The Human Ecosystem

        The Human Ecosystem

          Article summary

          This article explores the "human ecosystem" as an inclusive approach to ecosystem organization and management. Unlike a traditional ecosystem model, which tends to place humans on the "outside" of the ecosystem, the proposed human ecosystem model creates a synthesis between biophysical and anthropological realities for a more organized ecosystem management plan. The human ecosystem is the intertwining of the social system (institutions, cycles, and order) with critical resources (natural, socioeconomic, cultural) and the synergy created between the two.  This article describes previous social theory and academic contributions that added to the model as well as the organizing parts and subparts of the model. The authors argue that incorporating human activity into the standard ecosystem model is more representative of reality and should be adopted by researchers and institutions across a range of fields.

          In a nutshell, this resource offers:

          • A breakdown of the human ecosystem model which is a comprehensive approach to ecology that joins sociocultural demands with a biophysical ecology model.
          • Descriptions of the parts that make up the human ecology model and how they can be measured and assessed.
          • Suggestions on incorporating the human ecology model into ecosystem management scenarios.

          How to use this resource:

          • Applying the human ecosystem model to understanding the various relationships between humans and their environment in any setting.
          • Learn about and select for unique variables to use the human ecosystem model in ecosystem management or other research. 

          Author: Gary E. Machlis, Jo E. Force and William R. Burch Jr.

          Date published: 1997

          Point of contact: Gary Machlis,

          Citation: Machlis, G. E.; Force, J. E.; Burch, W. R. 1997. The human ecosystem Part I: The human ecosystem as an organizing concept in ecosystem management. Society & Natural Resources, 10:4, 347-367.

          Resource is available online here.


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