Chapter Outline

I. Ecology as Scientific Form of Conservation

Discussion Questions

1. Contrast the assumptions underlying the scientific approaches to ecology of Ellen Swallow, Frederic Clements, A. G. Tansley, and Nathan Hare.

2. How does Henry Gleason challenge Clements' concept of organismic ecology? Compare Gleason's arguments for shifting plant associations with those of Pickett and White on patch dynamics. What assumptions about nature underlie these approaches to ecology?

3. How do Raymond Lindeman and Eugene Odum expand on Tansley's concept of the ecosystem. What assumptions about nature underlie their approaches?

4. Describe the role that Clements' organismic ecology played in government's response to the catastrophic 1930s "dust bowl." Which agencies were boosted most during this period? Are similar events likely to have the same effect today?

5. Compare Gifford Pinchot's utilitarian conservation ethic with Aldo Leopold's land ethic (i.e. examine Leopold's A-B cleavage). On what kinds of assumptions does Leopold's ethic rest? Do you agree with the thesis that Leopold's land ethic is the best foundation for a contemporary ecological view?

6. What problems do the different approaches to the science of ecology discussed in this chapter raise for environmental historians? For resource managers? For policy makers?

7. How do metaphors such as organism, machine, and chaos when used by scientists affect the resulting science? How do they affect popular culture? What ethical assumptions about the behavior of humans toward nature are implied by these metaphors? Can science ever rid itself of metaphor?