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The Concept of Naturalness

photo of Muir Hut, in the California Sierra Nevada
  by Rich Haydon

Keywords: natural, naturalness, natural processes, natural range of variability, natural areas, natural disturbance, native species, biological diversity, ecosystem management,  natural resources, restoration ecology, Delphi method.

This site is essentially a copy of  the following unpublished  thesis:

Haydon, Richard J.   1997.    The Concept of Naturalness in Natural Resource and Ecosystem Management.
 MS thesis.  Ellensburg, Washington: Central Washington University.  

 This thesis  examines what is meant by the term "natural," both in a general way and specifically within the context of natural resource management and the currently-popular "ecosystem management" paradigm.  In addition to an extensive literature review, the project  included a case study using the Delphi method, in which experts in various aspects of natural resource planning, research, and management participated in an effort to explore the full range of contemporary attitudes toward the concept of naturalness.

Part B of the literature review  should be especially relevant to those working in disturbance ecology or restoration ecology, while the case study results have their greatest implications for public land or natural area managers.

Additionally,  the detailed  methodology portion of  the case study pages should be  useful to anyone interested in applying the Delphi method, regardless of their interest in the specific subject matter of this paper.

It is my hope that somebody finds some part of  this to be  useful; the research and writing certainly entailed a lot of work, but I know from my own library research that most thesis documents get read about once every ten years.

For the purposes of the web posting, an abridged version of the actual thesis has been created. The expurgated pages are  the appendices,  A-G, which encompass a detailed analysis of the project's survey results.  For the actual thesis, an involved explication of the study's content analysis and statistical tests  was deemed necessary, but even the most enthusiastic reader would find these pages mind-numbing and of little interest, and I have therefore spared you the additional bulk which consisted of  about 100 double-spaced pages of text, tables, and figures.   

It wasn't all that obvious to me how to best change such a lengthy document into a web page.  After giving this some thought, the double-spaced text was changed to single-spacing, which makes for easier reading and printing.  Moreover, I have put relatively large sections of text as individual web pages, rather than creating separate web pages for each hardcopy page .   In light of this, and in order for the original Table of Contents to makes sense, "soft" page breaks were inserted in the text, so that  the page numbering remains in its original sequence/placement.  Essentially, there will be two pages per page if printed. This makes it possible to navigate the text using "find" by page number relative to the table of contents, and makes it possible to reference the text consistent with the page numbering of the original hardcopy, while keeping the web page as simple as possible.

My apologies in advance for any errors, including those  introduced into the text during  the chopping and conversion of  Word files to a web page format.  Certain things like in the original document, like tabs and page breaks, gave me fits during file conversion and I know a few bits of text are left misaligned or hanging.

 If one really wants to see the whole mess, the hardcopy thesis can be obtained in the usual way from the library at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington.  

Comments and so forth can be sent to the author at:

Site Navigation:

        Title Page, Abstract, Acknowledgments           |           Table of Contents                 |              Introduction           |             Literature Review Part A: Cultural Aspects of Naturalness          |               Literature Review Part B: Ecological Aspects of Naturalness        |          Case Study          |             Conclusions and Recommendations          |              References Cited