A US-Chilean partnership to link ecology and ethics for Earth stewardship: The biocultural conservation approach at Omora Park, LTSER-Chile
To confront global environmental change, Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (LTSER) requires new generations of scientists to integrate ecological and ethical research into transdisciplinary, biocultural conservation work from local to global scales. The southernmost LTSER-Chile study site (Omora Ethnobotanical Park (OEP), 55°S) located in Chile’s Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (CHBR), and coordinated by the Universidad de Magallanes (UMAG) & Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity-Chile, and the University of North Texas (UNT)-US, contributes to this goal by (1) consolidating an institutional platform for exchanges, (2) developing a methodological approach for the integration of ecology and ethics, and (3) creating a series of bilingual (English—Spanish) publications through an editorial partnership that aims to foster inter-American dialogues between ecologists and philosophers from North- and Latin-America.
In this study we present a synthesis and an analysis of the (a) multiple-scale research, education, and conservation work of the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program (SBCP) at OEP, (b) the Field Environmental Philosophy (FEP) methodology, and the series of international field courses conducted at OEP for over a decade, and (c) the publications that have resulted from the editorial series led by the Center for Environmental Philosophy; UNT Press; Ediciónes UMAG; Springer-Dordrecht; and Plaza y Valdes, Mexico City.
OEP works at the local scale as the Biocultural Research, Education, and Conservation Center for the CHBR; at the national scale as a co-funder and southernmost site of the LTSER-Chile network; at the international scale as field site for the SBCP. For integrating ecological sciences and ethics into biocultural conservation, the OEP research team has developed FEP. With the FEP methodology we have developed a series of “Field Biocultural Conservation” courses spanning over a decade in which US, Chilean and other international students and researchers participate together. The courses have included >250 students with backgrounds in biology, philosophy, arts, international studies, journalism, and others from >20 academic institutions. To enhance intercultural dialogues among students and academics, we initiated a series of bilingual publications on environmental philosophy, which included translations, original books on varied topics of biocultural conservation, and edited volumes associated with the Springer series, Ecology and Ethics. Translations are done by students, discussed in depth with mentors, and then revised by professional translators and/or expert reviewers. Hence, students gain first-hand experience in the research, production, and review processes of the translations, and original and edited works. This has been a particularly effective for achieving philosophical, intercultural and interdisciplinary understanding.