laws of nature Natural law

Laws of Ecology





Worth of trees & forests.

is an Ancient and Medieval ideal to guide our behavior.


There is a hint in the origins of this word and the descendant words about what European valued.


Ways to comprehend the importance of timber and forested lands

Ecological design.
This view of the lower Colorado River valley is an example of the tension between human designs based on economic demands and the natural dictates of the organic arrangements of rivers and floods.

Three laws

Three Laws of Ecology:

Connectivity - you may never merely do one thing. (entanglement)

Conservation - everything must go somewhere. (persistence)

Nature knows how - there is no free lunch. (indifference)


Basic ecological terms

Interpreting nature as one approach to natural law.

How ought we to think about nature as to better express the complexity of a forest?

As the source of wealth, from the German word for forest "WALD" is derived the English word "WEAL" meaning woods, or forest. The weald is the name for a particular English forest but it derives from the old English word meaning a forested area. Water, energy, air and land contribute to the "revolving fund of life" that is manifest in any forested landscape.

The Weald

A section of the English forest called the Weald.


What are the values of nature?

Scientific or ecological, utilitarian, aesthetic, historic places, cultural identity, intrinsic qualities all inhere in natural areas; so these are called the values of natural areas. They are derived from the laws of nature.

  1. ecological, functionally necessary parts of the earth, sea, and sky in any locale.
  2. utilitarian, the greatest use for the largest number of people of the natural resources in a place.
  3. aesthetic, the beautiful or stimulating sensory features of any terrain.
  4. historic places, the commemorative, or memorialized events that took place in a site.
  5. cultural identity, rituals, observances, or requisite behaviors that natural places evoke in people.
  6. intrinsic qualities, such as dry wind, liquid water, radiation from sunlight; found in any setting.

That means inherent or intrinsic to all places, terrain, locations, or areas are a variety of human values. These six complementary or competing values are very different and can be antagonistic to one another depending on the features and elements in any geographical setting.

For example not all scientific values are ecological in that mining for uranium may be scientific, but the waste generated may harm ecological processes.

Natural Law is not synonymous with laws of nature, but they are related in that both refer to the organic relations as useful to explain either our duties, in the case of Natural Law, or our limitations in the case of the three laws of ecology as examples of laws of nature.

A law of nature, for example, is gravitational attraction that causes rivers to flow from high sources to low basins and as they do they meander, or shift also from one side or bank to another.

Natural law, on the other hand is a belief that humans share a divine reason with their creator and that human life is endowed with inalienable rights. From such rights Franklin Roosevelt articulated the four freedoms during the Second World War; the freedom to live freely, worship without fear, freedom from want, and freedom from disease or ill health.

There are two dialectically different approaches to valuing natural objects:

 Dialectical perspectives  methodology
Value, explanations
incomparable or not measurable is incalculable:
comparable or measurable is calculable in economic or energetic terms: accounting

Both from utilitarian (calculable or measurable) and ecological perspectives forests serve a worthwhile purpose.

Studies show that trees are so valuable that each one contributes $225 worth of ecological services in terms of:

Only the last of these six complementary values has a market price determining the economic value of the tree, yet the other five ecological services performed by trees have little or no monetary worth.


Related discussions of forests:

Forest ecology

Forests and civilization

Lessons from a walk in the woods

Wildlife and forests

Wildlife and the public trust

Antilles forests of the Americas.

Ancient word for forests reveals their wealth.

National Forests and Parks are often unhappy neighbors.

The Olympic National Forest surrounds the Olympic National Park.

Suppose that you are a member of a technical advisory committee to determine the fate of a forest?


Ecology | Models | Forests | Externalities | Symbiosis | Margulis | Thomas | Site map | USA map

Natural Capital | Accounting for natural assets | Worth of ecosystem services

Ehrlich & Ehlich on outmoded beliefs