Naturally, the description above of the situation in ecology is somewhat clinical, for the lines demarcating the two paradigms are blurred by current interpretation and practice. A contributing problem is that autecology theory has, until now, lacked clear articulation and so has remained inadequately defined. Autecological research and information is therefore almost invariably and misleadingly portrayed as an adjunct to demographic
ã Introduction ã Coherence in ecological theory ã Basic approach and principles of
each paradigm ã Communities, ecosystems and
ã Relationships of the two paradigms to other sub-disciplines
ã Resolving the ambivalence in the term autecology
ã Scientific laws, prediction and the two ecological paradigms
theory (in ways outlined by Walter (2013)) rather than as a valid alternative approach to ecology (Hengeveld and Walter 1999, Walter and Hengeveld 2000). It has even been placed, inexplicably, within the ecological hierarchy (Beeby 1993, Pickett et al. 2007). Autecology is thus readily portrayed as descriptive natural history that is subservient to demographic ecology theory and research, even if simultaneously it is seen to have some practical use (e.g., Lawton 1993a, Kareiva 1994, Murdoch and Briggs 1996).