Integrating Ecology and Environmental Ethics: Earth Stewardship in the Southern End of the Americas Page: 233
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LTSER sites among themselves and with other national and
international research networks.
LTSER network sites go beyond LTER sites in their capac-
ity to link biophysical processes to governance and science
communication. LTSER networks provide an institutional
platform to explore decisionmaking processes at multiple
scales and to understand conflict as a basis for reconcil-
ing divergent goals among stakeholders, thus enhancing
the resilience of local communities, places, and ecosystems
(Haberl et al. 2006). In this context, international LTER
networks could assist the implementation of Chilean
LTSER; in turn, the latter could broaden the socioecological
dimensions considered by LTSER networks.
Integrating ecological sciences and environmental
ethics: Filling a major conceptual gap in LTSER
In addition to filling a geographical-knowledge gap in ILTER,
the nascent Chilean LTSER network sets out to broaden
the spectrum of social dimensions included in these pro-
grams. Until now, the social component considered in LTSER
networks worldwide has been primarily economic (cf. Parr
et al. 2002, Redman et al. 2004, Ohl et al. 2007). Indeed,
the European LTSER platform was designed "as a research
infrastructure to support integrated socioeconomic and eco-
logical research and monitoring of the long-term develop-
ment of society-nature interaction within the context of
global environmental change" (Haberl et al. 2009, p. 1798).
The integration of socioeconomic research into the LTSER
framework during the last decade represents a significant step
forward for the inclusion of the human component in LTER.
However, our work in southern South America continuously
reveals the importance of noneconomic values (e.g., spiritual
and ethical values in decisionmaking; Rozzi et al. 2008b).
Calls for an integration of ecological sciences and envi-
ronmental ethics have older roots both in Latin America and
in the United States. For example, Frank Golley, president
of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) in the 1970s,
concluded that the ecosystem concept has provided a basis
for "a dialogue about how humans value nature" and for
"moving beyond strictly scientific questions to deeper ques-
tions of how humans should live with each other and the
environment" (Golley 1993, p. 205). Later, other presidents
of the ESA have emphasized that many of the choices faced
by human society are ethical ones, for which the ecological
sciences provide essential knowledge to inform respon-
sible societal decisions (e.g., Likens 1991, Lubchenco 1998).
However, the drastic diminution of the teaching of ethics
within science-education programs (both graduate and
undergraduate) in Latin America, the United States, and
other regions of the world severely constrains disciplin-
ary integration (Leopold C 2004). The paucity of ethics in
academic curricula has led to a loss of the vocabulary and
methods for ethical deliberation (Hargrove 2008). To address
this limitation, the Chilean LTSER network, in collaboration
with UNT, has developed a field environmental philosophy
(FEP) methodology as a way to integrate environmental
ethics and ecological research into graduate education and
biocultural conservation. The FEP methodology began in
2000 at the Omora Ethnobotanical Park and was formalized
by a long-term working partnership between UMAG and the
world-leading environmental-philosophy program at UNT
in 2005 (box 1).
Today, fairly pristine high-latitude regions offer humanity
a unique opportunity to make an ethical shift. The FEP
methodology provides an orientation for graduate stu-
dents and other participants to research and respect the
"otherness" in such remote wildernesses-the expression of
ancient cultures, life forms, and habitats not yet immersed
in global society. This can help recontextualize the global
economy, politics, and culture. This research could stimu-
late an ethical-ecological shift from the current tendency to
overlook vital bonds between humans and nature toward a
new understanding of humans as cohabitants of ecosystems,
which possess a culturally and biologically diverse array of
human and other-than-human life forms that sustain eco-
system processes, as was envisioned by the mid-twentieth-
century president of the ESA and celebrated architect of the
"land ethic," Aldo Leopold (1949).
The FEP methodology stresses a closer examination of
actual and historical forms of knowledge and ethics. The
word ethics originated from the Greek term ethos, which,
in its more archaic form, meant "den." Later, ethos also
acquired a second meaning, the practice of a particular
way of habitation. This dual interpretation of the Greek
term ethos can be expressed in two Latinate terms that
today have clear ecological significance: habitat and habit.
Inhabiting a particular habitat generates recurrent forms of
habitation over time-that is, the habits that configure the
identity of humans and other animals. Through an ecologi-
cal hermeneutic of the language, FEP allows the recovery of
an understanding of ethics as a concept that considers not
only the human habits-as most modern interpretations
of ethics would have it-but also the habitats, where these
habits emerge (Rozzi et al. 2008b).
The interrelationships among the identity and well-being
of the inhabitants, their habits, and their regional habitats
are also deeply rooted in Amerindian worldviews and eco-
logical knowledge. For instance, as we mentioned above, the
Pehuenche inhabit the monkey-puzzle or pehuen tree forests
of southern South America. Their social organization and
the ancestral distribution of the clans are closely associated
with the particular distribution of patches of pehuen trees.
A vital habit is the gathering of the monkey-puzzle tree
cones, the seeds of which provide the nutritive foundation
of the Pehuenche's diet. From medical and biogeochemical
perspectives, the pehuen seeds are peculiar, given their rich
contents of two essential amino acids--cysteine and meth-
ionine-that contain sulfur, which presumably originated
in the volcanic lands. Therefore, scientific and traditional
ecological knowledge converge in the understanding of the
Pehuenche as the "people of the pehuen" and, at the same
time, of the Mapuche as the "people of the land" (including
March 2012 / Vol. 62 No. 3 * BioScience 233
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Rozzi, Ricardo, 1960-; Armesto, Juan J., 1953-; Gutiérrez, Julio R., 1953-; Massardo, Francisca; Likens, Gene E., 1935-; Anderson, Christopher B. et al. Integrating Ecology and Environmental Ethics: Earth Stewardship in the Southern End of the Americas, article, March 2012; [Reston, Virginia]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc130199/m1/8/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Arts and Sciences.