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Humans and ornamental plants: a mutualism?


Wilson, A and Kendal, D and Moore, JL, Humans and ornamental plants: a mutualism?, Ecopsychology, 8, (4) pp. 257-263. ISSN 1942-9347 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC.

DOI: doi:10.1089/eco.2015.0077


Since the Neolithic period, humans have surrounded themselves and their settlements with ornamental plants. Why? This paper explores this question using the theory of mutualism, which refers to a biological process where different species interact to the benefit of both. The paper first describes how ornamental plants are understood in contemporary academic thinking. Then it introduces the theory of mutualism, with particular attention to its historical roots. Discussion explores how humans and ornamental plants can indeed be conceived of as a mutualism. Two benefits are identified in adopting this approach. First, understanding the relationship as a mutualism could help to focus attention on the specific benefits provided by ornamental plants for people, and help legitimise the study of ornamental plants within the natural sciences. Mutualism potentially offers a complementary framework to existing social theory such as biophilia, that allows integration with approaches from the natural sciences to more fully understand both sides of the human-nature relationship.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:horticulture, plants, aesthetics, urban ecology
Research Division:Built Environment and Design
Research Group:Urban and regional planning
Research Field:Land use and environmental planning
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Kendal, D (Dr Dave Kendal)
ID Code:123865
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2018-01-30
Last Modified:2018-03-20

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