Friday, August 7, 2009 - 8:40 AM

OOS 47-3: Event ecology and the integration of social and ecological research

Bradley Walters, Mount Allison University


This paper will describe "event ecology", a novel research methodology for studying the interactions between people and the environment. In contrast to some other human-environment research programs which are guided in their analysis by the application of regression modeling or broad theoretical frameworks, event ecology derives explanations based on the causal historical analysis of concrete environmental changes of interest, i.e., "events". In so doing, it seeks to integrate whatever socio-economic and biophysical information is expected to be relevant to answering specific questions about these events of interest. Diverse types of evidence are then effectively integrated, not on the basis of predetermined theories, models or methods, but rather by virtue of focus on concrete events as situation-specific causes. Empirical examples from research in the Caribbean are used to illustrate the application of event ecology.