Alien and native Species

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The native/alien distinction is central to nature conservation, but both the distinction itself and policies based on it are contested. Because the terms “native” and “alien” do not describe biological characteristics but dispersal history, definitions rest on spatiotemporal boundaries which are socially constructed. Invasive alien species have severe ecological and economic impacts, and so conservationists defend the distinction and anti‐alien policies. However, opposition to all alien species in principle has been critiqued on numerous grounds, most controversially because of the parallels with racism, but also because it often clashes with cultural values. Some call for the native/alien framework to be abandoned, yet it is being reinforced worldwide in conservation policy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Geography
Subtitle of host publicationPeople, the Earth, Environment, and Technology
EditorsDouglas Richardson, Noel Castree, Michael F. Goodchild, Audrey Kobayashi, Richard A. Marston
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages8
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Mar 2018


  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Ecosystems
  • Environment
  • Nature
  • Scale


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