Building more equitable and inclusive practice
Morales, N., Lee, J., Newberry, M. and Bailey, K., 2023. Redefining American conservation for equitable and inclusive social‐environmental management. Ecological Applications, 33(1), p.e2749. https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.2749
Summary written by Justin Dalaba, edited by Audrey Bowe
In recognition of Black History Month, we’re sharing a recent article that reflects on how we can reframe our thinking and our work to support equitable, inclusive, and just conservation science and practice.
As academics and environmental professionals, we have a responsibility to continue adapting and reframing our thinking to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, belonging, and justice in American conservation. This recent article by Morales et al. explores the historical underpinnings and shortcomings of traditional conservation models that have led to underrepresentation of minoritized groups in environmental practice. They review the seven historical principles of the North American Model for Wildlife Conservation (NAMWC) and factors therein that may contribute to underrepresentation. They identify the need for improved representation by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) as critical to advancing conservation policies that serve all communities and meet the ever-changing demands of species and habitat conservation. Recommended actions toward this paradigm shift are outlined below.
Wilderness as an inclusive space
- Environmental professionals should critically analyze and change policies and practices to address structural and cultural barriers for BIPOC access in environmentalism
Centering BIPOC narratives
- Practitioners and conservation organizations should establish BIPOC safe spaces to share their issues and views in relation to experiences with nature
- Sharing BIPOC narratives and stories of success can support long-term environmental engagement and culturally responsive research
Inclusive relationships with nature
- Environmental organizations should engage in more culturally sensitive practices, like community-based natural resource management
- Facilitating knowledge transfer through storytelling and inclusive narratives can effectively recruit and retain BIPOC participation in environmental conservation
- Instilling sense of belonging among BIPOC students and youth can have a major impact on motivating engagement with wildlife ecology from an early age
Other ways of knowing (re-conceptualizing Western knowledge)
- Environmental professionals should collaborate with indigenous ecological management and Indigenous Nations
- Ecologists should be conscious of differences of perspectives in data “ownership” and data sharing between Indigenous nations and Western scientists, and develop research protocol agreements, where appropriate
Read more of our research summaries:
Torres et al. investigate what happens when you remove invasive plant species, and how timing of removal activities impacts plant communities.
Fusco et al. (2023) summarize what spatial invasive plant data is available in the United States and how it can be used.
Bradley et al. (2023) lay out ideas for better integration of invasive species and climate change policies and practices
New research questions our assumptions about invasive plants as the primary drivers of ecological degradation. Restoration success may be limited by interactions of different stressors.
In addition to documenting a departure from predictions in host-specificity testing, Simmons and Blossey present new evidence on the potential impacts and safety of water chestnut biological control.
This article reflects on how we can reframe our thinking and work to support equitable, inclusive, and just conservation science and practice.
This article explores a case study of biotic resistance, where over time native species may limit the invasion of other species. A native herbivore learns to consume an invasive alga in less than a decade.
How complete are current eDNA reference libraries for the Laurentian Great Lakes region? Can we confidently integrate invasive species detection with biodiversity sampling?
Invasive species vocalizations may be a significant avenue for competition among species. This thought-provoking article gives a glimpse into the potential effects of invasive species disrupting a soundscape.
Shifting temperature regimes can influence the suitability and spread of invasive insects, including spongy moth. How can secondary host plant connectivity support its expansion across the U.S.?
Can invasive worms serve as food for native species? How do they alter leaf litter microhabitat? New research offers insight into the potential effects and trophic interactions of jumping worms (Amynthas spp.) and native reptiles and amphibians.