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Accepted Paper:

Shifting responsibility in nature conservation. Networking and net weaving in the emerging more-than-human sociality  
Malgorzata Zofia Kowalska (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan)

Paper short abstract:

My research challenges the division between a top-down conservation program and the community by identifying more-than-human entanglements, and staging collaborations. It proposes attentive participation, and exposition to the possibility of discussing nature conservation as sociality beyond humans.

Paper long abstract:

This paper discusses engaged research in a valuable biocoenosis protected under the nature protection program Natura 2000 and simultaneously an area of a multidirectional anthropogenic pressure (including opencast mining, fishing, agriculture, and tourism). The field site is the Niedziegiel Lake of the Gnieznienskie Lakeland in central Poland, which I have known for almost twenty years. However, only recently I have started learning about the specificity of the habitats protected within the area, and how the declining rainfall patterns and desertification of the region threaten their existence.

One of them are the stoneworts benthic meadows. Chara spp. are “engineer” algae who sustain the high level of the clarity of the lake, but at the same time are vulnerable to the processes of eutrophication and changing water relations. Their sustainability is crucial for the maintenance of the current character and functions of the Lake, yet especially important in the face of the advancing environmental degradation.

The endeavor moves beyond understanding Natura 2000 as a top-down expertise-based conservation program where nature is objectified and external. While learning about the Chara meadows as well as other species in the area under the guidance of biologists, fishermen and environmental activists, I examine the possibilities of thinking of the protected area as a more-than-human web of entanglements, interdependencies and care. The project aims at staging encounters between the experts and the community, shifting responsibilities, and encompassing more-than-human constituents in the emerging sociality.

Panel P080b
'Taking care together': Conservation as more-than-human commoning II
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -