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I thought you would be interested in this article from environment: YALE magazine, the Journal of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
Editor’s Note: The following essay, “Understanding How the Natural World Works,” was written by Frederick Herbert “Herb” Bormann, Oastler Professor Emeritus of Forest Ecology, and presented by him in October 2008 at the Woods Hole Research Center on the occasion of George Woodwell’s 80th birthday. Woodwell is the director emeritus, as well as senior scientist, at the Woods Hole Research Center. Os Schmitz, Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecology, wrote the following introduction for environment: Yale.
Herb Bormann was already retired when I joined the faculty of the school in 1992, so I didn’t see him much. But he certainly was more than familiar to me. Herb is an iconic figure in ecosystem science. Any graduate student of ecology during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s was made fully aware of the prescient and seminal contributions to ecosystem science that he and his collaborators (notably Gene Likens, Robert Pierce and Noye Johnson) made. They were mavericks who transformed a discipline. They were big-scale conceptual thinkers in an era when most ecologists were still enamored with largely reductionist details. They were experimentalists who measured effects in an age when much effort was devoted to simply describing energy and nutrient flows and species interactions. They cared about doing science in ways that provided insights for policy and management at a time when basic scientists were disparaging of applied science.
Theirs was an era when ecology…
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