Cultural ecology is about gaining an understanding of:
• the natural resource characteristics of individual ecosystems and ecosystem processes (climate, soils, water, plants and animals);
• the socio-economic and cultural characteristics of those who live in, and/or depend on the natural resources of, individual ecosystems (population, household composition, cultural beliefs, livelihood strategies, income, education levels etc);
• the environmental functions and services provided by healthy ecosystems (watershed protection, maintenance of soil fertility, carbon sequestration, micro-climate amelioration, bio-diversity preservation etc); and
• the myriad of constraints to, and opportunities for, the sustainable utilisation of an ecosystem’s natural resources to meet peoples’ welfare and economic needs (e.g. for food, water, fuel, shelter, medicine, income, recreation).
It recognizes that people (the human resources) and the natural resources on which they depend, directly or indirectly, are inextricably linked. Rather than treating each in isolation, all ecosystem elements are considered together, in order to obtain multiple ecological and socio-economic benefits