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.