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By Noel Castree
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Additional resources for Nature (Key Ideas in Geography)
One of the key reasons for this is the above-mentioned breadth of things geographers study under the heading of ‘nature’. For instance, it’s clearly not appropriate to investigate urban heat islands in the same way as one might examine why the idea of ‘wilderness’ is so embedded in North Americans’ imaginary. This leads me to a third observation. When it comes to nature, there’s a lot of mutual ignorance among geography’s three main research and teaching communities. 6 PARADIGMS The term ‘paradigm’ is famously associated with the historian of science Thomas Kuhn (1962).
But an increasing number of human geographers are interested in how different sections of any society interpret the environment. Take the research of Bruce Braun, for example, my sometime co-editor. His book The Intemperate Rainforest (2002) examines the conﬂicting ways in which the forests of British Columbia have been cognitively, morally and aesthetically ‘framed’ since the province was colonised by the British in the midnineteenth century. His concern is not with the details of forest ecology or, say, the environmental de/merits of clear-cut logging.
While most of them look at present-day issues, not a few take a longer historical perspective. Other geographers, by contrast, prefer to study the physical and human worlds alone in either contemporary or historical contexts. The beneﬁts of this are that geographers have been able to specialise rather than be the ‘jacks of all trades’ that environmental geographers are sometimes seen to be. Physical geography is, these days, comprised of the following subfields: geomorphology, hydrology, climatology (with meteorology) and biogeography (with soils).