A Noocenosis from Greek νόος - "mind, thought, perception, sense" and κοινός – "common, mutual, shared, joint" is an artificial biological community built upon a degraded ecosystem. A noocenosis is the result of structural improvements by man and differs from the original, evolutionarily constructed biological community. The concept noocenosis was first used in Russia in the 1970s by the ecologist Stanislav Semenovich Schwartz. The concept was, however, more fully developed in the 1990s by the ecologist Victor Vasilievich Petrashov. Academic use of the term noocenosis is still predominately limited to Post Soviet countries, with a few exceptions. Closely related terms include:"Noobiocenosis" and "Noobiogeocenosis". The concept belongs to the discipline Ecology and was established by the Russian professor and ecologist Victor Vasilievich Petrashov in his 1993 publication Введение в нооценологи Parallel to the ecological characterization based on Petrashov the term has been adopted in other disciplines, including Economics, Industrial Ecology, Agricultural Science, Philosophy and other Humanity studies.
1. General Characterization
The interdisciplinary use of the term noocenosis, makes it difficult to provide one exclusive definition. The usages of the noocenosis concept can be split into two general groups: the conceptional use of the term in the field of ecology as a fully restored and improved biosphere of second order, and the usage as a social-informational unit in the fields of industrial ecology, agricultural sciences, economics and humanity studies. The ecological conception of a noocenosis was introduced by Petrashov. In line with Petrashovs original definition; a fully restored and improved biosphere of second order, the ecologists Ekaterina Shen and Alexander Wegosky have further developed the concept noocenosis, based on the experience gathered in their own organization, and the works of other naturalists, including Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky, Nikita Nikolaevich Moiceev, and Nikolai Vladimirowich Timofejew-Ressowski. The two characterizations of a noocenosis; as a restored natural complex and a social-informational unit, overlap one another. Wegosky, for instance, also incorporates the social-informational aspect of a noocenosis into the ecological characterization. A noocenosis, being a man-made natural complex, Wegosky further describes as a "nature-regenerating social system"
2. Ecological Charachterization: Viktor Vasilievich Petrashov
Viktor Vasilievich Petrashov, Professor at the State University for Agricultural Sciences – Moscow Timirjaev established the concept in the field of ecology. The various publications from Petrashov build the foundation for an ecological understanding of the noocenosis concept. According to Petrashovs definition, a noocenosis is a community of human and non-human organisms, which interact in an artificial habitat biotope, following the destruction of the original habitat through the actions of man-kind. A noocenosis differs from other man-made, communities of natural organisms cenoses, such as found in agricultural ecosystems or woodland plantations for economic use because of its complexity. The biodiversity, the territorial expansion of different species and the ecological structure of a noocenosis is comparable with that of the original biocenosis. Therefore, a noocenosis, is a system of "second-order", and has the same complexity as the evolutionary constructed ecosystem.
The level of complexity of a biocenosis can be measured as the sum of the biochemical systems it contains. The stability of an ecosystem is a direct result of the number of species and the number of ecological relationships between these species on their abiotic habitat. As such, an ecosystem in which the biochemical material circulation is constant and includes a great organic mass is generally more resilient. For example, in bio-diverse ecosystems the loss of one species is much more likely to be compensated by another. Thus, the creation of noocenoses includes not only the" repair” of anthropological damages to a natural community, but rather attempts to strengthen the resistance of said community against further disturbances.
Petrashov based the noocenosis conception on the theoretical words of Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky, founder of the Noosphere concept as well as Vladimir Nikolayevich Sukachev; the founder of the term Biogecenosis and the correlating field of study Next to the works of these authors, Petrashov used his own field research as and ecologist in the Russian Federation as the basis for the new concept. Petrashov was greatly influenced by Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky and his work on the Noosphere. Petrashov considered that the construction of noocenosis is the active implementation of Vernadskys Noosphere. Therefore, the entirety of all individual noocenosis make up the noosphere in the same way that biocenosis make up the Biosphere. There is a distinct difference separating the noocenosis concept from other forms of nature restoration. A noocenosis differs fundamentally from the results of natural evolution, and therefore not synonymous with the concepts "Ecological Restoration" or "Conservation". In contrast, a noocenosis is a constructed and managed ecosystem which is based on the scientific observation of the previous biocenosis, destroyed by man.
Petrashov suggested that the terms "Noogeocenosis" and "Nooecocenosis" be used when characterizing the abiotic surroundings and the corresponding ecosystem of the community. A Noocenosis is a community or organisms including humans, who take on the role of a "rational creator" according to Petrashov. When human kind compensates its own damage to the earths natural ecosystems, giving back energy and substance for the repair of interrupted biochemical systems, it becomes an active member of a noocenosis.
The restoration of natural landscapes includes all processes which increase the biodiversity of a certain biotope. According to Petrashov, the restoration of the original, evolutionarily developed biotope is always preferable. The re-acclimatization of dominant species is, in most cases, easier because these species are already best adapted to the regional conditions. The constructed noocenosis should be, when and where possible, constructed so as to resemble the original biotope, which was destroyed by human-kind. Thus, a noocenosis may be created according to either 1) the type of destroyed biocenosis, 2) characteristics which best match the current phase of the biocenosis in the evolution of biotopes, or 3) the type of biocenosis, which best matches the resulting natural conditions, should the conditions have drastically changed from the original ones.
3. Noobiogeocenosis: Stanislav Semenovich Schwartz
The Russian ecologist Stanislav Semenovich Schwartz used the term noobiogeocenosis in his 1974 publication, almost 20 years before Petrashovs publications on the noocenosis. Schwartzs conception has a few important parallels with Petrashovs, though the latter considered there to be no connection. Schwartz recognized that any attempt to restore biocenoses to their original form is prematurely condemned to failure. Therefore, he saw it to be necessary to rethink the idea of a "good biosphere". He suggested the term "noobiogeocenosis" to characterize newly constructed biocenoses which are equal to their naturally developed predecessors. Further, Schwartzs conception vastly differs from Petrashovs. Schwarz characterizes the work of as an ecologist as following: to create a general scheme for the development of flourishing biogeocenoses in an urbanized environment. This scheme can be implemented as a industrial complex, in conjunction with measures for the industrial development of the region and of the country. Therefore, the work of the ecologist in this direction deserves to be called human ecology. The main task of this branch of science is to develop a general scheme for the development of a biogeocenotic cover of a single economic and geographical region. Schwartzs definition of a noobiogeocenosis and the role of ecologists in its creation, is conceptually very close to the modern field of industrial ecology, defined as a "systems-based, multidisciplinary discourse that seeks to understand emergent behavior of complex integrated human/natural systems". The field of industrial ecology also focuses on the economic and social impacts of the material exchange between industrial objects and their environment. In the field of industrial ecology a noocenosis is simply а human technical and/or informational unit. The term is used to charachterise the relataionship between human production systems and the non-human environment. Furthermore, an important differentiation is that a noocenosis is seen as a separate instance from the biocenosis.
In contrast, a noocenosis is for Petrashov an ecological concept, that focuses on the resilience of a biocenosis, the complexity of its ecological connections and its stage in the line of evolutionary development. All these factors are evaluated within the context of human-industrial degradation of biocenoses, which characterizes the modern world. Petrashov, views human flourishing not as a goal per se, but rather as the bi-product of flourishing biocenoses. Social development is only possible through the rational construction and maintenance of biocenoses.
4. Noocenology as a Practical Discipline of Ecology
The profession of a Noocenologist Russ: Нооценолог includes the construction of noocenoses. The corresponding specialization is Noozenology Russ: Нооценология. The specialty is concerned with the construction of flowering ecosystems of the second degree. As a discipline, noocenology tries to compensate for damage caused by humans by transforming destroyed biocenoses that cannot be restored to their original state. Such destroyed biocenoses will be converted in new systems based on the knowledge gained in the study of previous biocenoses. The irreversible character of ecological destruction appears as the central and defining principle of the field. The creation of noocoenoses is therefore a solution tailored to the situation of the post-anthropogenic landscape, which for several reasons can no longer be traced back to its pre-anthropogenic status. The profession of noocenologist, as Petrashow emphasizes, is in light of the ecological crisis in which the planet finds itself, the profession that could secure the future of humanity.
Currently employing and furthering the concept is the Russian Ecologist and Naturalist Alexander Wegosky. Building on Petrashovs original conception, Wegosky has further developed the nocenosis concept as a practical discipline. Wegoskys definition of noocenosis varies from that of Petrashov, and is as follows:
всесторонне продуманный рукотворный социально-природный комплекс, созданный в результате природовозрождающей деятельности на деградированной территории, представляет собой сбалансированную юридически защищённую и экономически самоокупаемую кризисоустойчивую систему. То есть это биоценоз нового уровня, эдификатором - средообразующим фактором в котором являются разумные существа. Принципиально нооценоз отличается от биоценоза тем, что представляет собой лабораторию под открытым небом, стратегической целью которой является решение вопроса не только выживания и адаптации к меняющимся условиям среды как в биоценозе, но и, в первую очередь, продуманного и сознательного коэволюционного развития всех членов сообщества. В состав нооценоза могут быть включены все виды эманаций, излучаемых членами сообщества, при наличии научно обоснованных доказательств их реального существования.
A comprehensively thought-out man-made social-natural complex, created as a result of nature-regenerating activities in a degraded territory. It is a balanced legally protected and economically self-sustaining crisis-resistant system. Fundamentally, nocenosis differs from biocenosis in that it is an open-air laboratory whose strategic goal is to solve the problem of not only survival and adaptation to changing environmental conditions as in a biocenosis, but, first of all, of a thoughtful and conscious co-evolutionary development of all members community. The composition of the nocenosis can include all types of emanations emitted by members of the community, in the presence of evidence-based evidence of their real existence.
Wegoskys focus on the application of the concept noocenosis goes further than Petrashovs conception and encompasses the legal and economic aspects and barriers of creating noocenoses in a commercial society. Similar to Moiseyev, Wegosky sees systematic structures which inhibit the creation and growth of a new moral imperative, and thus the noospheric era. This is the central theoretical characteristic in which Wegoskys theoretical conception differs from Petrashovs.
In Wegoskys conception, consumer civilization hinders the creation of noocenoses as it lacks mature edificators who are able to create a reasonable nature complex. Ideological limitations, specifically the fulfillment and creation of excess needs in a commercial society, result in production ecosystems, that block out all other options for organizing life, except for the constant improvement of schemes for absorbing resources and distributing the" benefits” of production.
As co-founder of the organization Nature Revive Service – Nonprofit Partnership Service for Ecological Restoration of Degraded Landscapes, active since 1992, Wegosky has developed the program practical noocenology. The program the creation of noocenoses: which he refers to as "zones of life-thickening". These spaces are filled with as many protected ecological and social niches as possible.
Practical noocenology draws on Nikolay Timofeev-Ressovskys conception: biospheric rents. The focus is moved from fiscal profitability to ecological profitability, in which the use of raw material does not exceed the" rent” provided by the planetary substance. The biosphere according to Timofeev-Ressovsky, can be viewed as a giant combine, on which humanity is obliged to live with a certain percentage of green turnover’". The destruction of these biospheric rents has been jeopardizing the future existence of the human race for decades and has reached a critical threshold. Noocenology, the creation of noocenoses, should lay the formation of a natural information network, without which it is impossible to solve pressing evolutionary problems.
5. Interdisciplinary Reception
The term noocenosis is currently in other disciplines. The term, as it is defined interdisciplinarily, differs from the original ecological charachterization. For example in the fields of Industrial Ecology and Agricultural Sciences a noocenosis is a social or economic complex concretely this means the culmination of soiciety, human labor and the material products of labor. References of the concept noocenosis in the fields of Economics, Social Sciences and Humanity Studies have, up until now, been limited to references to the charachter of a noocenosis as an informational network of human thought. Such definitions do not share a foundation with Petrashovs original Charachterization: a man-made, natural complex of second order.
The term noocenosis is used almost exclusively in the academic literature of Post-States. There have been few exceptions in which the concept was referenced by academics in other countries. A few university textbooks of ecology and industrial ecology, written in the Russian Language, have used the term noocenosis
5.1. Interdisciplinary Reception Agricultural Sciences
The Kazakhstan National Agricultural University Almaty lists "noocenosis" as a foundational concept in the ecological education of students of agricultural sciences. Furthermore, the concept is being used in Ukrainian Univerities and is referenced in textbooks in the Ukrainian Language. Perhaps the most recent publication concerning the concept noocenosis is from Andre Kayukov А.Н Каюков, Institute of Land Management, Cadastre- and Environmental Management in Krasnoyarsk. In his 2018 publication, Kazukov defines a Noobiogeocenosis as an artificial ecosystem. A Noobiogeocenosis differs from a biocenosis in that is contains a another equally important community: a noocenosis. A noocenosis is made up of soiciety, labor and the products of labor. By putting the needs and demands of the biocenosis at an equal level with those of society defined here as noocenosis Kayukovs conception vastly differences from the ecological conception, in which the flourishing of a biocenosis is the primary goal of human interaction with nature.
5.2. Interdisciplinary Reception Industrial Ecology
With in the field of Industrial Ecology there are differing conceptions. For one, a noocenosis is generally defined as the social environment, and the degree of its change as a result of mineral and raw materials exchange On the other hand, the concept has a certain spatial character and is understood as the sphere of human kind in contrast to other spheres made up of plant and animal life and their abiotic habitats. It is a technical and scientific center of material exchange between industrial complexes and natural biocenoses.
A textbook of industrial ecology published by the University of Saratov prefers the term noobiogeocenosis, which it clarifies, is an elementary structure of the noosphere and one the possible systems of interaction between industry and nature. As a system, it includes territory, time, organization and scientific research. As a form of relationship between people and nature, it should enable the rational use of natural resources. The era of the noosphere must be preceded by a profound socio-economic restructuring of society, which is aimed at a careful attitude towards nature. A noobiogeocenosis is made up of even smaller units: a еcotop here defined as all abiotic components of the environment, a biocenosis all biotic components of the environment and a noocenosis the human- productive component in relationship to the environment. The noocenosis, it further describes as "a social-economic complex", made up of labor, society and the material products of labor. Furthermore a noocenosis is defined by the author as a community of rationalism сообщества разума. Specifically, this means industrial production systems, that are based on rational principles about the living and non-living environment. The content of what makes a community rational is however, as further stated, determined by the general trajectory of social development. The principle of rationality, being determined by the trajectory of social development, once again separates the industrial ecology definition of a noocenosis from the ecological characterization based on Petrashov. Similarly to the reception in the field of agricultural science, this characterization allows the demands of human society to characterize the human relationship to natural objects. In contrast, Petrashovs conception considers the creation and maintenance of flourishing biocenoses to be the basis from which human relationships to nature must be constructed. Not the development of human society dictates the structure of a biocenosis, but the structure and ecological connections of the biocenosis determine the trajectory of social development.
5.3. Interdisciplinary Reception Economics
Yan Vyacheslavovich Shokin Ян Вячеславович Шокин, Professor of Digital Economics and Management at the State University "Dubna", interpreted the concept noocenosis as the result of the natural convergence of economic units with coinciding economic interests. The essence of this interpretation is the a certain wavelength of economic interests, which are connected through a mutual exchange of motivation. Shokin reinterprets the term noocoenosis in the sense of the theory of economic interest to mean the overlap of certain interests in closed economic systems. The noocoenosis retains some loose connection to the biocenosis as it is a unit of the biosphere, in which "the economic activity clearly exceeds that of its surroundings". Шокин, Я.В. The concept is based on the noosphere concept in which man appears as a rational creator of his environment and has to act within the natural limits of his biosphere. Shokin reinterprets the term noocoenosis in the sense of the theory of economic interest and as an overlap of certain interests in closed economic systems. After all, there remains a noocoenosis as a unit of the biosphere, in which the economic activity clearly exceeds that of its surroundings.
5.4. Interdisciplinary Reception Humanities
The Russian-American philosopher, literary critic, cultural and linguist Mikhail Epstein introduced the term into the English language, with the following definition:
the totality of ideas, images, mental objects, information fields filling the material environment; the nature of their relationship with each other and with this environment, the process of their interaction, circulation. In the system of scientific concepts, noocenosis refers to the noosphere as a biocenosis refers to the biosphere. Each culture and subculture, professional environment, and social unit develops its own noocenosis, its own way of exchanging ideas, surviving and spreading in the noosphere.
first published in: Эпштейн, Михаил: Проективный словарь гуманитарных наук, OOO Новое Литературное Обозрение, 2017, Ubersetzung des russischen Titels: Epstein, Michael: Projective Dictionary of Humanities Online at: Accessed: 20 August 2019 *see entry "нооценоз" |
Epsteins definition identifies solely the noocenosis as an informational unit. Any mention of biocenoses are merely metaphorical.
The Publication: "Global studies. International Interdisciplinary Encyclopedic Dictionary." provided a definition of a noocenosis along with four other terms that share the common root "noo": Noobiogeocenosis, Noosphere, and the noospheric, spiritual and environmental assembly of the world, noospheric worldview.
6. History of the concept: Extension from the Noosphere
The concept noocenosis is an extension of the concept noosphere. The noosphere has been primarily in Russia a topic of study and debate, but has also caught international academic attention in the past 30 years, inspiring many publications
6.1. History of the concept: Extension from the Noosphere Noosphere: Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky
The noosphere was predominantly defined by the Russian Biogeochemicist Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky as the sphere of human reason and the next planetary layer following the biosphere. Other important authors in the creation of the concept include Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Edourd Le Roy. Vernadsky developed a theory about the trajectory of planetary development, derived from his observation that man-kind is the most relevant geological factor. The specific influence of man-kind on the earth is, he concluded, the result of scientific thought. The extension of communication systems, the creation of new materials, the colonization of the entire planet by the human race, and the geographic changes to planetary landscapes and systems are examples of the geological impact of man kind, and are predicated on man-kinds propensity to scientific thought. Vernadsky theorized that the culmination of evolution will be the onset of the noosphere, which is a scientific and socio-cultural transition of human society as well as a physical transition of the planets biosphere. The ability for humankind as a species not only to shape the biosphere through scientific thought, work and technology, but also to consciously reflect on itself as a function of the biosphere together make up this new state of planetary organization. Vernadsky saw in the 20th century the onset of the transition to the noosphere. Not only did he witness an onset of technological and scientific progress but Vernadsky claimed that conditions of his time enabled and forced man-kind to, for the first time, recognise himself as an inhabitant of the planet and to act from a planetary point of view. The transition to the noosphere thus encompasses a certain maturity of thought resulting not only in the proliferation of science and technological progress but foremostly the appearance of human reason in relation to the species planetary role. The development of a reasonable and reflected society would, for the first time, allow man-kind to consciously direct the co-evolution of human society and the biosphere. The noosphere is the active shaping of the planet through reflexive human thought, as far as it is a function of the earths biogeochemical processes. Furthermore, the noosphere appears as the next planetary layer: the evolution of the biosphere. Vernadsky argued that science, human thought, work human labor and technology are part of a greater evolutionary process, and are thus governed by the scientific laws governing all planetary processes. The "alien" environment; the biosphere, exerts stress upon technological progress, so that even the development of machines must follow the same planetary laws which determine the development of all organisms.
6.2. History of the concept: Extension from the Noosphere The Noospheric era: Nikita Nikolaievich Moiseyev
The concept "Noosphere", as a scientific concept, was further developed almost exclusively by Russian authors. A few exceptions can be found among humanities and philosophy academics in western countries. The most notable and influential author to pursue the scientific, Vernadskian conception of the noosphere has been Nikita Nikolaiavich Moiseyev with his publication "Человек и ноосфера" Man and the Noosphere in 1990. Moiseyev identified an important contradiction in Vernadskys theory. Vernadsky described the noosphere as an ultimately irreversible, teleological process, but also stressed the necessity of its active implementation by man-kind. Moiseyev concludes that the latter conception, that is, considering the noosphere as a "project" for human-kind requiring active implementation, best suits the reality emerging in the late 20th century. The epoch of the noosphere requires not only the active transformation of societal structure, but also the development of" a new morality”. As such, creating the noosphere requires the radical restructuring of our entire being; the shift of standards and ideals. Moiseyev himself, attempted to contribute towards the active implementation of the noosphere through his participation in environmental and ecological advocacy internationally and within the Soviet Union. Moiseyevs publication was an important transition away from the Vernadskian conception of the Noosphere as an inevitable evolutionary stage, and towards the realisation that the onset of noosphere is conditional upon human-kinds ability and willingness to actively implement it.