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Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems$
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James Estes

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520248847

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520248847.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

The Dynamic Between Social Systems and Ocean Ecosystems

The Dynamic Between Social Systems and Ocean Ecosystems

Are There Lessons from Commercial Whaling?

(p.362) (p.363) Twenty-Eight The Dynamic Between Social Systems and Ocean Ecosystems
Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems


University of California Press

This chapter deals with the dynamic nexus between the gradual intensification of human interaction with—and extraction from—nature and the inevitable biological response to that activity. One may think of this dynamic as an instance of co-evolutionary adaptation in which biological processes undergo transformation in the face of extensive human exploitation, and human processes in turn undergo transformation in the face of biological feedback onto human communities that have been organized and structured around this very interaction. The discussion argues that both aspects of this nexus must be understood if we are to gain a plausible understanding of why many natural resources are so often overexploited. The pertinence of this evolutionary perspective is found in its illumination of important aspects of the history of commercial whaling, and in alerting people to emerging problems before they lead to a sort of destructive history seen in commercial whaling.

Keywords:   co-evolutionary adaptation, human exploitation, biological feedback, natural resources, commercial whaling

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