, Volume 24, Issue 8, pp 1029-1035
Date: 05 May 2009

Aesthetic landscapes: an emergent component in sustaining societies

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A revival in the concept of sustainability is appreciated as Earth’s human population continues to increase and its related global concerns in disease ecology, energy resource management, environmental literacy, food production, genetic diversity, and landscape vitality continue to magnify. Sustain is defined within this paper as to keep in existence or to supply with resources or necessities to prevent from falling below a given threshold of health or vitality. Barrett et al. (Bioscience 47:531–535, 1997) illustrated how seven (7) processes (behaviour, development, diversity, energetics, evolution, integration, regulation) transcend eleven (11) levels of ecological organization, ranging from the ecosphere to the cellular. Comprehension of how these processes transcend all levels of ecological organization allow programs and initiatives (e.g. preserving biotic diversity) to be defined by informed incentive, rather than regulatory mandate, within societal systems. We describe how the integration of an eighth transcending process—aesthetics—is essential in the approach to and managing of market and nonmarket capital necessary in sustaining societies.