Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Sep 6, 2011 - Nature - 224 pages
“Remarkable . . . Emma Marris explores a paradox that is increasingly vexing the science of ecology, namely that the only way to have a pristine wilderness is to manage it intensively.” -The Wall Street Journal

A paradigm shift is roiling the environmental world. For decades people have unquestioningly accepted the idea that our goal is to preserve nature in its pristine, pre-human state. But many scientists have come to see this as an outdated dream that thwarts bold new plans to save the environment and prevents us from having a fuller relationship with nature. Humans have changed the landscapes they inhabit since prehistory, and climate change means even the remotest places now bear the fingerprints of humanity. Emma Marris argues convincingly that it is time to look forward and create the "rambunctious garden," a hybrid of wild nature and human management.

In this optimistic book, readers meet leading scientists and environmentalists and visit imaginary Edens, designer ecosystems, and Pleistocene parks. Marris describes innovative conservation approaches, including rewilding, assisted migration, and the embrace of so-called novel ecosystems.

Rambunctious Garden is short on gloom and long on interesting theories and fascinating narratives, all of which bring home the idea that we must give up our romantic notions of pristine wilderness and replace them with the concept of a global, half-wild rambunctious garden planet, tended by us.

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User Review  - PennyMck - LibraryThing

A well-written, thought-provoking book about the value of nature, what we mean by pristine wilderness, and human intervention. "If we fight to preserve only things that look like pristine wilderness ... Read full review



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About the author (2011)

Emma Marris is an environmental writer who grew up in Seattle, Washington. She has written for the world's foremost science journal, Nature, on ecology, conservation Biology and other topics. She gave a TED talk that urges us to reconsider what we define as nature, and her articles have also appeared in Wired, the Christian Science Monitor, and Conservation. She currently lives in Columbia, Missouri, with her husband and daughter.

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