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Conceptualizing Communities as Natural Entities: A Philosophical Argument with Basic and Applied Implications

Steen, David, A. and Barrett, Kyle and Clarke, Ellen and Guyer, Craig (2017) Conceptualizing Communities as Natural Entities: A Philosophical Argument with Basic and Applied Implications. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Recent work has suggested that conservation efforts such as restoration ecology and invasive species eradication are largely value-driven pursuits. Concurrently, changes to global climate are forcing ecologists to consider if and how collections of species will migrate, and whether or not we should be assisting such movements. Herein, we propose a philosophical framework which addresses these issues by utilizing ecological and evolutionary interrelationships to delineate individual ecological communities. Specifically, our Evolutionary Community Concept (ECC) recognizes unique collections of species that interact and have co-evolved in a given geographic area. We argue this concept has implications for a number of contemporary global conservation issues. Specifically, our framework allows us to establish a biological and science-driven context for making decisions regarding the restoration of systems and the removal of exotic species. The ECC also has implications for how we view shifts in species assemblages due to climate change and it advances our understanding of various ecological concepts, such as resilience.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Steen, David, A.
Barrett, Kyle
Clarke, Ellen
Guyer, Craig
Additional Information: Manuscript accepted at Biology & Philosophy
Keywords: climate change, community, invasive species, resilience, reference condition, restoration
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
Depositing User: Dr. Kyle Barrett
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2017 17:51
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 17:51
Item ID: 13435
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
Date: 2017
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/13435

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