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Biologists Bridging Science and the Conservation Movement: The Rise of Nature Conservation and Nature Management in the Netherlands, 1850-1950

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This paper investigates the importance and various roles of amateur naturalists and biologists in the conservation movement between 1850 and 1950, in particular in the Netherlands. It is concluded that biological sciences were important resources for Dutch nature conservation, although the extent of their importance and the approaches taken varied considerably over the course of decades. Early on, amateur naturalists were leading 'movement intellectuals' who combined different types of knowledge, arguments for the protection of nature and practices in a new way. Later, after the institutionalisation of biology, the rise of ecology and the societal recognition of nature conservation, professional scientists developed new approaches and became more influential. They gave nature conservation more status and greater legitimacy. The founding of networks with scientists and other actors turned out to be of great importance. So a new societal role for biologists was created, but also a niche for ecological research. In the Netherlands, biologists had different strategies, some of them more appropriate for practical and political aims and for cooperation with amateurs than others. The Dutch interactions between scientists and conservation resemble those in Germany and the UK, but were quite different from those in Belgium.

Keywords: ecologists; nature conservation; nature management; network; scientific demarcation; social movement

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2021) of 0.925. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.902.
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