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Ecological and Cultural Landscape Restoration and the Cultural Evolution towards a Post-Industrial Symbiosis between Human Society and Nature



I discuss ecological and cultural restoration within the broader context of the critical transition period from the fossil fuel age to the post-industrial global information age. In this cultural evolutionary process, the restoration of natural and cultural landscapes should play a vital role. For this purpose, it has to be guided by a holistic and transdisciplinary systems approach, aiming not only at the organismic but also at the functional and structural restoration of ecological and cultural diversity as total landscape ecodiversity. For the development of suitable restoration strategies, a clear distinction has to be made between different functional classes of natural and cultural solar-powered biosphere and fossil-powered technosphere landscapes, according to their inputs and throughputs of energy and materials, their organisms, their control by natural or human information, their internal self-organization and their regenerative capacities. Not only technosphere landscapes but also intensive agro-industrial landscapes have lost these capacities and are heavily subsidized by fossil energy and chemicals, to the detriment of the environment and human health. They therefore have to be rehabilitated by more sustainable but not less productive agricultural systems based on organic farming. But their natural regenerative capacities can be restored only by regenerative systems, with the help of cultural “neotechnic” information. The promise for an urgently required evolutionary symbiosis between human society and nature in a sustainable post-industrial total human ecosystem lies in the functional integration of such innovative regenerative systems and all natural and cultural biosphere landscapes with healthier and more livable technosphere landscapes. To this goal, ecological and cultural landscape restoration can make an important contribution.

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