Designer Ecosystems for the Anthropocene—Deliberately Creating Novel Ecosystems in Cultural Landscapes

Jason Alexandra
2022 Sustainability  
Accepting that nature and culture are intricately co-evolved has profound implications for the ethical, legal, philosophical and pragmatic dimensions of social and environmental policy. The way we think about nature affects how we understand and manage ecosystems. While the ideals of preserving wilderness and conserving ecosystems have motivated much conservation effort to date, achieving these ideals may not be feasible under Anthropocene conditions unless communities accept custodial
more » ... ilities for landscapes and other species. This paper's origins are in the author's work with the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council representing Indigenous traditional owners in Australia's Kimberley region. These landscapes, shaped by 60,000 years of human occupation, interweave knowledge, laws and governance regimes, and material and spiritual connections with country. This interweaving offers insights into options for dealing with humanity's complex sustainability challenges. The paper also draws on the literature about cultural landscapes, ecological design, agroecology and permaculture to explore options for applying ecological design as a planning and problem-solving framework. The paper concludes that design-based approaches offer significant opportunities for using ecological science to integrate conservation and production in agricultural landscapes in ways that can meet human needs while also conserving biodiversity under climate change.
doi:10.3390/su14073952 fatcat:atllq2w645b35kspb3wr4rn5ve