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Old 08-23-2011, 11:19 AM   #1
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Default Counting counts but

But...


Wayne Tyson

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Understanding ecosystems requires more, much more, than mere counting.

Albert Einstein had an aphorism posted on the wall of his Princeton office that read something like this:
"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts."
Quote:
Ecology is fuzzy. It does not fit into the literal pigeonholes of conventional science. Any attempt to hammer it into neat, number-bound categories produces a complicated snarl of data that almost no one can be bothered to unravel (for "unravel," read "critically review"). Conventional statistics confound more than they reveal about complex interactions. Attempting to deal with too many variables has undone countless quixotic researchers trying to balance on the high wire between academic acceptance and intuition, which, as we all know, is a bugbear to be avoided at all costs.
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FT first asks if a particular conclusion, which is always tentative, is more true than untrue, or more untrue than true. By progressive steps, it backs and fills its way, merely reflecting the observed phenomena (and, unfortunately, the ability of the observer to maintain his or her integrity in the face of conventional assumptions). There are no conclusions in the sense of static finality, but rather a sliding scale—perhaps even a jiggling scale—no, a nonscale. This produces a four-dimensional (Might there be a fifth? A sixth?) view of the jiggling, scaleless, squishy, fuzzy phenomena we label ecological processes. Is a good rough guess better than a precise poor one? Is a rough guess more relevant or less relevant than a precise one? What are the uses of imprecision? We do not know the numerical (scale) values for the letters and symbols on a keyboard. This is not “intuition” in the popular sense, but it is the “fuzzy” part of the brain at work. And the work it does is arguably on a far more complex plane than the one that relies on relatively complicated scale coordinates to find keys. Just try thinking about key locations while typing and see what happens.
Conservation Ecology: Fuzzy philosophy: a foundation for Interneted ecology?
Fuzzy Philosophy: A Foundation for Interneted Ecology?
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:25 PM   #2
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You took the time looking him up. How cool is that!!! I see you liked what you found. He's a powerful writer.... such incredible passion... it oozes out of his pores.
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Old 08-24-2011, 01:30 PM   #3
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Yes Equil, I have been reading what can be found on the internet for now.
Here is a pdf where he talks about restoration ecology.
http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_int/int...15_116_118.pdf

Quote:
St John 1989
Ewel 1987
Sustainability , low invasibility ,productivity ,nutrient retention and biotic interactions, define a successful restoration project ecosystem.
In a very broad sense, ecosystem restoration may best be described
as resetting basic conditions so that natural systems can recover lost
or interruped functions faster.
The world or regional subset ecosystems
will eventually restore some kind of biological complex to any disturbed
site, but it may take centuries or millennia.
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Old 08-24-2011, 01:37 PM   #4
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What he says about intuition combined with science when working with nature is something many restoration leaders talk about.
When Stephen Packard first started working Restoration projects in the Chicago area they were going with a tall grass ecology. He knew that as the work progressed certain functions like those mentioned above should happen. But it seemed off to him even after a few years. By studing what was doing well and what had been reported about the area in natural history records he, working with respected biologists came to the conclusion that savanna ecology had its own communitie's that needed to be respected.
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