Beauty is a powerful force that affects both our emotions and our ecological practices, yet aesthetic values remain understated and under-discussed in ecology. Here we invite discussion about the influence of beauty on ecological research by outlining: 1) how aesthetics affect the practice of ecology, and 2) how aesthetics affect the implementation of ecological research on the landscape. The aesthetic sensibilities of ecologists develop through personal experiences and are enriched by professional training, including ecological coursework, fieldwork, research and discussion. Many ecologists choose an ecological career because it offers an opportunity to work in beautiful, natural places. However, these values influence assessments of landscapes as beautiful, sustainable, functioning or threatened. Beauty and concepts of aesthetic preference may have strong influences on the design, implementation and interpretation of ecological studies as well as public perceptions of ecological processes.
Kovacs, Zsuzsi I.; LeRoy, Carri J.; Fischer, Dylan G.; Lubarsky, Sandra; and Burke, William. "How do Aesthetics Affect our Ecology?." Journal of Ecological Anthropology 10, no. 1 (2006): 61-65.
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/jea/vol10/iss1/5