Ecological integrity discourses: Linking ecology with cultural transformation

David Manuel-Navarrete, James J. Kay, Dan Dolderman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Scientific discourses are rhetorical constructs for interpreting, articulating, and coordinating the bits of information and knowledge produced by science. Discourses also help scientific communities promote and advocate particular strategies for action. A review of the literature on ecological integrity has led us to identify four scientific discourses: (1) Wilderness-Normative, (2) Systemic-Normative, (3) Ecosystemic-Pluralistic, and (4) Transpersonal-Collaborative. Each of these discourses differs in the conceptual definition of ecological integrity, the role of science, and the assumptions regarding human-ecosystem relationships. The TranspersonalCollaborative differs from the others in that it embraces the construction of personal and cultural meanings for ecological integrity. Each of the four discourses emphasizes different beliefs and worldviews, which, in turn, promote specific conservation practices. Acknowledging a diversity of discourses and recognizing personal commitments to particular discourses would increase the transparency of contextual decisions regarding the alternative conservation strategies suggested by different scientific communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-229
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Ecology Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Collaborative learning
  • Conservation discourses
  • Ecological integrity
  • Global environmental crisis
  • Socio-ecological systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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