Naturalness in Conservation

Explores the idea of “naturalness” in conservation biology.

A natural community can be defined simply as a number of different species living together in a particular locality. This paper presents a literature review and exploration of the idea of ‘naturalness’ in conservation biology. It includes a description and comparison between the schools of compositionalism and functionalism.
“By attempting to restore a site to its prehuman state, the compositionalist view that underpins many of the world’s current restoration projects ignores the role of humans in the long term development of the ecosystem. It also incorrectly assumes that nature is static, resulting in an often unachievable goal. To remedy this Cowell (1999) suggests a more dynamic outlook in which the past is used as a reference point rather than a goal and human participation is emphasized. In the same paper Cowell recommends a shift in focus for nature conservation – evaluation rather than control, appreciation in place of manipulation and protection instead of managing. This would help humans to develop a mutualistic relationship with nature, thus removing the distinction between culture and nature.”

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