Cultural lineage and extinction pattern

As Elizabeth Kolbert discussed in The Sixth Extinction, extinction is an ecological – cultural pattern. Actually, it’s the result of human-designed drivers, that match both qualitative and quantitative overconsumption of species and habitats within the geographic expansion of Homo sapiens (see also Erle Ellis’ research). So, the very backstage of extinction is a blend of different positive feedbacks (according to Niche Construction Theory). And human evolution appears to be the main driver of what we now call Anthropocene. The very but underestimated implication of this analytical model is that wildlife is a substantial element of our identity as a species. Species are consistent with us. This is the point where we can realize why and how the legacy issue is nowadays so relevant. If we look at the decline of biodiversity, we observe the collapse of the biological and cultural lineage that links us to the living planet. Both anthropological and cultural implications of extinction are detectable in the contrast of different conservation models: on one hand great parks imply Eco-tourism, developing economies and wildlife management sometimes accused of extreme brutality (culling); on the other hand, continental untamed areas involve genetical responding of the species and sharing space of the planet with human beings. Some think that Transfrontier parks – Y2Y, for instance – could mark a dramatic shift in our paradigma toward wildlife, a real compromise between rewilding and offsetting. But, is there enough room on the planet, to leave it as legacy to the other species and the generations to come? Continental vision of conservation puts the issue of legacy at the edge. Transfrontier parks would allow to keep evolutionary potential according to the concept of meta- population featured by Rudi Van Aarde (university of Pretoria): a spread out, shifting, breeding, dying group of animals thriving in some places while it fades away in others.

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