The Dynamic Between Social Systems and Ocean Ecosystems


in Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780520248847
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933200 | DOI:
The Dynamic Between Social Systems and Ocean Ecosystems

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This chapter deals with the dynamic nexus between the gradual intensification of human interaction with—and extraction from—nature and the inevitable biological response to that activity. One may think of this dynamic as an instance of co-evolutionary adaptation in which biological processes undergo transformation in the face of extensive human exploitation, and human processes in turn undergo transformation in the face of biological feedback onto human communities that have been organized and structured around this very interaction. The discussion argues that both aspects of this nexus must be understood if we are to gain a plausible understanding of why many natural resources are so often overexploited. The pertinence of this evolutionary perspective is found in its illumination of important aspects of the history of commercial whaling, and in alerting people to emerging problems before they lead to a sort of destructive history seen in commercial whaling.

Keywords: co-evolutionary adaptation; human exploitation; biological feedback; natural resources; commercial whaling

Chapter.  8836 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aquatic Biology

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