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  • Author: Brendon M. H. Larson x
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Brendon M. H. Larson

ABSTRACT

The concept of novel ecosystems (CNE) has been proposed as a way to recognize the extent and value of ecosystems that have been irreversibly transformed by human activity. Although the CNE has recently been subject to critique, existing critiques do not appear to seriously engage with the extent of anthropogenic change to the world’s ecosystems. Here, I seek to provide a deeper, philosophical and constructive critique, specifically arguing that the usefulness of the CNE is limited in the following three ways: (1) it is too static, (2) it is too vague, and (3) it is too dualistic. Although the CNE provides some conceptual advance (“new wine”), some of its conceptualization and packaging weakly support this advance (“old wineskins”), so I consider some ways to further develop it, in part to encourage more widespread recognition and appreciation of novel ecosystems.

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J. Cristobal Pizarro and Brendon M. H. Larson

Abstract

Human mobility necessitates that people adapt not only to a new society but also to a new natural environment and biodiversity. We use birds as biodiversity proxies to explore the place experiences of 26 Latin Americans adapting to Canada and the United States. Using interviews with open-ended questions, we prompted participants to identify birds that were linked to remarkable experiences in both places of origin and immigration, which we coded respectively as “roots” and “routes.” Participants reported foundational keystone species linked to their cultural heritage and conspicuous key species they associated with self-realization in the new place. Linking species, involving connections between roots and routes, triggered a process of place recalibration in association with key and keystone birds that worked as points of reference. We suggest that biodiversity offers critical social functions that need to be addressed by social integration programs promoting conviviality between humans and nature in the Anthropocene.