative to conserve biodiversity. Protected areas, however, are under increasing assault by agricultural, silvicultural, and industrial development that surround and isolate them, reducing their habitat quality at the landscape scale. Among the different types of protected areas that have been proposed, biosphere reserves stand out for their attempt to compatibilize social development and conservation. Their management is the most amenable to integration of natural and human disturbance, inclusion of traditional management techniques, and participation by social and economic sectors in the administration. Biosphere reserves have proliferated all over the world, and today there are 531 of them located in 105 countries, where they protect vast ecological and cultural diversity. Even though the design of biosphere reserves is based on the landscape concept, it has yet to take into account ecosystem scales, possible long-term effects of disturbances, and better integrate and give higher consideration to the knowledge and experience of numerous ethnic groups that live within them. However, doing so requires a transformation of the function of the core, buffer, and transition areas. The current design of biosphere reserves is centripetal because the main function of the buffer zone is to protect biodiversity in the core. We pro­pose a centrifugal model, where biodiversity of the core spreads freely toward the area of greater human influence with the buffer zone functioning as a connector. This connectivity can promote land-use practices that are in alignment with both ecosystems functioning and biodiversity conservation in natural, semi-natural, urban and industrial landscapes.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3
Eugene C. Hargrove A Traditional and Multicultural Approach to Environmental Ethics at Primary and Secondary School Levels
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Translating environmental ethics into something that can be taught at the primary and secondary school levels may never be feasible. In addition, what needs to be taught may vary in different cultures around the world. A good noncontroversial starting point may be to begin with the values that are often listed in the purpose statements of environmental laws. Teachers could teach the history of ideas behind those values and their relationship to environmental concern. This approach is needed as a counter to the value approach of modern economics which treats noneconomic values as meaningless expressions of personal emotion. Comparative value discussion can be used to clarify traditional values and in countries with indigenous populations with values originating in different histories of ideas, such as the values of the First Nation peoples in Canada and the Mapuche in Chile, which can be used to promote better understanding between major social groups.
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3
Uta Berghöfer, Ricardo Rozzi, Kurt Jax Local versus Global Knowledge: Diverse Perspectives on Nature in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve
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A case study of socio-ecological research conducted in Puerto Williams, Chile reveals that persons belonging to different sociocultural groups in Cape Horn have a diversity of perspectives and relationships with nature. For example, a strong sense of home and belonging was expressed by the indigenous Yahgan community and by old residents, mostly descendents of early twentieth-century colonizers. However, people identified with resource use did not include positive answers for a sense of home. The concept of common land presented marked contrasts among respondents. Those identified with a cultivating type of relationship favored private property over public land. For respondents identified with an embedded type of relationship, freedom of movement was one of their most essential values. Some respondents identified with resource use and those identified with intellectual and aesthetic relationships with nature also valued common land. The approach used in this study transforms polarized and dichotomous notions into gradients of perspectives related to different degrees of local and global ecological and cultural environments. The resulting hybrid vision of perspectives on nature may be helpful in times of global change, where both local and global scales contribute to identify specific problematic asymmetries as well as opportunities for communication among different sociocultural groups.
8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3
Christopher B. Anderson, Gene E. Likens, Ricardo Rozzi, Julio R. Gutiérrez, Juan J. Armesto Integrating Science and Society through Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research
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Long-term ecological research (LTER), addressing problems that encompass decadal or longer time frames, began as a formal term and program in the United States in 1980. While long-term ecological studies and observation began as early as the 1400s and 1800s in Asia and Europe, respectively, the long-term approach was not formalized until the establishment of the U.S. long-term ecological research programs. These programs permitted ecosystem-level experiments and cross-site comparisons that led to insights into the biosphere’s structure and function. The holistic ecosystem approach of this initiative also allowed the incorporation of the human-dimension of ecology and recently has given rise to a new concept of long-term socio-ecological research (LTSER). Today, long-term ecological research programs exist in at least thirty-two countries (i.e., members of the International Long-Term Ecological Research Network, ILTER). However, consolidation of the international network within the long-term socio-ecological research paradigm still requires: (1) inclusion of certain remote regions of the world, such as southwestern South America, that are still poorly represented; (2) modifications of the type of research conducted, such as integrating social and natural sciences with the humanities and ethics; and (3) the incorporation of findings and results into broader social and political processes. In this context, a nascent long-term socio-ecological research network in Chile, which extends over the longest latitudinal range of temperate forest in the Southern Hemisphere, adds a new remote region to international long-term ecological research previously overlooked. In addition, collaboration with the University of North Texas and other international partners helps to further develop an interdisciplinary approach for the integration of the ecological sciences and environmental philosophy together with traditional ecological knowledge, informal and formal education, policy, the humanities, socio-political processes, and biocultural conservation.
9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3
Robert Frodeman Philosophy Unbound: Environmental Thinking at the End of the Earth
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Environmental challenges such as those facing the Cape Horn region of Chile exceed the competency of any disciplinary framework. Interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge—combining the expertise of several disciplines as well as the trans-disciplinary perspectives of the public and private sectors—require a unifying element that helps integrate such disparate perspectives. The field of philosophy, which traditionally has offered a view of the whole of knowledge, can serve in this role again, if philosophers are willing to embrace a de-disciplined expression of philosophy.
10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3
Ricardo Rozzi, Ximena Arango, Francisca Massardo, Christopher Anderson, Kurt Heidinger Field Environmental Philosophy and Biocultural Conservation: The Omora Ethnobotanical Park Educational Program
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Habitats (where we live), habits (how we live), and inhabitants (who we are) constitute an ecosystem unit. The biosphere is composed of a reticulate mosaic of these habitat-habit-inhabitant units, where humans (with their indigenous languages, ecological knowledge, and practices) have coevolved. Today, these diverse ecosystem units are being violently destroyed by the imposition of a single global colonial cultural model. In Cape Horn at the southern end of the Americas, educators, authorities, and decision makers do not know about the native habitats, language, and flora, and do not distinguish between Cape Horn’s flora and the flora that grows in other parts of the country or the world. In contrast, indigenous people and old residents have a detailed knowledge, but they do not participate in education, and decision making. It is not Homo sapiens in general, but bioculturally biased educators, authorities, and decision makers who need to be transformed into (educated and responsible) members and citizen of biocultural communities. The Omora Ethnobotanical Park educational program was launched to contribute to a biocultural citizenship involving three critical steps: (1) the disclosing of biocultural diversity with a “fine filter” approach that permits understanding of the cultural and ecological diversity hidden by general universal labels; (2) direct “face-to-face” encounters with human and nonhuman co-inhabitants; and (3) actions for protection of habitats and implementation of interpretative spaces that facilitate direct encounters and conservation of biocultural diversity. These steps have been implemented at local and regional scales through the creation of the Omora Ethnobotanical Park and the UNESCO Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve.