Conservationists in Conflict

Conservationists in Conflict

Many ecologists seek to restore damaged ecosystems to their original states. But others argue they are being ‘unrealistically nostalgic’ and that invading species open up new ecosystems.

WORDS AND their meanings can be every bit as tricky in science as they are in literature. The phrases scientists choose to portray natural phenomena can shape our perceptions of the world, and affect crucial decisions made by policy-makers.

The “novel ecosystems” theory, energetically promoted by a group of influential ecologists in recent years, is a case in point. The theory’s advocates say they are simply describing unprecedented changes in ecosystems, and warning of their consequences.

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