In this project we are interested in exploring OVP as a wild experiment. In conversation with recent work in the history and sociology of science – like that of Matthias Gross, Robert Kohler and Hans-Jorg Rheinberger – we want to consider whether what is happening at OVP might be understood as a novel, experimental form of environmental management. Key questions include:

  • Is the management at OVP testing Vera’s paleoecological hypothesis? If so, how is this being monitored and evaluated?
  • Or, is there a more-open ended form of experimentation taking place here designed to engender and respond to surprises? If so, how are these surprises sensed and monitored?
  • How do the specific properties of this site and its constituent organisms effect what types of experiment can and are being done? This is a field site (rather than a laboratory) on reclaimed land in the suburbs. These are animals, but are they wild enough to be experimented upon?
  • How does what is happening at OVP help inform new modes of wildlife science for decision making in the conditions of uncertainty associated with the impacts of climate change?

For a more elaborate exploration of these questions see: Lorimer & Driessen Wild experiments at the Oostvaardersplassen: rethinking environmentalism in the Anthropocene. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.

The unexpected arrival of a couple of breeding white tailed eagles is by proponents taken as a sign of the success of the OVP experiment (photo: Martijn de Jonge)


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