Trial of Fire

In mid-April I travelled to Western Iberia to visit the Faia Brava nature reserve (Portugal) and meet some of the people responsible for it. The name means ‘wild cliff’ in the Portuguese spoken in this remote, achingly beautiful area. The organisation managing the area, the Transhumance and Nature Foundation (ATN), was started in 2000 by […]

A long way to go

My newest research tries to understand what the barriers to truly inclusive conservation projects are. It is of course very hard to generalize from a couple of cases. Especially today, conservation practice has branched off into many different orientations. This being said, I think it is valuable to examine certain cases of conservation to try […]

In Projects we Trust

When I was a child in communist Romania, the butt of many jokes was the government’s five-year plans. The cincinal (from cinci, meaning five in Romanian) was always accomplished in four years and a half, and the initial production goals were always surpassed. This of course had no relation whatsoever with reality. The 1980s that […]

The quest to revive the Aurochs: a brief history of how and why

This Auroch skeleton from Denmark dates to around 7,500BC. The circles indicate where the animal was wounded by arrows. Malene Thyssen./Wikimedia, CC BY-NC Rewilding and restoration of land often rely on the reintroduction of species. But what happens when what you want to reintroduce no longer exists? What if the animal in question is not […]

Multiple Bosses

In early July I visited the Varaita Valley of the Italian Alps, in the Piedmont region, on the border with France. Some days earlier I had met a resident of the valley, Denis, who shepherds his own flocks in the area, grazing them on the beautiful mountain slopes overlooking the massive Viso peak (3.841m). The […]

When a river is a person: from Ecuador to New Zealand, nature gets its day in court

The Whanganui River, seen here, is now a person under New Zealand law. AlexIndigo/Flickr, CC BY-ND In the early 2000s, the idea of giving legal rights to nature was on the fringes of environmental legal theory and public consciousness. Today, New Zealand’s Whanganui River is a person under domestic law, and India’s Ganges River was […]

Fakeademia

Academics are under pressure to produce increasing amounts of ‘academic products’, the most prestigious of which are journal articles. There’s an overall busy-bee mentality in contemporary academia that, though playing out differently in different institutions, leads to overproduction on the one hand, and insecurity on the other. Rarely are departments, or grant committees, or any […]