The idea of public ecology has increased in popularity over political, social, and environmental concerns. Of particular interest are the processes that generate, evaluate and apply knowledge in political, social, and environmental arenas. Public ecology offers a way of framing sustainability problems, community dynamics and social issues. Forests, watersheds , parks, flora , fauna , air, and water all constitute environmental quality and are therefore public goods. The processes involved in the negotiation of the meaning of these products, based on which decisions are based, reside within the public domain .


The boundaries that are ascribed to social and ecological systems are permeable and dynamic. The creation and maintenance of these boundaries should not be excluded. Politicians, economists and ecologists must work with citizens across cultural, organizational, institutional, political and geographic boundaries. However, they should be involved, and to what extent and in what manner they should be involved.

Knowledge bases, roles of experts, and state and local power dynamics are changing in ways that impel us to learn new ways of coexisting. A more public and many more forums, some of which are being explored through theory and practice. Adaptive Management , citizen science (Backstrand 2003), ecological real-world experiments (Gross & Hoffmann-Riem 2005), and Collaborative Ecosystem Governance(Karkkainen 2002) are examples of evolving processes that attempt to deal with the growing complexity and dynamism of social and ecological systems. Governance of these systems must integrate biological and social dimensions. Competing value claims will inevitably arise and lead to conflicts that will be addressed through an inclusive, deliberative and adaptive process. An understanding of ecosystems must be considered and made of the values ​​of affected communities and not just rely on claims made by scientific experts.

Main organizing principles

  • Promotes a blending of natural with the social that goes beyond naturalism and environmental science
  • Seeks integrative collaborative processes that cross the many disciplines and cultural boundaries

that separate scientists, policy-makers, and citizens

  • Explores dimensions, qualities, and aspects of the world that are public and driven by normative


  • Supports respect for the different value systems that shape political discourse at local, regional, and national scales
  • Values ​​local decision making that is embedded in the larger context of protecting public goods
  • Recognize the need for local knowledge and local action to address

inclusive and pluralist process

  • Considers local decision making

Adapted from David Robertson, Bruce Hull and Timothy Luke )

Many of these principles are shared in such disciplines as political ecology, sustainable development, urban ecology, conservation biology and restoration ecology. Public Ecology also shares a common interdisciplinary and holisticapproach to social-environmental interactions with Human Ecology.


„The challenge today is how to Develop a public truly ecology with new organisms, institutions, and ideas Whose material joint can balance the insights of scientific experts, the Concerns of private property holders, the worries about social inequity, and the need for ecological sustainability to support human and nonhuman life in the 21st century. „ (Luke 2005)

„Ecologic en ecologie et de l’ecologiologie et de l’ecologiologie et de l’ecologiologie et de l’ecologiologie et de l’ecologie et de l’environnement“. variety of perspectives and points of view. „ (Robertson and Hull 2003).  (Robertson and Hull 2003)

„Public ecology is a more powerful ecology . It is a body of environmental science that seeks to bridge the gap between science and policy. Public ecology not only exists at the interface of science and policy but functions as a joint product of this generally disparate realms. The language of public ecology facilitates the flow of ideas and information on the other and back again. „ (Robertson and Hull 2001)


  • Backstrand, K. 2003. Civic science for sustainability: Reframing the role of experts, policymakers and citizens in environmental governance. Global Environmental Politics 3 (4): pp. 24-41.
  • Gross, Matthias & Hoffmann-Riem, Holger. 2005. Ecological Restoration as a Real-World Experiment: Designing Robust Implementation Strategies in an Urban Environment, Public Understanding of Science 14 (3): 269-284.
  • Karkkainen, BC 2002. Collaborative ecosystem governance: Scale, complexity and dynamism. Virginia Environmental Law Journal (21): 189.
  • Luke, Timothy. 2005. The death of environmentalism or the advent of public ecology? Organization & Environment (18): 489-494.
  • Robertson, David P. & Hull, R. Bruce. 2003. Public ecology: an environmental science and policy for global society. Environmental Science & Policy 6 (5): 399-410.
  • Robertson, David P. & Hull, R. Bruce., 2001. Beyond biology: Towards a more public ecology. Conservation Biology 15 (4): 970-979.