Biology and Philosophy 37 (2):1-18 (2022)

Carlos Santana
University of Utah
The very idea of novel ecosystems has been controversial in ecology. Critics have complained about its imprecision, and that it illicitly smuggles problematic ethical and political values into the science. By labelling a human-modified system a ‘novel ecosystem,‘ they worry, we give policymakers a “license to trash nature.“ The critics are right to be suspicious. I show that proponents of the novel ecosystem concept have been unable to make it both value-free and precise enough to allow for applied use.Also, the critics are right to be suspicious, because a goal for many proponents of novel ecosystems is to bring new values into applied ecology. But the critics are wrong that this is illicit. I defend a value-laden conception of novel ecosystems, showing that applied ecologists are comfortable with other value-laden concepts, and that the value shift motivating discussion of novel ecosystems is necessary if we want to understand and protect nature in a changing world.
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-022-09833-6
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References found in this work BETA

Thick Ethical Concepts.Pekka Väyrynen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Save the Planet: Eliminate Biodiversity.Carlos Santana - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (6):761-780.
The Politics of Ecological Restoration.Andrew Light & Eric S. Higgs - 1996 - Environmental Ethics 18 (3):227-247.

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