Remarkable properties of human ecosystems

John Richard Stepp, Eric C. Jones, Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman, David Casagrande, Rebecca K. Zarger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


This paper explores some of the remarkable properties that set human ecosystems apart from nonhuman ecosystems. The identification of these properties provides a framework for bridging the theoretical and methodological divide between biological ecology and human ecology. The unique information-processing capability of humans in ecosystems is central to this framework. We discuss several manifestations of human cognitive and behavioral abilities, termed "remarkable properties" of human ecosystems. A cross-cultural and historical approach is taken in demonstrating some of these properties. Related to these properties are the ways in which complex functional and dysfunctional or maladaptive processes take place in human ecosystems. We assert that one of the greatest challenges for human ecology is to integrate belief systems as a major component of human ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecological anthropology
  • Human ecosystems
  • Information ecology
  • Remarkable properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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