The “New Conservation’s” Surrender to Development
by Brian Miller, Michael E. Soulé, and John Terborgh
When a functioning ecological system is perturbed by human activity, processes are distorted and species diversity often declines. Research has shown that loss of species diversity decreases productivity, resilience (stability), efficiency of ecosystems, and increases chances of catastrophic disease. Recently, powerful interests propose to manage wild places and biodiversity for human benefits alone. We argue that this ideological leap rests on several flawed assumptions: (1) nature is a warehouse for humans; (2) humans can construct new ecosystems from non-native species (exotics); (3) humans don’t have to live within limits; (4) nature is resilient; (5) nature is nowhere pristine; (6) nature is a social construct; (7) conservationists preach too much doom and gloom; (8) humans can manage nature intensively while preserving biodiversity. We contend that these revisionist anthropocentric doctrines are faith-based, resting more on an engineering world view and wishful thinking than on evidence.
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