Books  Ecology  Ecological Theory and Practice 

Toward a Unified Ecology

Series: Complexity in Ecological Systems Series

By: Timothy FH Allen(Author), Thomas W Hoekstra(Author)

486 pages, 169 b/w photos and b/w illustrations

Columbia University Press

Paperback | Jul 2015 | Edition: 2 | #219633 | ISBN-13: 9780231168892
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £34.50 $44/€38 approx
Hardback | Jul 2015 | Edition: 2 | #219632 | ISBN-13: 9780231168885
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £103.50 $133/€114 approx

About this book

The first edition of Toward a Unified Ecology was ahead of its time, and in this equally groundbreaking text, the authors present a new synthesis of their core ideas on evaluating communities, organisms, populations, biomes, models, and management. Toward a Unified Ecology places greater emphasis on post-normal critiques, cognizant of ever-present observer values in the system. The problem is how to work holistically on complex things that cannot be defined, and this book continues to define an approach to the problem of scaling in ecosystems. Provoked by complexity theory, the authors add a whole new chapter on the central role of narrative in science and how models improve them. Toward a Unified Ecology takes data and modeling seriously, with a sophisticated philosophy of science.

"This is an important book that offers a synthesis across ecology written large. A provocative work, the authors' "look 'em in the eye and tell 'em what you think" narrative voice should serve as a long overdue cause for scientists to pay better attention to their work."
– H.H. Shugart, author of Foundations of the Earth: Global Ecological Change and the Book of Job


Praise for the first edition:

"An exciting book [...] essential reading for scholars interested in history and/or philosophy of ecology."
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences

"Full of new insights and perspectives that are quite likely to titillate a pure researcher."

"One day soon ecology and ecological perspectives will have to embrace and contain economics and become the dominant lens through which we look at the human condition. When that day comes, Toward a Unified Ecology will be the rootstock on to which much will be grafted. Hoekstra and Allen have done a magnificent job."
– David K. Hurst, author of The New Ecology of Leadership

Related titles

See the previous edition

Toward a Unified Ecology

Addresses the perceived need for ecology to be predictive, and to consider...

NHBS Price: £37.99 $49/€42 approx



1. The Principles of Ecological Integration
2. The Landscape Criterion
3. The Ecosystem Criterion
4. The Community Criterion
5. The Organism Criterion
6. The Population Criterion
7. The Biome and Biosphere Criteria
8. Narratives for Complexity
9. Management of Ecological Systems
10. A Unified Approach to Basic Research


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Timothy F. H. Allen is professor emeritus of botany at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Thomas W. Hoekstra is director of Sustainability International in Loveland, Colorado.

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