Native Vs Exotic: Cultural Discourses About Flora, Fauna And Belonging In Australia
Free (open access)
D. Trigger & J. Mulcock
Environmental debates about which plant and animal species ‘belong’ in particular locations have a growing significance around the world. We argue that ideas about which species constitute weeds or pests and how those species should be managed can be strongly grounded in cultural values and beliefs. Such beliefs are often linked, directly and indirectly, to everyday assumptions about national, regional, local and personal identities. Strong emotional attachments to particular species or landscapes can shape individual and community responses to flora and fauna with implications for issues of sustainable development and planning. This paper focuses on beliefs and practices that are thereby of relevance to urban environmental management. The study setting is the city of Perth, Western Australia. We aim to better understand the connections between nature and culture in a settler-descendant society, focusing on contesting views about ‘indigeneity’ and ‘belonging’, in both social and environmental contexts. Sense of place, the notion of a hybrid cultural and environmental heritage, scientifically informed beliefs about environmentally appropriate practices, and contesting aesthetic preferences are key themes in this discussion. Keywords: cultural landscapes, feelings of attachment, nature and belonging, native and exotic species, culture and identity. 1 Introduction Visions of what ‘sustainability’ entails routinely include social and cultural issues as of critical importance. Both in academic literature (Diesendorf , Orr ) and applied policy writing (Government of Western Australia , Melbourne City Council ), social and cultural factors are presented together with economic and ecological topics, as central to the goal of integrated
cultural landscapes, feelings of attachment, nature and belonging, native and exotic species, culture and identity.