We envision a resilient world dependent on the thoughtful cultivation of plants

Episode XII: Words and Culture Matter: Language for a New Era in Plant Ecology

Episode XII: Words and Culture Matter: Language for a New Era in Plant Ecology
Garden Futurist
Garden Futurist
Episode XII: Words and Culture Matter: Language for a New Era in Plant Ecology

Read the companion article here.

With Dr. Susan Cordell, Director and Research Ecologist, US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Hilo, Hawai’i.

How might a more culturally inclusive viewpoint replace negative historical language associated with invasive plant biology?

“In many parts of the world, we cannot uncouple the fact that humans and natural systems are linked and that pristine landscapes are often, in fact, a mirage.”  This quote from a paper authored by our guest and colleagues was published recently in Frontiers of Ecology and Evolution. Noticeable right away is that this essay gets very quickly into talking about the language we use when we talk about nature.

Our guest and her multi-disciplinary team have taken a unique approach to ecological restoration that considers language and cultural context around how plants in complex ecosystems can be managed. To learn more about Dr. Cordell’s work, please read her group’s newest paper, inspired by the Liko Nā Pilina experiment: https://www.hawaii.edu/likonapilina/. This is a project using functional traits to promote invasion resistance and native biodiversity. In this perspective, we teamed up with a philosopher to explore the concept and underlying biases towards non-native species.

This episode was sponsored by:


A show about innovative thinkers contributing to a climate resilient future through the power of gardens.

Produced and hosted by Sarah Beck, Adriana Lopez, and Adrienne St Claire 

Edited and directed by Kelsey Skonberg 

Sarah Beck is the executive director of Pacific Horticulture.

Adriana López-Villalobos currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia where she works as Curatorial Coordinator for the UBC Botanical Garden. She is originally from Mexico, where she completed her BSC and MSc, studying plant ecology and mating systems evolution, before migrating to Canada to pursue a PhD focusing on the genetics of species across their geographic ranges.

Adrienne St. Clair is a botanist working with Metro, a regional government in Portland, Oregon where her work spans conservation to restoration. Adrienne managed a native plant nursery for almost a decade before pursuing a graduate degree. She received her Master’s in Plant Biology and Conservation from Northwestern University and Chicago Botanic Garden where she studied the effect of horticulture techniques on native-plant genetics.

Kelsey Skonberg is a Community-Centered Video and Podcast Editor and Science Journalist in Everett, WA.




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