While the extinction crisis driven by global changes like urbanization and climate destabilization easily drives us to despair, the remarkable adaptability and resilience shown by many species also brings hope. Our own species is also capable of adaptability and resilience, which can only be enhanced through a deeper understanding of the evolutionary history and adaptability of other species, so that we can build our own habitats in ways that accommodate rich biodiversity, helping pull us all out of the extinction spiral. This is my vision of Reconciliation Ecology, a participatory research paradigm that engages citizens and scholars in applying the frameworks of evolutionary ecology and social-ecological systems thinking towards finding ways to reconcile biodiversity conservation with human development.
Area(s) of Expertise
We live in extraordinary times for biodiversity in the history of life on our planet. Our own species has ushered in the sixth mega-extinction event in Earth’s long history. Species are disappearing at an alarming rate, many before we even realize their existence, largely because we’re sacrificing ecosystems at the altar of human development in a short-sighted economic paradigm. At the same time, often to the surprise of conservationists, many species are also adapting to the novel habitats engineered by humans, evolving to occupy the interstices of social-ecological systems that now define this age being dubbed the Anthropocene.