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Distinguishing regeneration from degradation in coral ecosystems: the role of value

Jones, Elis (2021) Distinguishing regeneration from degradation in coral ecosystems: the role of value. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In this paper I argue that the value attributed to coral reefs drives the characterisation of evidence for their regeneration or degradation. I observe that regeneration and degradation depend on an understanding of what an ecosystem looks like when undegraded (a baseline), and that many mutually exclusive baselines can be given for any single case. Consequently, facts about ecological processes are insufficient to usefully and non-arbitrarily characterise changes to ecosystems. By examining how baselines and the value of reefs interact in coral and algal reef examples, I argue that considering the value of an ecosystem is a necessity when describing processes like regeneration and degradation. This connects value as studied in socio-ecological and economic research with values as discussed in the philosophy of science literature. It also explains why such a broad range of processes may be considered regenerative, including those which introduce significant novelty, as well as pointing towards ways to mediate related debates, such as those surrounding novel and ‘pristine’ ecosystems.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Jones, Eliselisjones315@gmail.com0000-0001-8551-2141
Keywords: coral reef, regeneration, degradation, value, ecosystem, baselines
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Mr Elis Jones
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2021 14:42
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2021 14:42
Item ID: 18629
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/s11229-021-03023-9
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 2 January 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18629

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