Types of Experiments and Causal Process Tracing: What Happened on the Kaibab Plateau in the 1920s?

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Millstein, Roberta L.
conference paper description
I argue that Binkley et al. use causal process tracing in conjunction with a natural trajectory experiment and two natural snapshot experiments in their re-examination of the Kaibab. This shows that Aldo Leopold may have been right about trophic cascade in the Kaibab in the 1920s, i.e., that there are good (albeit defeasible) reasons to think that a loss of predators (together with fire suppression) led to a deer irruption which decreased aspen recruitment. Using the different cause-finding practices in combination can strengthen causal inferences and mitigate the shortcomings that each practice has.