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Ecological Historicity, Functional Goals, and Novelty in the Anthropocene

Desjardins, Eric and Donhauser, Justin and Barker, Gillian (2018) Ecological Historicity, Functional Goals, and Novelty in the Anthropocene. Environmental Values.

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Abstract

While many recognize that rigid historical and compositional goals are inadequate in a world where climate and other global systems are undergoing unprecedented changes, others contend that promoting ecosystem services and functions encourages practices that can ultimately lower the bar of ecological management. These worries are foregrounded in discussions about Novel Ecosystems (NEs); where some researchers and conservationists claim that NEs provide a license to trash nature as long as some ecosystem services are provided. This criticism arises from what we call the “anything goes” problem created by the release of historical conditions. After explaining the notion of NE, we identify numerous substantive motivations for worrying about the anything-goes-problem and then go on to show the problem can be solved by correcting two mistaken assumptions. In short, we argue that the problem is a product of adopting an overly sparse functional perspective and one that assumes an unrealistically high degree of convergence in the trajectories of natural processes. Our analysis illuminates why such assumptions are unwarranted. Finally, we further argue that adopting an appropriate ethical framework is essential to overcoming the anything-goes-problem and suggest that a certain virtue ethics conception of ecological management provides useful resources for framing and resolving the problem.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Desjardins, Eric
Donhauser, Justin
Barker, Gillian
Keywords: novel ecosystems, ecosystem function and functioning, historicity, Anthropocene, virtue ethics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Ethical Issues
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Justin Donhauser
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2018 00:10
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2018 00:10
Item ID: 14314
Journal or Publication Title: Environmental Values
Publisher: The White Horse press
Official URL: http://www.whpress.co.uk/EV/papers/1539-Desjardins...
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Ethical Issues
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 2018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14314

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