Together, these five metaphors form logical endpoints from which ecosystem researchers and conservation practitioners can begin to understand human—environment relationships. We recognize that metaphors are incomplete, simplified, or generalized, in that they are rarely applied in a pure form without elements of other metaphors. Ecosystem researchers and managers often apply multiple metaphors in their studies and often modify the mix of metaphors depending on the research question, the context of management, and the prevailing needs of the funding body.
Moreover, although metaphors pertaining to human—environment relationships do not in and of themselves prescribe particular management objectives, our experiences and the literature seem to suggest that their application is often associated with different management ethics, objectives, and indicators of success figure 2. Because of these associations, which may be triggered unwittingly by the use of a metaphor, it behooves researchers and managers to be explicitly aware of the metaphors and their associations that they apply in their studies. Below, we compare the economic production and closed-loop production metaphors on the basis of their context for application and assumptions, the prominence and role of their valuation, and the related decisionmaking outputs.
We then repeat this comparative analysis for the stewardship, web-of-life, and ecocultural-community metaphors. Together with the economic production and closed-loop production metaphors, these metaphors provide examples and pathways for characterizing human—environment relationships. For clarity's sake, we simplify each metaphor to crystallize key insights. We focus on the ways in which human—environment interactions are conceptualized and on how this might affect management outcomes. The name that we give to each metaphor is partly for convenience, and we note that there may be variants of a metaphor.
The stewardship metaphor compares the Earth to a household in which humans hold the position of a steward whose responsibility and obligation it is to care for that household. Stewardship is a unifying metaphor that embraces the notion that humans' moral concerns drive the protection of ecosystems Ratner In applying this stewardship metaphor, one recognizes that humans hold multiple values and concerns for nature, which derive from their affective and cognitive interactions with other species and ecosystems.
Monetary considerations alone are not sufficient to drive environmental management Ludwig , but rather, humans manage ecosystems out of moral concern for them figure 2. A variety of theories and empirical frameworks have demonstrated that moral and normative concerns, such as human values, environmental concerns, and personal and social norms about conservation have direct and indirect effects on behavioral intentions and on self-reported or actual behavior Steg and Vlek , Raymond et al.
These concerns derive from individuals' interactions with and ideas and feelings about other people, species, and ecosystems. For example, farmers in the Eyre Peninsula region of South Australia commonly rated leaving the environment in a better condition than that in which they found it as one of their highest land management goals and, in many cases, higher than the goal of maximizing the income from their farm Raymond Implicit in the web-of-life metaphor is that species are nodes within complex webs of connections.
In the web-of-life metaphor, humans are one part of a wider ecological system and have the responsibility to understand their impacts on the various components of the broader system figure 2. We therefore have a responsibility to manage ecosystems on the basis of the complex interactions between natural systems. More recently, this metaphor has spread across a variety of disciplines and fields of application, inspired notably by complex systems theory e. The web-of-life metaphor can be seen as underlying the ecosystem research and management ethic that valuable species cannot be adequately managed in isolation McLeod and Leslie Although an understanding of the parts and components is essential, the only way to truly determine why species do what they do is to assess their roles within the broader ecosystem Paine and how those roles change depending on the time, location, and context Salomon et al.
The ecocultural-community metaphor is one of association, in which humans treat nonhuman species and aspects of the environment as part of their community. Humans therefore have a responsibility to manage ecosystems on the basis of the connections among the spiritual, physical, and social worlds figure 2. The level of integrity among these worlds is an indicator of management success. The ecocultural-community metaphor has been presented in the comanagement literature, with specific reference to how indigenous and other long-resident peoples manage their landscape and resources Turner and Berkes It also encompasses the Nuu-chah-nulth concept of hishuk ish tsawalk.
Employing the ecocultural-community metaphor also involves intrinsic connections among land, family, ancestors, and the spiritual realm Bohensky and Maru ; see also Atleo These connections can be explored but not quantified. The ecocultural-community metaphor also encompasses concerns for ecological systems and human species as a cohesive whole Toman This altruistic view is contrasted with the economic production metaphor, which is focused on the environmental values that are of direct use to human beings.
In this section, we provide examples of how each of the metaphors of the human—environment relationship pertains to environmental management practice. Conservation efforts in the Panama Canal watershed illustrated by the development of protected areas and payments for ecosystem services schemes provide an iconic case study of the human-use metaphor. At the heart of the notion of infrastructure lies the concept that the benefits of nature are measured by their use by humans. Within this framework, several organizations have developed payments for ecosystem services projects to improve water quality in the region.
For example, ForestRe, a forestry insurance company, uses the financial markets to encourage insurance companies to underwrite a year bond that would pay for the reforestation of the slopes of the Panama Canal in order to reduce eutrophication and siltation and to increase water flow in the dry season. These insurance companies then ask clients such as Wal-Mart, Toyota, and Honda to buy their bond in return for a reduced premium for insurance against the losses associated with the closure of the canal Economist In this case, the framework implicitly assigned who had those rights and how those rights could be used to generate value in the system figure 2.
Kamehameha Schools, an educational trust and the largest private landowner in Hawaii, undertook a comprehensive land-planning process on the island of Oahu that was intended to balance environmental, economic, cultural, and community values Kamehameha Schools Kamehameha Schools and local stakeholders considered a range of future scenarios for the use of the land.
They considered restoration activities, such as invasive species removal, restoring degraded agricultural lands for biofuel production, diversified agriculture and forestry, and residential development. This suite of options encompassed their goals of maintaining and enhancing the environmental and cultural resources in the region exemplifying a closed-loop view of the human—environment relationship. They used a spatially explicit modeling tool to quantify changes in the delivery of services such as carbon storage and water quality and the financial return from the land Goldstein et al.
The scenarios would lead to varying degrees of trade-offs among water quality and carbon storage. In spite of the fact that residential development was projected to yield the greatest financial returns, Kamehameha Schools and the local stakeholders chose a plan in which diversified agriculture and forestry were emphasized instead. They were concerned that selling and developing the lands could lead to potentially irreversible losses of cultural assets.
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Consequently, they strived to close the loop in the human—environment interaction by incorporating diverse human activities, including restoration and extraction activities, into local land-use planning. The ecosystem services model provided a quantitative way for stakeholders and decisionmakers to consider the environmental, economic, and cultural implications of alternative land-use scenarios and provided a pathway for understanding how ecosystem services could be replaced by equivalent natural or humanmade services.
Researchers in the South Australian Murray—Darling Basin region of South Australia investigated the influence of values, place attachment, beliefs, and norms on the conservation of native vegetation by rural landholders. The results indicated that the strength of landholder connections with nature was a significant predictor of the landholders' environmental concerns e. In this case, a strict focus on the economic benefits would have been too limiting; the research revealed the need for resource managers to consider the influence of connections to nature if the goal is to better understand how humans interact with ecosystems, such as the extent to which landholders have planted native vegetation on private land.
Consistent with the stewardship metaphor, the study findings highlighted that humans' moral concerns partially drive the protection of ecosystems. On the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, the reintroduction of a well-known keystone predator, the sea otter, has caused the decline of multiple shellfish on which coastal communities had come to rely.
The narrow conceptions of sea otters as directly good e. Sea otter predation of sea urchins has led to increased kelp production Watson and Estes Kelp forests are among the most productive ecosystems on the planet Mann , so greater kelp growth is hypothesized to lead to increased ecosystem productivity through nutrient subsidies to secondary producers and increased habitat for fish and invertebrates to nearshore systems Duggins et al.
Markel revealed that such contributions of expanded kelp forests appear to have a dramatic positive effect on some ecosystem functions, including rockfish production.
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Meanwhile, the effects on mussel growth appear to be minor—even though kelp-derived nutrients constitute a majority of mussel tissue in many sites Singh Clearly, the ways of nature are varied and complex, as is implied by the web-of-life metaphor. Humans are but one node in a complex network of interactions. Recognizing and articulating these diverse connections is an essential component of effective ecosystem management.
Tsawout, one of five Saanich communities of southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, has about residents. The Tsawout, like other Northwest Coast peoples, rely heavily on salmon and other marine life for their sustenance. For many centuries, they practiced sustainable reef-net fishing of migrating salmon within kelp beds along the rocky shorelines of the Gulf and San Juan islands Claxton and Elliott , Turner and Berkes The bay, lagoon, and sandy spit adjacent to their main village have also provided key resources, including clams, seals, game birds, and food and medicine plants.
The entire area plays an integral role in Tsawout economic, social, and spiritual life. These areas have been threatened by outside development, including the establishment of a regional district sewage treatment plant near the spit and a proposed commercial marina adjacent to the reserve, which the Tsawout Nation contested successfully in court Claxton v. Saanichton Bay Marina The Tsawout continue to foster a belief system of kinship and responsibility to their lands and resources, exemplified by their caretaking role of the newly formed Tsawout Land Stewardship Society, registered in June In this article, we have explored some of the ways in which humans conceptualize human—environment relationships.
We surmise that ecosystem researchers and managers use different types of metaphors for understanding those relationships, such as the economic production, closed-loop production, web-of-life, stewardship, and ecocultural-community metaphors. Each metaphor reveals different parts of the human—environment dynamic and is aligned with different management objectives and indicators of success. Researchers will not find perfect metaphors; the validity and potential applicability of each metaphor will vary from one context to another. Using the economic production metaphor provides for a simple and systematic assessment of the goods and services that ecosystems provide to human beings, which can inform the cost—benefits analysis of different policy options for managing global markets; however, doing so does not foster consideration of the complex interactions between humans and nature table 1.
These feedbacks are inherent to the closed-loop production metaphor but principally within the context of stocks of natural capital and material flows. Applying the stewardship metaphor takes into account a broader suite of values and drivers of behavior from moral, ethical, and ecosystem-health perspectives, which can broadly be categorized as nonmarket perspectives. However, this metaphor is arguably focused on humans an anthropocentric perspective and emphasizes a unidirectional relationship of care not a network of feedback processes among entities and collectives; table 1.
This metaphor may be appropriate if researchers are examining land management practices from the perspective of individual land managers but may be inappropriate if the land management practice under investigation affects multiple landholders or a regional community. The web-of-life metaphor emphasizes the complex interactions among humans and nature at larger scales from individual to community and ecosystem scales and can therefore highlight indirect pathways of interaction that affect things of value.
However, the interconnections among the physical, social, and spiritual worlds are missing from this metaphor, and it is difficult to translate the metaphor into practical decisionmaking. Implicit in the ecocultural-community metaphor is the recognition of the inextricable relationship and oneness between humans past, present, and future and all the other entities of the environment. These entities include those related to spirituality, which are embodied in beliefs and reflected in the stories, ceremonies, and actions of indigenous peoples.
How to add in these additional dimensions is difficult to explain, and it is challenging to measure or quantify the interactions that this metaphor promotes table 2. Nevertheless, the use of this metaphor will be necessary in order to engage both indigenous and nonindigenous groups who have land management practices, customs, or rituals that are not directly aligned with the economic production metaphor. For example, the application of an ecocultural-community metaphor is salient to managing mining claims and associated land management disputes in parts of Australia and Canada in which there can be conflict both within and between indigenous and nonindigenous groups about the economic benefits of mining royalties versus the need to retain existing cultural practices and rights over resource use and management.
Given the strengths and weaknesses of each metaphor table 3 , we encourage ecosystem researchers and managers to systematically consider multiple metaphors to understand human—environment relationships and adopt an appropriate metaphor to suit the land management context. In reality, individuals engage with multiple metaphors implicitly, and the challenge is to develop systematic processes for making them explicit. We therefore encourage a deliberative approach whereby ecosystem researchers actively engage conservation practitioners and local resource users to make explicit, through open deliberation, the types of metaphors salient to their conservation problem and how each metaphor can be systematically considered as part of ecosystem research or management.
A deliberative approach would involve a appreciating the importance of the social context of ecosystem research and management; b respecting a diverse set of knowledge cultures, values, and beliefs; c actively engaging multiple types of communities e. Strengths and limitations of the economic production, closed-loop production, stewardship, web-of-life, and ecocultural-community metaphors. There is an empirical literature that indicates substantial advantages of a deliberative approach, including greater buy in by participants e.
However, we acknowledge that there are drawbacks associated with this deliberative approach to ecosystem management. They include the opportunity costs associated with the time required to engage multiple communities in ecosystem management and to systematically consider the multiple metaphors, the ideological conflicts among those who espouse different metaphors and models for valuating ecosystems, the challenges associated with the commensurability of the different valuation systems associated with different metaphors, and the potential for some groups to feel marginalized if the metaphors to which they subscribe are not integrated into environmental planning or policy.
In some cases, good economic accounting of the services provided by the environment may be all that is necessary, and therefore, a monistic approach may be appropriate. In other cases, there may be no common ground among stakeholders and no scope for deliberation. In this light, both monistic and deliberative approaches to metaphor use have their advantages and disadvantages. We believe that the deliberative approach may be most applicable when key stakeholders in the conservation problem have different types and levels of knowledge about human—environment relationships Raymond et al.
The behavioral ecology of nutrient foraging by plants. Conditions for minimal intelligence across eukaryota: a cognitive science perspective. Swarming behavior in plant roots. Plant individuality: a solution to the demographer's dilemma.
Hazards inherent in interdisciplinary behavioral research. Plant intelligence: why, why not or where? Plant Signal. The Power of Movements in Plants. London: John Murray. Arguments for and against self and non-self root recognition in plants. Plant Sci.
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Behavioural biologists don't agree on what constitutes behaviour. The meanings of information, code …and meaning. Biosemiotics 6 , 61— BMC Neurosci. Adaptive and selective seed abortion reveals complex conditional decision making in plants.
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Behaviour as a psychological concept. Aristotelian Soc. New Ser. Phenotypic variety in seed germination behavior: the ontogeny and evolution of somatic polymorphism in seeds. London: George Allen and Unwin. A logical discrete formulation for the storage and recall of environmental signals in plants. Plant Biol. Cellular niches controlling B lymphocyte behavior within bone marrow during development.
Immunity 20 , — Aspects of plant intelligence. What is plant behaviour? Plant Behaviour and Intelligence. The intelligent behavior of plants. Trends Plant Sci. Seed dormancy distribution: explanatory ecological factors. The search for cognitive terminology: an analysis of comparative psychology journal titles. Research is the step of the process that suffers the most from canned methodologies. Being restrictive about a specific research method can also impact how much empathy you have for your users and your team:. By forcing everything to fit a certain box, we miss nuances and opportunities to approach things differently and learn about the diversity of users, scenarios, and contexts we could be designing for.
By being inflexible in our process, we lose our team's trust and make our day-to-day a burden rather than a collaborative learning experience. By neglecting to think critically about what we are doing, we are only feeding pre-existing bias behind our actions and way of thinking. We should be thinking more about methodologies rather than methods. We must understand what questions we need to ask instead of starting from the answers we want. In , we should not let our obsession with methods replace our ability to analyze and critically think about our work.
Design is about solving problems. And deciding how to solve a problem is the first design problem to be solved. There are two fundamental arguments used by those who defend the fact that designers who learn to code become more valuable than others:. First, by creating prototypes that are as close as possible to the ultimate intent of the desired experience, it becomes more likely that it will be executed by others appropriately — if not by the designer itself.
Second, the more a designer can speak the language of their developer peers, the better they can collaborate to get to a stronger final product. Of course designers should know how to code. This is as inefficient as asking an architect to build a wall herself. However, it turns out we were asking the wrong question all along. Relying on designers being able to code can be a symptom of systemic oppression in the workplace.
At the heart of this [contradiction] is the foundation of anthropology and the notion of balancing the outsider and insider perspectives to bring understanding through comparison. In parallel to this never-ending discussion, we have been observing an ongoing evolution of the design tools we use everyday that enable designers to go back to focusing on what they are really good at: designing big surprise. In we have seen a few transformations that corroborate that trend:. Principle has become one of the most popular UI prototyping tools , requiring almost zero knowledge of coding and native coding languages;.
Companies like Airbnb have developed internal workflows that allow designers to sketch a UI on paper, and spit out code in a matter of seconds , bridging the gap between designers and engineers working on design systems at scale;. New tools like Framer X and Modulz have evolved to be able to automatically translate UI patterns into React components, which means in most cases developers can build upon designs instead of replicating them in production;.
Our tools shape the way we think. While knowing how to code certainly helps designers ensure they are coming up with technically feasible interfaces, there is a new wave of tools that are gradually taking on the responsibility of making designers think in terms of components and design systems. Sea of sameness: the most popular stock photos of the year are a mix of sticky notes on the wall and white male design stereotypes. Source: Studio Republic. Source: Pexels. Source: Rawpixel. Source: Headway. The artboard has been our digital, creative canvas for years.
It is an extremely effective metaphor for print design that worked well for digital interfaces. It has since evolved to accommodate responsive design, prototyping, and component management. Artboards are not how people will experience your design. While at the beginning of the project artboards are a great place to drop ideas and run visual explorations, using them as the only way to visualize your work can create the false illusion that people will experience your interface in a sacred and uninterrupted way.
Google Calendar living on the right side of Gmail: users expect to be able to transition across products seamlessly. Artboards represent your product interface, not its experience. More and more products are seamlessly connected to a broad ecosystem of services and platforms, making it harder to design products in isolation. Google Calendar living on the right sidebar of Gmail is an excellent example of how users don't expect to leave their email application to check their meetings. The tasks of each product are performed within a certain mindset and flow, rather than a rigid logic.
Voice, augmented reality, virtual reality, platform integrations, social channels. Think about game UI for a moment: how do you perform so many tasks without moving to a different screen in the game? How do you navigate a complex game like Red Dead Redemption 2 with so few interface elements? Controls appear only when they become relevant, over the cinematic gameplay. Good luck trying to communicate those dynamics on static artboards. We can do a creative exercise that brings this same concept to an enterprise app.
What would the user experience and interface be like if the app was just an overlay over the other tasks? A few design tools are starting to explore new ways forward. Adobe XD recently launched a voice prototyping feature that has a lot of potential, but is still modeled around artboards. Figma uses "frames" instead of artboards.
While similar to artboards, frames have an interesting way of connecting and embedding. Since artboards are not going away anytime soon, here are a few things we can do to avoid locking ourselves into the boundaries of static thinking:. Share a story, instead of a wireframe. Instead of focusing on single pages, think about how features will work around the user journey. What else are they going to be doing? Where are they coming from, and what will they do next?
How does the interface adapt over time? Work and present your designs in context. Instead of presenting a mobile prototype from Keynote or Principle on your laptop, show it in a device similar to the one your audience will use. Think about components and states rather than pages. Breaking down a feature into a set of possible actions and further breaking that down into interface components allow us to see where these actions make sense and how they can be incorporated into the broader ecosystem. In , designers need to be focusing on journeys and mindsets more than a series of static screens that will never be how the user actually experiences their product.
Move, baby, move: some of most famous moving shots of the year. As soon as a new product went live, designers and developers would inspect the code to understand how they accomplished that feat. They would pause dribbble animations frame by frame to study which parts were moving, and how. Every week, hundreds of articles are published on Medium, written by designers who are unafraid of sharing their process with the world;. Case studies have become more reflective of failures, instead of focusing only on successes;. Designers on Instagram have started to post Stories that reveal a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of beautiful interfaces and animations;.
Corporate design blogs are sharing backstage photos of their process primarily comprised of sticky notes on a wall — but still ;. Behance has recently started to livestream designers solving design challenges , big and small, to a broad audience of aspiring designers. Photo credit: Marisa Peralta. Modern restaurants started to embrace the open kitchen model once they realized customers were not only interested in purchasing the food that they had to offer, but were also craving a more holistic experience of dining.
And they saw that people were willing to pay extra money for that experience. Customers value the craft much more once they see what it takes to create high-quality dishes at lightning speed. The same open-kitchen model has started to permeate the design industry as well. Increased openness about our design process has benefits for the designer, for the design community, and for society at large. Democratizing access to knowledge, tools, and methods will generally enable more designers to execute design — which means a bigger impact of our craft in everyone's live..
Participating in design and in the design community should not require any type of membership, and should not be hidden under a paywall. You shouldn't have to have any kind of membership to participate in the design discussion. Demonstrating our authenticity and sharing our experience will be worth way more than positioning ourselves as magicians that are secretly concocting sly tricks. Partially because tech hasn't advanced enough to create disruption.
If you look back at the topics we were all obsessed with over the past 3 years, not one of those technologies has been fully mastered. The internet of things has only seen a few reasonable use cases go mainstream.
Chatbots continue to fail except when used for completing very specific tasks. This can be a good thing: maybe it's a sign that we have stopped obsessing over the new. Understanding how , when and, most importantly, why we should implement a new way of doing something. This can also give us more time to understand our role in a society influenced by fake news, tech addiction, and growing economic gaps. How to fix technology that is not working: from user research that can help us understand genuine needs to usability improvements that will streamline the adoption process — if adoption is necessary at all, that is;.
Relevant use cases on how to incorporate existing technology in people's lives in a meaningful, calm, and sustainable way;. Ideas on how to bring new technologies to more people, at low cost, without sacrificing their rights, privacy, or local economy;. How to ensure technology doesn't hinder the great experiences in the products we are designing every day. We are here to solve people's problems, whether we use technology or not. Project of the year: Laws of UX For making complex psychology laws accessible to more designers. Product of the year: Square Register For seamlessly integrating software and hardware in a multi-screen experience, at scale.
Portfolio of the year: Liz Wells For the variety and depth of projects that show design beyond pixels. Honorable mentions to Aaron Lewis and Shawn Park as well. Tool of the year: Whimsical For allowing designers to think at a high-level without getting stuck on pixel pushing.
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Blog of the year: Subtraction, by Khoi Vinh For consistently pushing the design community to think outside its own boundaries. UX writer of the year: Nikki Anderson For bringing fresh perspectives on user research and other things. Book of the year: Conversational Design, by Erika Hall For reminding the design community conversational design is a mindset, not a chatbot.
Written by: Fabricio Teixeira , Caio Braga. Illustrations: Camila Rosa. Editor: Marisa Belger. We dedicate this project to all readers, authors, and friends of the UX Collective.