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The New EcologyRethinking a Science for the Anthropocene$
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Oswald J. Schmitz

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691160566

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691160566.001.0001

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Domesticated Nature

Domesticated Nature

(p.69) Chapter 4 Domesticated Nature
The New Ecology

Oswald J. Schmitz

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how humans reengineer the world to suit their own needs, a process known as domesticating nature. The New Ecology is grappling with the issue of what an increasingly domesticated world means for the inner workings of nature. Ecological scientific study is already revealing important impacts on ecosystems that could jeopardize sustainability. But in doing so, it is also newly uncovering interesting ways that species may respond to changes wrought by humans. The chapter considers the new theories being advanced by ecologists to explain how nature works in order to address the challenges presented by human domestication of nature. For example, ecologists are now deploying transplant experiments that test for local adaptation and plasticity in thermal tolerance among species populations and whether this adaptive capacity is sufficient to sustain biodiversity, food web dependencies, and ecosystem functions along with services across different thermal conditions.

Keywords:   domesticating nature, New Ecology, nature, ecosystems, sustainability, species, plasticity, biodiversity, ecosystem functions, adaptive capacity

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