man's collective interaction with his environment. Influenced by the work of biologists on the interaction of organisms within their environments, social scientists undertook to study human groups in a similar way. Thus, ecology in the social sciences is the study of the ways in which the social structure adapts to the quality of natural resources and to the existence of other human groups. When this study is limited to the development and variation of cultural properties, it is called cultural ecology.
Learn more about social ecology with a free trial on Britannica.com.