Haydn Washington, Guillaume Chapron, Helen Kopnina, Patrick Curry, Joe Gray and John Piccolo recently published the paper “Foregrounding ecojustice in conservation” in the journal Biological Conservation.

In the abstract of the paper, the authors write:
“Justice for nature remains a confused term. In recent decades justice has predominantly been limited to humanity, with a strong focus on social justice, and its spin-off – environmental justice for people. We first examine the formal rationale for ecocentrism and ecological ethics, as this underpins attitudes towards justice for nature, and show how justice for nature has been affected by concerns about dualisms and by strong anthropocentric bias. We next consider the traditional meaning of social justice, alongside the recent move by some scholars to push justice for nature into social justice, effectively weakening any move to place ecojustice centre-stage. This, we argue, is both unethical and doomed to failure as a strategy to protect life on Earth. The dominant meaning of ‘environmental justice’ – in essence, justice for humans in regard to environmental issues – is also explored. We next discuss what ecological justice (ecojustice) is, and how academia has ignored it for many decades. The charge of ecojustice being ‘antihuman’ is refuted. We argue that distributive justice can also apply to nature, including an ethic of bio-proportionality, and also consider how to reconcile social justice and ecojustice, arguing that ecojustice must now be foregrounded to ensure effective conservation. After suggesting a ‘Framework for implementing ecojustice’ for conservation practitioners, we conclude by urging academia to foreground ecojustice.”

You can access the full paper here.

A crowdfunding platform has been initiated for dam removal projects across Europe, the site being hosted by WWF Netherlands.

In the past, thousands of dams have been used for hydropower throughout Europe. Many of these dams are not used anymore, and instead create barriers for migrating species and thus inhibit ecosystem connectivity. This affects both migrating fish that cannot reach their spawning and feeding grounds, but also other animals that depend on the fish, such as fish-eating birds and mammals. The aim with the Dam Removal Crowdfunding Platform is to raise financial support to remove old dams in Europe that currently are not in use, so that flee-flowing river ecosystems can be restored.

Read more about the Dam Removal Crowdfunding Platform here, and feel free to communicate the platform throughout your networks!

On Tuesday, 18 April, Victoria Pritchard from the University of Turku, will give a seminar on “Conservation Genomics of Atlantic Salmon”. The seminar will be given at 13:30 in room 5F416 at Karlstad University.

Victoria has worked in the UK, USA, and Finland, and has published over 20 articles in leading conservation, evolutionary and fisheries journals. Everyone is welcome to attend the seminar.

The new journal The Ecological Citizen aims to advance ecological knowledge, champion earth-centered action and promote ecocentrism in political debate. NRRV member John Piccolo recommends the journal as somewhere you’ll find much interesting reading about human relationships with nature. John is also a co-author of a recently published signable statement in support of ecocentric value that he urges our readers to read and consider signing. Access the statement here: Statement of Commitment to Ecocentrism. 

Also, related to the ecocentric debate, there is an ongoing survey of attitudes to conservation. Learn more and take the survey at www.futureconservation.org.

John Piccolo, researcher at Karlstad University, recently published an article in Journal for Conservation of Nature about value in natureThe paper is titledIntrinsic values in nature: Objective good or simply half of an unhelpful dichotomy?“. In the abstract John Piccolo writes: “Two generations of conservationists and philosophers have built a strong case for intrinsic values in nature; they are the basis of the normative postulates of conservation biology. I argue that the recognition of intrinsic natural value is a fundamental and non-negotiable aspect of an eco-evolutionary worldview. Recently, relational values, “preferences, principles, and virtues associated with relationships”, have been proposed as a third category of values in nature, which may help to resolve the debate between instrumental and intrinsic valuation. By depicting intrinsic values as part of an unhelpful dichotomy between anthropocentric and ecocentric values, the current assessment of relational values fails to adequately account for the modern philosophical view of intrinsic natural value. The recognition of intrinsic natural value is not merely an academic exercise, but rather a vital aspect of conservation of the biosphere; recognition of value entails the obligation to do what is right, i.e., protect the good. Any attempt to reframe the discussion about values and environmental protection through more formal recognition of relational values will need to more clearly address how relational and intrinsic values coexist and how they can jointly form the basis for nature conservation.” 

Read the full paper here.

John Piccolo recommends the short film “Lahontan Cutthroat Trout: A prehistoric legend returns“. The film briefly discusses the restoration of cutthroat trout to Pyramid Lake and the Truckee River in Nevada, USA. This strain of cutthroat trout was assumed extinct until remnants of the population were found in streams in neighboring Pilot Peaks. This started great efforts to re-introduce the socially and culturally important fish population to the lake. Watch the film here:

YouTube Preview Image

For the Love of Rivers

Posted by Daniel Nyqvist | Nyheter

fortheloveofriversIn the book “For the Love of Rivers – A Scientist’s JourneyKurt D. Fausch writes about his research, river ecology, people and conservation. The book describes beautiful rivers, interesting relationships (between organism and between people) and dedicated science. Focus is on life in and around streams. From char interactions and connections between the stream and the terrestrial environment in Japan; to brassy minnows and water use or cutthroat trout, habitat changes and invasive species in the Western United States. In the end, the book calls for the conservation and restoration of our streams and rivers. John Piccolo, researcher at Karlstad University, has reviewed the book in Fish and Fisheries:

“Most of us in the biological sciences know that freshwater is the source of life. We know that our own bodies are 70% water, and we are aware of the relative scarcity of freshwater worldwide. We know of the critical anthropogenic imperilment of freshwater and the life it sustains. Freshwater is life, and freshwater flows through landscapes as rivers and streams. Civilization began on the banks of rivers, and rivers continue to flow today through most of the world’s great cities. But what of the life that lives beneath the surface of our rivers and streams? How does it fare and why should we care?

Fausch takes us on an incredible journey of scientific discovery, told through the lens of personal tragedy and triumph. Fausch is a leading stream ecologist,whose painstaking attention to scientific rigour has led to important findings at scales from individual behaviour to riverscapes and land-water interactions. ‘For the Love of Rivers’ recounts some of the many steps along a career of scientific discovery, weaving this tale into the much greater issues of personal loss and the conservation of streams and the life they support…

…For the Love of Rivers gives both inspiration and perspective, and for that alone, it is worth reading…”

Read the full review here and borrow the book from a a well-stocked library.

“Fins in the Fynbos: the hidden struggle of South Africa’s freshwater fish” is a short film about native fresh water fish in South Africa. It’s a story about a unique native fish fauna threatened by invasive species and habitat degradation. But also about ongoing conservation work:

YouTube Preview Image

Additional information is available on the YouTube-page.

John Piccolo, researcher at NRRV and Karlstad University, has recently published a letter in Ecology of Freshwater Fish titled: “The Land Ethic and conservation of native salmonids”. In the letter he uses salmon conservation as a case study and goes on to write about an ongoing discussion about why we should conserve species, ecosystems and nature in general. The letter concludes:

“Time is running out. The next generation of conservation biologists will likely preside over a time when the future of much of the  remaining diversity of life on Earth will be decided. I believe that conservation biologists must seek for themselves the answer to he question ‘Why do we conserve nature?’ Those that find themselves convinced, as others have done, that nature is good in and of itself ought to waste no time in expressing for others our duty to do what is right. Conservation biologists should lead the way in eaching that we ought to conserve nature not only because it is good for us, but simply because it is good.”

Read the letter here.