Cover: Wild by Design: The Rise of Ecological Restoration, from Harvard University PressCover: Wild by Design in HARDCOVER

Wild by Design

The Rise of Ecological Restoration

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Product Details


$39.95 • £31.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674979420

Publication Date: 05/17/2022


336 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

40 photos, 2 illus.


A comprehensive history of the practice of ‘ecological restoration,’ or human assistance in recovering a damaged world. Martin both eschews blanket optimism and refuses to fall victim to doomsday cynicism around climate change. By examining the precedents for restorative ecology, she illuminates how the development of the field influences contemporary practices, and how ghosts from the historical record haunt our ecological future… Its historical contributions alone…mark Wild by Design as a major achievement.—Celeste Pepitone-Nahas, Ancillary Review of Books

Explores fundamental questions at the intersection of the sciences and humanities… A century of well-intended environmental management has been sullied by pseudoscience, racism, greed, and shocking blunders. Martin’s erudite perspective on these complexities shines throughout her incisive first book… Aldo Leopold, a pioneering restoration ecologist, wrote in 1938 that ‘the oldest task in human history [is] to live on a piece of land without spoiling it.’ As Laura Martin’s astute book illuminates, that task has never been more urgent.—Julie Dunlap, Washington Independent Review of Books

Can we repair the ecological damage that we’ve done? As Laura Martin observes, no question today could be more pressing, or more uncertain. Wild by Design is a fascinating book—far-reaching, deeply researched, and probing.—Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future

This is a superb book. Laura Martin’s research takes us where no restoration literature has gone before, asking, ‘Who gets to decide where and how wildlife management occurs?’ Martin tackles this question with unmatched clarity and insight, illuminating the crucial discussions we must have to secure a future with thriving natural species and spaces.—Peter Kareiva, President and CEO, Aquarium of the Pacific

A brilliant intervention in the history of conservation that charts changes in ecological understanding of how landscapes rebound from disaster. In following the roots of restoration ecology, Martin explores how naturalness can be cultivated rather than found, providing us with seeds of hope in an age of climate despair.—Erika Lorraine Milam, author of Creatures of Cain: The Hunt for Human Nature in Cold War America

What does it mean to care for a wild species? In this provocative and fascinating book, Laura Martin grapples with this question by examining the boundaries of human intervention and wildness. As we face a rapidly changing planet, Martin’s clear-sighted, intelligent analysis offers hope that by recognizing the complex history of restoration, we can make way for its promising future.—Nancy Langston, author of Climate Ghosts

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