This paper traces the distinctive shifts in ecology and conservation in Britain during the late 1950s and 1960s. These were the last six years of the Nature Conservancy, the state research council responsible for ecological research, the conservation of nature, and for providing expert advice. Drawing on work in science studies and the geography of science, the paper addresses the changing spatialities of official ecological knowledge and the ordering of nature in this period of British modernity. The paper examines the Conservancy's construction of the form and relationship of research to practice: the connections between local spaces of research – the laboratory and the nature reserve – to the ‘right’ government of land and management of resources more universally. This putative ‘single great mission’ is traced through examination of the politics and practices of doing ecological research at the time, including the creation of a new Experimental Station, the growth of ecology as public discourse, and, importantly, government reviews of science. The paper concludes by considering how this mission was tempered and reconfigured by institutional change.
Uncontrolled Keywords (separate with ;):
Geographies of scientific knowledge;