Title

Ecosystems and Obligations: Oostvaardersplassen and the Moral Challenges of Rewilding Ecosystems

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Campus where you would like to present

Ellensburg

Event Website

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source

Start Date

16-5-2019

End Date

16-5-2019

Abstract

In 1989 De Oostvaardersplassen was established by the Dutch government. This wildlife refuge is a part of the larger Flevoland province that was dredged from the sea in the 1950s and 1960s. De Oostvaardersplassen’s grass and marshland is home to 31 species of birds, 3 species of grazers, foxes, fish, and a wide array of plant and fungal life. The wildlife refuge was created in leu of a broader movement to return ecosystems that have been alter or destroyed by human activities back to their original or functional states. This process has come to be known as rewilding. While there are many problematic aspects to the idea of returning an ecosystem to a pre-human state, the experiment of De Oostvaardersplassen has provided an extreme wealth of knowledge and understanding for conservation and environmental restoration. With this in mind, recent challenges in De Oostvaardersplassen have raised questions as to what the goals of rewilding should be, and the moral responsibility that society holds in relation to these kinds of ecosystems. Through an analysis employing multiple ethical lenses, I will conclude that the animals at De Oostvaardersplassen deserve moral consideration, and that the situation observed at De Oostvaardersplassen is an emblematic example of the detrimental effects of cultural construction of nature. Subsequently, this will show that immediate intervention and aid must be provided by the Dutch government. The failings at Oostvaardersplassen should be viewed as lessons for any future rewilding processes.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Cynthia Coe

Department/Program

Philosophy and Religious Studies

Ecosystems and Obligations.pptx (1939 kB)
Slides for SOURCE 2019 presentation Johnson

Additional Files

Ecosystems and Obligations.pptx (1939 kB)
Slides for SOURCE 2019 presentation Johnson

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May 16th, 12:00 AM May 16th, 12:00 AM

Ecosystems and Obligations: Oostvaardersplassen and the Moral Challenges of Rewilding Ecosystems

Ellensburg

In 1989 De Oostvaardersplassen was established by the Dutch government. This wildlife refuge is a part of the larger Flevoland province that was dredged from the sea in the 1950s and 1960s. De Oostvaardersplassen’s grass and marshland is home to 31 species of birds, 3 species of grazers, foxes, fish, and a wide array of plant and fungal life. The wildlife refuge was created in leu of a broader movement to return ecosystems that have been alter or destroyed by human activities back to their original or functional states. This process has come to be known as rewilding. While there are many problematic aspects to the idea of returning an ecosystem to a pre-human state, the experiment of De Oostvaardersplassen has provided an extreme wealth of knowledge and understanding for conservation and environmental restoration. With this in mind, recent challenges in De Oostvaardersplassen have raised questions as to what the goals of rewilding should be, and the moral responsibility that society holds in relation to these kinds of ecosystems. Through an analysis employing multiple ethical lenses, I will conclude that the animals at De Oostvaardersplassen deserve moral consideration, and that the situation observed at De Oostvaardersplassen is an emblematic example of the detrimental effects of cultural construction of nature. Subsequently, this will show that immediate intervention and aid must be provided by the Dutch government. The failings at Oostvaardersplassen should be viewed as lessons for any future rewilding processes.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2019/Oralpres/187