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Social-Ecological Theory of Maximization: Basic Concepts and Two Initial Models

Authors
  • Albuquerque, Ulysses Paulino1
  • de Medeiros, Patricia Muniz2
  • Ferreira Júnior, Washington Soares3
  • da Silva, Taline Cristina4
  • da Silva, Rafael Ricardo Vasconcelos2
  • Gonçalves-Souza, Thiago5
  • 1 Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Laboratório de Ecologia e Evolução de Sistemas Socioecológicos (LEA), Departamento de Botânica, Centro de Biociências, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil , Recife (Brazil)
  • 2 Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Laboratório de Ecologia, Conservação e Evolução Biocultural, Centro de Ciências Agrárias, Rio Largo, Brazil , Rio Largo (Brazil)
  • 3 Universidade de Pernambuco, Campus Petrolina, Petrolina, Brazil , Petrolina (Brazil)
  • 4 Universidade Estadual de Alagoas, Departamento de Biologia, Campus II, Santana do Ipanema, Alagoas, Brazil , Alagoas (Brazil)
  • 5 Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Dois Irmãos, Laboratório de Ecologia Filogenética e Funcional, Departamento de Biologia, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil , Recife (Brazil)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Biological Theory
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Feb 11, 2019
Volume
14
Issue
2
Pages
73–85
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s13752-019-00316-8
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Efforts have been dedicated to the understanding of social-ecological systems, an important focus in ethnobiological studies. In particular, ethnobiological investigations have found evidence and tested hypotheses over the last 30 years on the interactions between human groups and their environments, generating the need to formulate a theory for such systems. In this article, we propose the social-ecological theory of maximization to explain the construction and functioning of these systems over time, encompassing hypotheses and evidence from previous ethnobiological studies. In proposing the theory, we present definitions and two conceptual models, an environmental maximization model and a redundancy generation model. The first model seeks to address biota selection and its use by human populations. The second emphasizes how the system organizes itself from the elements that were incorporated into it. Furthermore, we provide the theoretical scenario of plant selection and use from an evolutionary perspective, which explicitly integrates the phylogenetic relationships of plants (or other living resources) and human beings.

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