Rambunctious Garden

Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World

Emma Maris, Bloomsbury, Multco 333.9516 M3599r 2011

Humans have been remaking the world since prehistory - there is no virgin wilderness to preserve untouched, and no moment in time that we can define as the one-and-only natural state, which we can restore if only we root up and destroy the human modified ecosystem there now.

Nature is everywhere, even over the paved streets of Manhattan. Nature is nowhere pristine wilderness, everywhere remixed by human presence and a continually evolving climate.

This book celebrates wise reactions to these facts. We can encourage more nature to happen, everywhere. We can foster ever greater diversity. Species disappearing? We cannot recreate the past environment they evolved in, but we can create future environments with niches for those species. Some native species may do better among carefully chosen so-called invasives than among the species they co-evolved with.

Even "co-evolved with" is a misnomer. Because of frequent ice ages, the environment keeps changing, the mix of species keep changing, and species share their location with many different species over time. Versatile species adapt - fragile species vanish, even without human interference.

Stories in the book

Artificial restoration of a lowland forest in the Keaukaha military reservation on the wet side of Big Island Hawaii. Native species evolved more slowly, and continental species outcompete them (p5). About 200 square feet cleared per day of labor (p6). The isolated native species grow slowly. Laupahoehoe Natural Area Reserve is used as a reference (p8) but introduced seedlings are moving in.

US national parks are managed to look like frontier days (p9), but humans changed the landscape and species, tens of thousands of years before, with fire and hunting.

Scotia Sanctuary is 640 km2 northeast of Melbourne, Australia, and includes two 40 km2 fenced areas protecting native marsupials. 6 years of effort to clear to a silmacrum of 1770 (p11).

The Yellowstone Model Romantic authors likr Emerson and Thoreau conflated natural with pastoral. Walden pond was 2.5 km from Concord, along a railroad line that Thoreau walked "every day or two" to town. Suburban Thoreau inspired naturalist John Muir (p21), who helped establish Yosemite.

RambunctiousGarden (last edited 2016-06-01 09:05:54 by KeithLofstrom)