Biodiversity and the divide between culture and nature
Author: Haila, Y.
Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 8, Number 1, January 1999 , pp. 165-181(17)
Abstract:The term biodiversity may help us to reach beyond the nature–culture dualism that has a debilitating effect on conservation thinking. This, however, depends on how the term is actually used. The opportunity is that the term connects dialectically together biological entities and their conditions of reproduction and may, consequently, facilitate a shift from atomistic to processual thinking in ecology and conservation. Analogously, the term offers resources for analyzing the dynamic dependence of human activities on natural processes. Health offers a fruitful metaphor for evaluating the resilience and conditions of reproduction of ecosocial systems. On the other hand, problems and contradictions in the application of the term arise from too schematic a perception of the relationship between scientific knowledge and human, social agency. Science influences human agency primarily on the long term, by helping to form new perspectives on what it means to lead a human life. Conservation concerns have a great influence on such perspectives. However, an emphasis on `crisis' may be counterproductive: scientific arguments perform poorly in a crisis situation in which, instead, short-term interests of powerful social actors such as corporations, state agencies or professional groups may gain the upper hand.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: Department of Regional Studies and Environmental Policy, University of Tampere, P.O. Box 607, 33101 Tampere, Finland (firstname.lastname@example.org; fax: +358-3-2157311)
Publication date: January 1999