Settling Nature: The Conservation Regime in Palestine-Israel

Settling Nature: The Conservation Regime in Palestine-Israel



Nature management is much more central to the settler colonial project than is commonly recognized. In Settling Nature, Irus Braverman draws on more than a decade of ethnographic fieldwork to document how the administration of nature in Palestine-Israel advances the Zionist project of Jewish settlement alongside the corresponding dispossession of non-Jews from this space. The book proceeds through two intersecting lines of inquiry: it first studies the protection of land through its designation by the settler state as a national park or nature reserve; then, it documents the settler state’s protection of animals and plants, which often exceeds the boundaries of the protected territories. Braverman argues that this dual protection scheme lies at the heart of the extensive yet overlooked conservation regime in Palestine-Israel, which she terms “settler ecologies.”

The territorial reach of nature protection in Palestine-Israel is remarkable. To date, nearly 25 percent of the country’s total land mass has already been designated as a nature reserve or a national park. Alongside this sovereign enclosure of land, Israel’s settler ecologies center on the biopolitical protection of fauna and flora, leading to widespread ecological warfare. Recruited to the front lines are fallow deer, gazelles, wild asses, griffon vultures, pine trees, and cows on the Israeli side against goats, camels, olive trees, hybrid goldfinches, and akkoub on the Palestinian side. These nonhuman soldiers are all the more effective because nature camouflages their tactical deployment. Highlighting the violent repercussions of Israel’s conservation regime, Settling Nature plants the seeds for possible reimaginings of nature that transcend the grip of the state’s settler ecologies.

Publication Date



University of Minnesota Press




Geography, Anthropology, Education and Law, Environment, Film and Media, Political Science, Theory and Philosophy, Animals and Society, Culture and Society, Science and Technology, Ethnography


Anthropology | Education Law | Geography | Law


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Settling Nature: The Conservation Regime in Palestine-Israel