Sagoff (2017) critiqued the exclusion of cultivated plants and animals from much of the body of work in ecology. However, there is a history of attempting to incorporate cultivated landscapes in ecology that goes back at least two decades, particularly in urban ecology. The subdiscipline of urban ecology has received relatively little attention in philosophy, although some of its methodologies, such as coupled human-natural systems research, have been critiqued. Here I will attempt to explicitly address the conceptual limitations in ecology for studying cultivated ecosystems and evaluate these limitations in the context of coupled human-natural systems and socioecological research, urban ecosystem services frameworks, and actor-network theory. I argue that the history of cultivated organisms is highly germane to their ecology, necessitating the incorporation of human agency into ecological theory. However, human agency and nonhuman nature exist along a continuum of nature vs. culture. As a result, dualistic approaches to studying the role of human agency in ecosystem processes, such as socioecology and ecosystem services assessments—which explicitly separate humans from nature—have had limited success in cultivated landscapes. More fully integrated frameworks such as actor-network theory may better address ecological research questions in cultivated landscapes.


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pp. 181-201
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