Population, Resources, and Environment: Implications of Human Behavioral Ecology for Conservation

Low, B. S., & Heinen, J. T. (1993). Population, resources, and environment: Implications of human behavioral ecology for conservation. Population and Environment: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 15, 1, 7-41.

Asserts that while humans have evolved to a state in which we can cause global extinction, we have not evolved to consider the global population our family. If human resource use follows the same behavioral ecological rules as other species, people are unlikely to give up short-term individual or familial benefits for long-term societal or global gains. A behavioral ecological paradigm is offered that predicts that a way to change patterns of resource use is to examine people's perceived short-term benefits and play on those, creating individual short-term benefits (for compliance) or costs (for defection) in cases in which the behavior will have long-term societal benefit. Cost and benefit currencies need not be monetary. Our costs and benefits as a social primate are older than the invention of barter and money. Potentially important rewards include advertising one's status as a good cooperator.

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