ME08
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Harnessing biota, ecosystems and landscape features in environmental management: Politics, affordances, methodological choices

Convenors:
Arne Harms (University Leipzig)
Christian Reichel (Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space )
Stream:
Methodology
Start time:
Session slots:
0

Short abstract:

This panel scrutinizes the re-evaluation of organisms, ecosystems or landscape features for contemporary environmental management. It examines the politics of reframing biota; considers material affordances of biota and things; and assesses methodological choices at the society/nature interface.

Long abstract:

Environmental protection and conservation now routinely rely on integrating biota, ecosystems or landscape features into complex management strategies. Thus, mangroves are acknowledged as natural bulwarks cushioning storm surges or land submergence, while coral reefs are positioned as outer perimeters of protected zones or urban forests framed as natural cooling engines. This panel addresses the re-evaluation of organisms, ecosystems or landscape features within contemporary environmental governance from the ground up. Drawing on ethnographic material from the world over, the panel scrutinizes imaginations, practices and governance mechanisms regarding such protective entities. In doing so, the panel aims, first, at examining the politics involved in re-framing biota and landscape features as effective means of protections and their integration into complex adaptation measures. Second, the panel reflects (emic takes on) material affordances of particular biota, ecosystems and landscape features, thus contributing to an ethnographic understanding of what (living) things do. While the panel also aims at rethinking methodological choices commonly underpinning inquiries into environmental management in anthropology and geography, critically evaluating their limitations and openings for thinking, and acting with, a planet in peril.

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