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Title: A historical forest management conundrum: do social and biophysical mix?

Author: Bigler-Cole, Heidi.;

Date: 2005

Source: In: Proceedings 6th National Conference of the Australian Forest History Society Inc, p. 35-46

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Forest managers face an array of prickly, seemingly intractable environmental problems. They have traditionally turned to the biophysical sciences to help gauge potential management effects, weigh alternatives, and set priorities. Over the past several decades, forest managers have watched management plans disintegrate in the face of grassroots-level protests, quarrels between regional-level regulatory organisations, and even national-level policy disputes. At whatever level, the controversies have a common denominator: they involve conflicting human values, attitudes and behaviors. With this realisation, several forest management efforts have attempted to incorporate social analyses into their scientific base, with limited success. This paper explores three models of social and biophysical scientific integration from Australia and the United States. It then turns to three philosophers who considered the benefits and barriers to integration: E.O. Wilson (an entomologist who advocates consilience, a convergence of all types of knowing); Wendell Berry (a historian who believes knowledge is context-dependent); and Thomas Gieryn (a sociologist of science who identifies cultural barriers to integration). The paper concludes with a summary of the experiential lessons and the philosophers' wisdom.

Keywords: integration, philosophy, E.O. Wilson, Wendell Berry, Thomas Gieryn

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Bigler-Cole, Heidi. 2005. A historical forest management conundrum: do social and biophysical mix?. In: Proceedings 6th National Conference of the Australian Forest History Society Inc, p. 35-46


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