Novelty, Transition, and Standards in Ecological Management
Eric Desjardins (Western University, )

January 26, 2018, 9:00am - 10:30am
Department of Philosophy, Western University

Stevenson Hall 1145
1151 Richmond Street
London N6A 5B8


Novel ecosystems have been at the heart of a few controversies in ecology and conservation biology. While some researchers see novel ecosystems as an opportunity to research ecosystem evolution and a way to promote ecosystem services, others are fiercely opposed to the introduction of the novel ecosystem category in ecological management on the basis that it lowers the bar of restoration and conservation. This paper sheds light on this dispute by explaining the material and moral aspects embedded in the expression “lowering the bar.” To do so, I first present an interpretation of novel ecosystems in terms of transition events as developed in the context of branching time and branching spacetime theories. Taking this perspective shows how novel ecosystems involves a break of continuity and a dropping-off of alternative(s) that open the door to a worry that anything goes in ecosystem management while bringing important nuances to the ongoing disputes about novel ecosystems by providing a framework within which to interpret the extent to which material and moral standards of ecological management are affected by the introduction of this new category of ecosystems.

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