Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Very Long Words

Like most fairly young disciplines conservation and ecology are prone to an exaggerated use of complex multi-syllabic terms.These provide many functions but the most important one is that it identifies the 'in-crowd' who can claim a right to be heard because they understand the jargon. The rest of us can then be dismissed as small fry whose views have little consequence.

"Anthropocentric" is one of these words and it's relevant to Blacka Moor and the arguments that rage about its management. It means human-centred. SWT and its supporters are likely to refer to the heathland in the Peak District as anthropocentric for example, when they justify steps taken to prevent the area 'going wild' or reverting to woodland. The argument goes something like this: People like our landscape as it is. Look at the way they come out into the countryside at weekends. The way the landscape is now, they say, is the product of hundreds, even thousands, of years of man's influence. It is "anthropocentric". This landscape then has been managed for all that time and must go on being managed or it will be lost for ever. So letting it go wild is simply not an option. Presumably once that happens people will stop going out into the countryside and will stay at home at weekends and watch the box.

It really is not hard to pick gaping holes in this argument. It is of course based on so many assumptions which require examination. At what point, for example, in the history of man's interference/influence in the landscape did it become set in the shape and pattern of land use that it had to be conserved?

The recent article in the current Dore to Door by the SWT Reserve Manager is clearly pushing this agenda of anti-wilding. More later.

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