Regional Universals: The Ecologies of the International Union for the Protection of Nature, 1950-1960

This abstract has open access
Abstract Summary
After World War II, the global conservation community went through a period of institutional restructuring – which culminated in the foundation of the International Union for the Protection of Nature (IUPN, later IUCN) in 1948. From the start, ecology served as the lead science of the new organization. Several prominent voices within IUPN believed that ecology’s universal laws would give coherence to the Union’s program. Yet, when in the 1950s IUPN members finally got new conservation projects off the ground, it quickly turned out that ecology could inspire very different approaches. In the Middle East, the Union’s ecologists became involved in highly interventionist and utilitarian programs that ultimately aimed to ‘make the desert bloom’. In Western Europe, then, IUPN members focused on the protection of historical landscapes such as heath and moorland – which they conceptualized as a valuable form of ‘half-nature’. And in sub-Saharan Africa, finally, ecology-led conservation aspired to maintain a ‘pristine’ wilderness that was seemingly devoid of human influence. In this paper, I will explore the ambiguities of IUPN’s ‘global mission’ of the 1950s, and explain why – despite a universalizing rhetoric – its ecological program would give rise to such divergent regional approaches.
Abstract ID :
HSS170
Submission Type
Chronological Classification :
20th century, late
Self-Designated Keywords :
Conservation, environmental science, transnationalism, localism
Maastricht University

Similar Abstracts by Type

Abstract ID
Abstract Title
Abstract Topic
Submission Type
Primary Author
HSS575
Aspects of Scientific Practice/Organization
Organized Session
Prof. Anna Graber
HSS355
Technology
Organized Session
Francesco Cassata
HSS587
Medicine and Health
Organized Session
Chantal Marazia
HSS872
Thematic Approaches to the Study of Science
Organized Session
Dr. Alison Kraft
HSS5847
Biology
Organized Session
Dr. Dominik Huenniger
HSS512
Aspects of Scientific Practice/Organization
Organized Session
Alrun Schmidtke