Ordering the Wild: How Adaptive Management Is Used to Maintain Nature Like a Postcard | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Ordering the Wild: How Adaptive Management Is Used to Maintain Nature Like a Postcard

Nature, in its untamed and wild form, has long captivated the human imagination. Protected areas (PAs) have been established as sanctuaries to preserve this pristine vision of the natural world. However, this study by Francisco Gelves-Gomez, Jennifer Carter, Ruth Beilin, and Shannon Brincat, published in Society & Natural Resources (2023), looks at the complexities of conservation practices within PAs.

The study begins by scrutinising the formation of PAs as "exceptional places" where the essence of nature is implicitly or explicitly meant to be controlled. PAs, often viewed as havens for biodiversity, have become landscapes where human interventions seek to order and maintain a specific vision of nature—one akin to a picturesque postcard. The research finds that AM practices within PAs deliberately exploit spatial and temporal constructed image that serves as a metaphor for the idealised vision of nature "like a postcard." The metaphorical vision of nature, captured "like a postcard," is not only an aesthetic choice, but a tool used to reinforce and justify static protectionism as a form of nature conservation.

"Ordering the Wild" prompts us to reexamine our perceptions of nature within protected areas. As we navigate the fine balance between conservation and human impact, the study challenges us to move beyond the constraints of static protectionism. By embracing the dynamic, interconnected, and ever-changing nature of ecosystems, we can cultivate conservation practices that are not confined to postcard images but reflect the true essence of our evolving relationship with the wild.