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Summer School "Ecology and Society: Frontiers and Boundaries" / 3 - 7 June 2019


Last update Friday 09 February 2018

Assistant Professor, Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Jelle Behagel is Assistant Professor at the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group (FNP) at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. His expertise is in the democratic governance of nature as well as relations between political discourse and forest and nature conservation practices. He currently works on the role of forest and nature in the Anthropocene. He is also involved in projects that focus on institutional practices of REDD+ and Sustainable Forest Management, indigenous knowledge and land use practices.

Talk on Monday 3rd June

> Beyond nature and culture: crossing boundaries of social-ecological systems

The triumph of modernity is that we are able to separate nature from society: through our agricultural techniques, scientific methods, and cultural expressions. However, that triumph has become increasingly doubtful over the last decades. Problems of pollution of the environment, climate change, and biodiversity loss all signal the inadequacy of modern techniques, science, and culture to address the negative side-effects of our modern life. Accordingly, researchers and policymakers are looking to other, ‘no-so-modern’ ways of interacting with nature to address current planetary crises of food security, a heating planet, and the mass extinction of species. What these not-so-modern agricultural land uses, knowledge systems, and cultural beliefs all have in common is that they draw the boundary between nature and culture a little less sharp. The lecture explores some of the implications these alternative worldviews have for understanding social-ecological systems. It discusses land use, ecological processes, user groups, and governance mechanisms as entwined in producing the single world that humans and non-humans share. The lecture concludes with a discussion of the potential of new governance that ‘crosses the boundary’ to address the global to local crises of late modernity.