Accepted paper:

Caring for the forest by treading lightly. The story of a man on a mountain

Authors:

Lisa Jenny Krieg (University of Bonn)

Paper short abstract:

From a perspective of care and temporality, this paper will discuss the practices of 'slow care' of a zoologist living in an isolated mountain village, fighting species extinction. Taking nonhuman ways of moving through the forest as an example, he weeds and plants along irregular lines.

Paper long abstract:

In a small village on a mountain that can only be reached by foot, on a small French island in the Indian Ocean, there lives a man with a long beard. This man spends his days observing birds, trees, and reptiles. He walks a lot, and thinks a lot, and he treads lightly. He has also published hundreds of scientific articles about the fauna and flora of the Mascarenes, and many consider him an expert of nature conservation on the islands of the Western Indian Ocean. The island of La RĂ©union, like many other small islands, is home to numerous endemic species, which slowly go extinct due to habitat loss and invasive species. Contrary to NGOs and government institutions, who often use radical approaches to kill invasive species, the man in this story has a different approach. He treads lightly and moves slowly, along irregular lines, inspired by animals. Uprooting invasive plants and distributing seeds of endemic plants, he creates small niches where endemic species flourish. In this presentation, I will think through different approaches in nature conservation on the Mascarenes in relation to conceptual perspectives of care and multiple temporalities. Care, as a performance of relatedness to the world (Puig della Bellacasa), can also be seen as a way to act within what Tsing (2015: 24) calls "polyphonic assemblages", the interplay of human and non-human temporalities and rhythms. How does attunement to nonhuman temporalities change conservation and practices of care? What are conceptual and practical implications of 'slow care'?

panel P019
Liveability in a time of ecological destruction [Humans and Other Living Beings Network]