How to Concretize Research on the Coupling of Ecosystems to Human Activities? From Socioeconomic Indicators to Styles of Living and Acting

in Nature and Culture
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Recent ecological studies have identified human activity as a relevant dimension of current evolutionary processes. However, most of these studies rely on socioeconomic indicators that consider the impact of activities on ecosystems but have only limited informative value on the effects of concrete patterns of action. This paper focuses on the concept of style as a tool for the study of the interface between society and nature. We exemplify our thesis with reference to changes in plant biodiversity in settlements, and start by summing up the methods and findings of our interdisciplinary research project that aimed to explain the distribution of native and alien plants. Since the findings indicate that styles of living and acting influence plant species composition, we apply the findings of our research strategy beyond the narrow focus of our study. Finally, we comment on methodological implications for the study of the societal aspects of social-ecological systems.