The dimensions of diversity are many. In biology, diversity has different expressions at different levels of the traditional biological levels of organization, from gene to biosphere. In the human realm, various social sciences and the humanities likewise expose multiple facets of diversity, encompassing genetics, gender, personal experience, demographic structure of households and institutions, culture, faith, and many others. Together, the dimensions of biological and human diversity define a complex hypervolume in which the relationship of the different diversities is only rarely addressed. Dismissing the rejected history of biological determinism of social status, there remains a rich frontier for addressing the question of how human and biological diversities might interact with each other. This talk will summarize the dimensions of diversity addressed in this session, and will highlight opportunities for research and application that emerge from the intersection of the various social and biological dimensions of diversity.
The intersection of biological and human diversity highlights the importance of human values in identifying sustainability goals, and therefore suggests a key role of inclusiveness and justice in pursuing those goals. The insights from the individual presentations in this session will be synthesized using several emergent themes: 1) the variety of trajectories and scales of social and environmental change, from local to global; 2) the nature and relevance of human diversity within and beyond science; 3) the role of human and natural theories, including the role of ethics, models, and metaphors in addressing change; 4) the use of ecosystem services as a nexus for understanding and working with human and natural diversity; and 5) the role of social and environmental heterogeneity in ensuring just planning and management outcomes both in cities and in rural and wild lands. Shifting patterns of diversity in human, natural, and human-natural hybrid systems are generating novel conditions requiring close attention to the human values they elicit and the theories that can advance sustainable trajectories.