For you: An Essential Reading List

Balter, M. (2014, January 28). What killed the great beasts of North America? [Web log]. In Science AAAS. Retrieved from http://news.sciencemag.org/archaeology/2014/01/wh…

A major component of rewilding is the “overkill hypothesis” that implies that the extinction of Paleolithic species, like the giant sloth, was due to human activity.  We either chased animals out as we began to settle and thrive on new land or hunted them until their were none left.  That is why some view rewilding as a sort of repaying our debt to nature for the harm we have caused.  However, this article presents scientific evidence that humans may not be the sole cause of the extinction of megafauna.  In fact, there is some evidence that points to climate and environmental changes.  This could lead to the conclusion that some animals were just no longer fit to live in that area.  Besides a challenge to motivations for rewilding, this also questions the actions of reintroducing large, keystone species.  It is known that at one time hippos lived in what is modern day Trafalgar Square.  The hippos that we know today livid in dry, sunny climates which is not at all like England.  This article begs the question, “what does it mean for the animals that we are trying to relocate who haven’t lived in that habitat for many generations?”

Bicknell, P. (2013, June 3). Idea of reiwilding Britain ignores economic impact [Web log]. In Staff blogs. Retrieved from National Farmers Union; http://www.nfuonline.com/news/staff-blogs/idea-of…

The main group to raise concerns about rewilding are the rural famers that will be most directly affected by it.  This article gives insight to a side of the debate that is not normally heard.  An issue with rewilding is deciding what lands will be chosen for the animal introduction and the most likely candidates are next to farmlands.  This is a major safety concern for farmers, their families, and their domesticated animals.  In addition, this article argues that instead of choosing lands so close to the population, the lands should instead be given to the farmers to boost up the economy.  So then it becomes an issue of prioritizing safety and livelihoods of humans or the rebuilding of once lost ecosystems.

Dell’Amore, C. (2015). Feral cities: How animals are going urban like never before. National Geographic. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/150421-urban-wildlife-animals-science-cities-coyotes/

In this interview by Christine Dell’Amore, she comments on the increase in sightings of animals in urban environments.  She sat down with Tristan Donovan, author of Feral Cities: Adventures with Animals in the Urban Jungle to talk about his research on these instances.  With a little bit of wit and a little bit of charm, she explores Donovan’s purpose for writing such a story and with what methods he used to discover his information.

Donovan, T. (2015). Feral cities: Adventures with animals in the urban jungle. Chicago: Chicago Review Press Incorporated.

Most people believe humans and nature to be separate, especially while living in a city.  In Feral Cities, Donovan attempts to paint that way of thinking as myth.  From New York to Mumbai and cities in between, Donovan explores animals, ranging from coyotes to cockroaches, who have decided begun to move to urban centers.  He reasoned that, among other reasons for migrating, these animals are in search of food or are being forced to move due to global warming.  Although, interaction with wildlife is sometimes viewed as dangerous, Donovan believes that this gives us hope that our cities are not lifeless centers, and paints a hopeful picture for the future.

Earthwatch Institute. (Earthwatch). (2014, October 24). Earthwatch debate: Rewilding in the UK. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWVCwYFhHq0

This debate hosted by Earthwatch discussed whether or not rewilding was a viable option for environmental conservation in the UK.  The panel included scientists, environmentalists, as well as farmers.  This is a good account for both sides of the discussion because while there is observable evidence of rewilding’s success, it is an aggressive tactic that leads to concern from rural farmers who will be most immediately affected.

Farquhar, B. (2011, June 21). Wolf reintroduction changes ecosystem. Retrieved from Yellowstone National Park; http://www.yellowstonepark.com/2011/06/wolf-reint…

The wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park is one of the most cited rewilding projects because of it’s success, not only with managing the deer population that had grown out of control, but also because of the effect that the wolves had on the physical geography of the land.  This relates back to trophic cascades that George Monbiot talks about on the TED stage.  After being gone for almost 70 years, the changes to the park that the wolves brought were tangible.  The deer started to stay out of certain areas of the park where they were more likely to be hunted which allowed for the forest to grow back which brought back all sorts of other species to create a thriving ecosystem. It is really quite an amazing example.

Foreman, D. (2004). Rewilding North America: A vision for conservation in the 21st century. Washington, DC: Island Press.

In his book, Dave Foreman uses scientific evidence to support the idea that we are witnessing mass extinctions for a number of different species at alarming rates, and humans are the cause of it.  However, it is not all gloom and doom, because he offers a hopeful solution to this crisis – a term that he, himself coined, rewilding.  This book describes strategies to implement rewilding as a conservation effort that can be used as both an informational resource as well as an instructional guide.

Glover, J. (2014). Rewilding a city: The Vancouver example. [weblog post]. Retrieved from http://thiscitylife.tumblr.com/post/80581023186/rewilding-a-city-the-vancouver-example

This is a blog run by Jillian Glover who describes herself as “a government communications advisor, urbanist, [and] freelance writer.”  This post illustrates the drastic changes that Vancouver has undergone in such a short span of time and how those working to undo this alterations are bringing awareness to the public.  It has a rather hopeful tone, that through educating people about past transgressions against nature, we can prevent further damage and work to repair for the future.

Ha, T. (2013, June 11). For more wonder, rewild the world: George Monbiot at TEDGlobal 2013. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://blog.ted.com/for-more-wonder-rewild-the-wo…

When I think of rewilding, I think of George Monbiot. In my opinion, he has become the champion of this cause because, when he decided to dedicate his life to rewilding, it was not just a personal decision to act on his own.  Rather, he decided to get the word out to as many people as possible.  It was while listening to his TED Talk that I first heard about rewilding and decided that this was a topic worth investigating. He speaks about how ecosystems are connected by trophic cascades. Simply put, it is the fact that everything is connected such that if one element is missing, a domino effect occurs where the rest of the ecosystem is knocked out of balance. However, with rewilding, this can become a positive effect. Keystone species are the regulators for an environment and it is through their reintroduction that the trophic cascades restore balance and allow ecosystems to thrive. He explains how this has been instrumental in rehabilitating the environment in Yellowstone National Park. Monbiot’s work has ignited my interest in the conservation effort of rewilding.

Ikin, K., Le Roux, D. S., Rayner, L., Villasenor, N. R., Eyels, K., Gibbons, P., . . . Lindenmayer, D. B. (2015). Key lessons for achieving biodiveristy-sensitive cities and towns. Ecological Management and Restoration, Vol. 16 Issue 3, p206-214. 9p. doi: 10.1111/emr.12180

In this scholarly article, a study was completed to discern what elements were needed to achieve biodiversity in urban areas.  It was reported that the most important discovery made was that humans in urban areas not only affect the animals living in these zones, but those in surrounding lands as well.  In addition to working to rehabilitate ecosystems around cities, it was proposed to increase the amount of “greenspaces” offered in urban environments to increase biodiversity.  More of these greenspaces encourage certain animals to inhabit them.  The key to this is of course utilizing landscaping skills to limited interaction with and promote safety for humans.  The last stage of the research conducted for this experiment emphasized the importance of educating the public about biodiversity and conservation.

Monbiot, G. (2014). Feral: Rewilding the land, the sea, and human life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

George Monbiot is a man who has decided to dedicate much of his life’s work to rewilding.  In his book, he shares his own eye witness accounts of its effectiveness.  His is a call to non-action.  Monbiot’s rewilding is us, as humans, taking a collective step back and let nature take its course.  So much of environmentalism and conservation is about taking proactive steps to defend against damage and extinction when really, he says, humans’ over involvement is what got us into this mess in the first place.

Navarro, L. M., & Pereira H. M. (2012). Rewilding abandoned landscapes in Europe. Ecosystems, 15, 900-912. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10021-012-9558-7

It has been highlighted that farming practices of previous generations, significantly altered landscapes and decreased animals natural habitats.  With more modern practices and urbanization, many of these farmlands are being abandoned.  This article serves as a proposal to policy-makers to utilize these lands, especially in remote areas, for rewilding projects.  This article exposes the reality of traditional farming practices, that they were not environmentally friendly and highlights the potential benefits of rewilding conservation in these ecosystems.  There is hope that in reversing what has been done in the past, ecosystems may be restored.

Soule, M. & Noss, R. (1998) Rewilding and biodiversity: complementary goals for continental conservation. In Wild earth (22). Retrieved from the Wildlands Project; http://academic.evergreen.edu/curricular/MES/rewi…

Taking Dave Foreman’s definition of rewilding and expanding upon it to created the understanding that is widely accepted today.  Michael Soule and Reed Noss’ rewilding includes the 3 C’s: core’s, corridors, and carnivores (p. 22).  This is the idea that an ecosystem’s ability to thrive is dependent on certain species’ (or keynote species’) population.  Their article, published in Wild Earth was the foundation for The Rewilding Institute – an organization dedicated to rewilding North America.

Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. (2015). Rewilding Vancouver: From sustaining to flourishing. Retrieved from http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/enviromental-education-stewardship-action-plan.pdf

Rewilding Vancouver is a formal plan for the Vancouver Parks and Recreation Board to use to rewild their city.  As evident in Glover’s blog post, the wheels are already turning and change is beginning to happen as more of the public becomes aware of these issues.  The most important aspect of this proposal is the three part action plan outlined that consists of: 1. Designating special wild places in the city 2. Incorporating nature into everyday life 3. Creating a system that is effective in leading and maintaining these rewilded areas.  Stressing the importance of education, this plan is detailed in what its goals are and its strategies in achieving them.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s