Synthesis: What Kind of a Discipline Is This Anyhow?
We need to evaluate the results of the 1997 Cary Conference and the chapters in this book in terms of: (1) our initial ideas about the factors driving success, limitations, and frontiers in ecosystem ecology, and (2) other lessons and ideas that emerged from the presentations and discussions at the conference and in this book. Coming into the conference, we had two “big questions” driving our analysis of successes, limitations, and frontiers. The first question addressed the hypothesis that ecosystem ecology is somewhat unique as a discipline because advances in this field have been driven by the emergence of new environmental problems that could not be addressed with existing conceptual and practical tools. The second question arose from the perception that ecosystem ecology suffers from a lack of cohesion, focus, and justification relative to many other disciplines. Determining whether this perception is true, and evaluating the factors behind these problems was one of our major goals.
KeywordsEnvironmental Problem Lyme Disease Ecosystem Research Ecosystem Ecology Ecological Understanding
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