The ecological integration of the social and natural sciences in the Sugar Creek Method.
Moore, Richard*,1, 1 Ohio State University, Wooster, OH
ABSTRACT- 21st century challenges ranging from global warming to pollution of the earth's ecosystems all have one thing in common: a linkage of social and natural ecological systems with human activity mediating ecosystem complexity. The Sugar Creek Project, in which Ben Stinner participated, is an attempt to find new principles to integrate the ecological, social and economic aspects of agricultural systems. The research is based on a reconsideration of the position of the researcher so that synergy between farmers and researchers occurs in such a way so they can work together to link hierarchical scales of analysis at the field, farm, community, and watershed levels. One of the most significant findings was that the moral values of stewardship and social responsibility of the farmers led the researchers into a new methodology, namely to use a year-round high density sampling approach to examine the water quality of headwater streams. Comparing the headwater streams of Amish and German descent residents, we found fragmented landscapes resulting from an interaction of social organization, ethnicity, and belief systems. A measurable increase in social capital and social complexity was found to be associated with self-organization occurring as biodiversity increased. The heterogeneous landscape patterns, land use, and land tenure based on abstract rules to appropriate reality, affected levels of biodiversity at different hierarchical scales and contributed to the relative degree of the system to self-organizae or be resilient and buffer system perturbations.
Key words: social system, agriculture, watershed
All materials copyright The Ecological Society of America (ESA), and may not be used without written permission.