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Anthropologists and Ecological Research

Last fall a group of anthropologists participated in the 2012 All Scientists Meeting (ASM) of the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network in Estes Park, Colorado. They were there to make a case for integrating more anthropologists into the study of ecosystems. Read about their experience in Anthropology News. Below is an excerpt:

There is a growing recognition among ecologists that they need to grapple with the human impacts on ecosystems and that the old model of studying isolated and protected reserves to understand ecosystems is no longer valid. This is evidenced by the theme of this year’s ASM meeting and the increasing impact of climate change on ecosystems in the LTER sites. However, there are few ecological models that satisfactorily incorporate human complexity. Ecologists may study ecosystem processes at the micro-scale and then jump to the global macro-scale, eg, measuring the impact of global warming on these processes, thus skipping the local, regional, and national scales at which human activities more directly affect ecosystem processes in myriad ways. This offers opportunities for anthropologists who study complex social-ecological systems using a holistic approach and making linkages across these spatiotemporal scales. Moreover, anthropologists are no strangers to long-term research as many are involved in ethnographic research in one site over multiple decades. Thus, anthropologists can make significant conceptual contributions to LTER projects.

Read the entire article here.

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