Week 9 Discussions

Please separate each response with a header as “Discussion #1” and “Discussion #2.”


It’s your turn to come up with discussion questions! In your first post, write a question that meets the following expectations:

  • It generates critical thinking, which means it asks your fellow students to analyze, evaluate, or synthesize ideas and skills from this course.
  • It generates discussion. The first person to answer the question shouldn’t post the right answer and leave everyone else to struggle to reply.
  • It stimulates further inquiry. It asks your fellow students to do some outside research or build on their existing knowledge.

You question must be related to a topic discussed in the course. In this course, we examined these topics:

  • the history of natural resource management/conservation in the US;
  • resource administration and key policies;
  • the adaptive management and collaborative adaptive management decision-making frameworks;
  • critical perspectives on the place of knowledge,
  • positionality (race, class, identity) and dynamic change in contemporary management;
  • various case studies that examine the issues of upstream-downstream challenges,
  • multiple stressors in resource system change; and
  • the ethical, cultural, social, and political dimensions of resource use and impact.


Dr. Tim McPhearson, a scholar of urban ecology and environmental studies, recently stated the following about what every ecologist should know about “urban ecology.” His statement was engaging in the larger argument that ecology should not only try to study that which is supposedly “pristine” and separate from human influence: 

“Humans are part of ecosystems, and humans and other biophysical components of ecosystems are deeply intertwined, with reciprocal influence. There is not an ecosystem on earth that does not have human influence. It feels like going back to basics to argue this point, and yet if there is one thing all ecologists must realize, it is that to study ecology in the Anthropocene, on this urban planet, we must consider ecosystems now as not simply biophysical systems somehow operating in a closed box without human interaction.”

  • How might Cronon (1996) and Kareiva and Marvier (2012) respond to McPhearson’s statement?  Be sure to summarize their key arguments in your response.
  • Do you agree or disagree with McPhearson, Cronon and Kareiva, and Marvier, and why?  What do you see as being the benefits and/or potential risks to these kinds of perspectives?
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