Introduction to Human Ecology

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WHAT IS THE HUMAN ECOLOGY
Ecology is the science of relationships between living organisms and their environment. Human ecology is about relationships between people and their environment. In human ecology the environment is perceived as an ecosystem (see Figure 1.1). An ecosystem is everything in a specified area - the air, soil, water, living organisms and physical structures, including everything built by humans. The living parts of an ecosystem - microorganisms, plants and animals (including humans) - are its biological community.

Ecosystems can be any size. A small pond in a forest is an ecosystem, and the entire forest is an ecosystem. A single farm is an ecosystem, and a rural landscape is an ecosystem. Villages, towns and large cities are ecosystems. A region of thousands of square kilometres is an ecosystem, and the planet Earth is an ecosystem.. Studies of ecosystems typically consider relationships between species and nature. People, however, are sometimes purposefully left out of the scope, since some studies want to ensure a pure ecosystem study. Human ecology, on the other hand, promotes the idea that humans are not to be excluded as an unnatural part of a natural ecosystem. They recognize that humans have the largest influence on ecosystem changes happening today. Humans are distinctive from all other species. This type of ecology teaches that humans are complex beings who express conscious goals via the natural world. A person's behavior is influenced by knowledge plus values, beliefs, and conscious goals. Developing cultures and emerging societies construct their values and goals relative to nature. Conflicts, as well as working together, contribute to an elaborate set of interactions among individuals and groups. Human ecology also explores how the environment influences humans. The environment often forces human beings to invent, then adapt to, coping and survival strategies. This vein of ecological study asks how efforts to preserve the...
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