Metaphysics, biogeography, and conservation

John R. Grehan jrg13 at PSU.EDU
Fri Jul 13 12:20:52 CDT 2001

For the philosophically inclined the following paper may be of interest:

Clark, N. 2001. De/feral: introduced species and the metaphysics of
conservation. In Derrida Downunder (eds. L. Simmons and H. Worth), pp.
86-106. Dunmore Press, Palmerston North.

The paper presents a philosophical perspective on the concepts of place and
origin as they pertain to the New Zealand Department of Conservation and
its policies concerning introduced species. The paper draws attention to
the critical importance of biogeography and acknowledges the
panbiogeographic critique of Darwinian thinking in New Zealand helps
clarify the way in which "the entire construct of a unique and indigenous
New Zealand biota rests on the self-identify of native life and soil." This
is contrasted with the panbiogeographic alternative where there is no
"ultimate origin or bedrock." Clark also notes the panbiogeographic project
replaces the nationalistic identification of the present geographic limits
with indigeneity or biotic integrity by a concern with the tracks, nodes or
baselines which link the ecologies of often widely disparate terrains.

These issues are not confined to New Zealand, for all that they have been
first addressed in that country in terms of deconstruction theory. Both
Nelson and Humphries have invoked deconstruction, although at this time it
appears to have only been demonstrated as a methodology for biogeography by
Craw and Heads.

John Grehan
Frost Entomological Museum
Pennsylvania State University
Department of Entomology
501 ASI Building
University Park, PA 16802. USA.

Phone: (814) 863-2865
Fax: (814) 865-3048

Frost Museum

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