Wilding

Wilding

Isabella Tree Eric Schlosser
4.4/5 (4821 ratings)
For many years Isabella Tree and Charlie Burrell struggled to make a go as farmers, doing everything they could to make the heavy clay soils of their farm at Knepp in West Sussex as productive as possible, while rarely succeeding in making a profit. By 2000, facing bankruptcy, the couple decided they would try something new. They would hand their 3,500 acres, farmed for centuries, even millennia, back to nature. They would let it go wild.

This was no simple matter. What form did the land have before it took on the form that human beings have given it? The answer to that question was controversial and required real, and fascinating, research. And then the land had once been open to whole hosts of animals that had since been prevented from running wild, if not killed off or made extinct. These had been a crucial actor in the landscape and its ecology, and how were they, or their likes, to be reintroduced into it? And finally there were the neighbors, often appalled at the sight of once-tidy fields now running riot with what they considered dangerous weeds.

The experiment however, was a success. With minimal human intervention, and with herds of free-roaming animals stimulating new habitats, Knepp is now full of new life. Rare species such as turtle doves, peregrine falcons, and purple emperor butterflies breed there. The fabled English nightingale, heard less and less in modern times, sings again.

The Knepp project has become a leading light for conservation in the UK, demonstrating how letting nature take its course can revive both the land and wildlife, reversing the cataclysmic declines in biodiversity that challenge Britain and the world. The story of rewilding Knepp points the way to a wilder, richer future—a countryside that benefits farming, nature, and us. Wilding is an inspiring story of hope.
Language
English
Pages
384
Format
Paperback
Publisher
New York Review Books
Release
September 17, 2019
ISBN
1681373718
ISBN 13
9781681373713
For many years Isabella Tree and Charlie Burrell struggled to make a go as farmers, doing everything they could to make the heavy clay soils of their farm at Knepp in West Sussex as productive as possible, while rarely succeeding in making a profit. By 2000, facing bankruptcy, the couple decided they would try something new. They would hand their 3,500 acres, farmed for centuries, even millennia, back to nature. They would let it go wild.

This was no simple matter. What form did the land have before it took on the form that human beings have given it? The answer to that question was controversial and required real, and fascinating, research. And then the land had once been open to whole hosts of animals that had since been prevented from running wild, if not killed off or made extinct. These had been a crucial actor in the landscape and its ecology, and how were they, or their likes, to be reintroduced into it? And finally there were the neighbors, often appalled at the sight of once-tidy fields now running riot with what they considered dangerous weeds.

The experiment however, was a success. With minimal human intervention, and with herds of free-roaming animals stimulating new habitats, Knepp is now full of new life. Rare species such as turtle doves, peregrine falcons, and purple emperor butterflies breed there. The fabled English nightingale, heard less and less in modern times, sings again.

The Knepp project has become a leading light for conservation in the UK, demonstrating how letting nature take its course can revive both the land and wildlife, reversing the cataclysmic declines in biodiversity that challenge Britain and the world. The story of rewilding Knepp points the way to a wilder, richer future—a countryside that benefits farming, nature, and us. Wilding is an inspiring story of hope.
Language
English
Pages
384
Format
Paperback
Publisher
New York Review Books
Release
September 17, 2019
ISBN
1681373718
ISBN 13
9781681373713