Reconstituting nature conservation: Towards a careful political ecology

Hinchliffe, Steve (2008). Reconstituting nature conservation: Towards a careful political ecology. Geoforum, 39(1) pp. 88–97.




This paper is about the relationship between nature conservation in theory and nature conservation in practice. I argue that in theory nature conservation is concerned with revealing presence and rendering the present eternal. In practice, the spaces and times of conservation are less clear. Conservationists work with matters of concern that are neither self-evident nor unproblematically co-present. Presence has to be made and re-made. These matters of concern, like rare species, do not always announce themselves to political ecology and they do not always perform to type. Such difficulties are analysed through discussion of practical work conducted in a UK city with field ecologists and nonhuman inhabitants. It is argued that a careful political ecology is one that is intent on making spaces for others that are not simply about presence, inclusion or accumulation. It also involves uncertainties, precautionary measures and looser forms of assemblage.

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