Beyond 'native v. alien'? critiques of the native/alien paradigm in the Anthropocene, and their implications

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Abstract

Classifying species as ‘native’ or ‘alien’ carries prescriptive force in the valuation and management of ‘nature’. But the classification itself and its application are contested, raising philosophical and geographical questions about place, space, rights, identity and belonging. This paper discusses leading critiques of the native/alien paradigm, including its conceptual fluidity, dichotomous rigidity and ethical difficulties, as well as the incendiary charge of xenophobia. It argues that valorizing ‘native nature’ as inherently the ‘best nature’ is not only obsolete but impracticable in the Anthropocene, and that the preeminence of biogeographic origins should be replaced with a pragmatic focus on species’ behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-317
Number of pages31
JournalEthics, Policy & Environment
Volume26
Issue number2
Early online date12 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Alien
  • Native
  • Species
  • Invasion
  • Nature

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