Ecological theory and values in the determination of conservation goals: examples from temperate regions of Germany, United States of America, and Chile Page: 359
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ECOLOGICAL THEORY AND CONSERVATION
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Fig. 4: Number of visitors to the national parks Yellowstone and Torres del Paine in the 1990s.
Notice that the scales are visitors x1,000 for Torres del Paine, and visitors x1,000,000 for Yellows-
tone (Data from the administrative offices of CONAF, and Yellowstone National Park).
Numero de visitantes a los parques nacionales de Yellowstone y Torres del Paine en 1990. N6tese que las escalas son de
visitantes x1.000 para Torres del Paine, en cambio visitantes x1.000.000 para Yellowstone (datos de las oficinas adminis-
trativas de CONAF y Yellowstone National Park).
becomes greater. Confronted with this scenario,
and a broad range of conservation goals: what
should we protect? What roles should humans
play in this context? Where can we find
guidelines? What is the role of science?
Answering these questions requires to
systematically integrate multiple aspects that
influence any conservation strategy, aspects
that hitherto have in part been developed
independently from each other (Jentsch et al.
2003). Such integration has not been achieved,
and it challenges the prevailing trend of
specialization that dominates science and other
disciplines since the second half of the 20th
century (Rozzi et al. 1998). Hence, to
interconnect diverse aspects of conservation,
such as empirical data, ecological theory,
human values and worldviews, represents an
urgent and important task. At the same time,
this task demands novel theoretical and
Values enter the determination of
conservation goals in many different ways: in
our images of nature (Ahl & Allen 1996, Rozzi
1999, Rozzi 2003), in our economic values
(Daly & Townsend 1994, Daily 1997), in our
political preferences (Norton 1991), in our
moral attitudes towards human and non-human
nature (Rolston 1990), and even in our
decisions about what is important in science.
However, values are often not explicit and
remain hidden behind seemingly objective
scientific facts or economic necessities.
The provision of empirical data is one of the
basic tasks of ecological research within
conservation. It is necessary to describe the
current conditions of an area or - by means of
e.g., paleoecological analyses - to restore its
"original" or "natural" conditions, e.g., in terms
of plant cover or animal life. However, criteria
for selection of particular areas and their
subsequent management are not purely based
on scientific knowledge.
What kinds of data are collected and what
kinds of questions are asked is already a matter
involving value decisions. Although many
people argue that for conservation purposes
ecology should simply identify the "natural"
condition, this task is far from a purely
"objective" scientific enterprise. For example,
the concept of what is natural plays a major
role when deciding which role should humans
play within protected "natural" areas. Both the
German and American early conservationists
wished to protect "natural" landscapes although
their images of what is "natural" differed
-0-- Torres del Paine
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Jax, Kurt, 1958- & Rozzi, Ricardo, 1960-. Ecological theory and values in the determination of conservation goals: examples from temperate regions of Germany, United States of America, and Chile, article, 2004; [Santiago, Chile]. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc102284/m1/11/: accessed March 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Arts and Sciences.