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Human Companions in Disturbance Ecologies 
Mette Løvschal (Aarhus University)
Emmy Laura Pérez Fjalland (Roskilde University)
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Friday 29 October, 13:00-14:30

Short Abstract:

Historically speaking, a series of ecologies have thrived on entangled processes of anthropogenic disturbances e.g. fire and grazing. Such long-term interdependencies provide an opportunity to rethink human-nonhuman collaboration and forms of governance arising in landscapes thriving on disturbance.

Long Abstract

In the Anthropocene epoch, human-driven landscape degradation is accelerating radically with the clearing and burning of rainforests, rangeland enclosure, landscape fragmentation and degradation, desertification and erosion. Processes that are making increasing proportions of the planet uninhabitable and in which humans are a distinctly destructive, exhausting and mechanical force. In an attempt to halt or reverse such processes, a series of large-scale landscape preservation, rewilding and planning initiatives have emerged seeking in general to (re)move humans from Nature. However, historically speaking, some ecologies have thrived on entangled processes of anthropogenic disturbances such as fire and grazing, including heathlands, grasslands, swamps and forests. Not only do many of these plagioclimatic landscapes have some of the highest biodiversity. They are also landscapes characterised by the incredibly long-term and sustainable coexistence of humans and ecologies — sometimes even spanning millennia. These practices provide an opportunity to rethink humans’ relationship with Nature and explore the specific collaborative roles involved in landscape conservation. Such practices involve people as companions working with and being with landscapes instead of destroying them or planning for their preservation. We are inviting scholars to discuss historical and current, traditional and modern knowledge of these socio-ecological landscaping and conservation practices. In this panel, we explore the multitudes of human-nonhuman collaborations, interdependencies and forms of governance arising in landscapes thriving on multispecies disturbance. Moreover, we investigate the relationship between material practices of care and extraction, forces of destruction and resurgence, and tradition, continuity and reinvention in disturbance ecologies.

Accepted papers:

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