Book of the Week: ‘Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution’ by Caroline Fraser

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This week’s book is Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution by Caroline Fraser.

Book Summary: Rewilding the World is an inspiring report from the front lines of the visionary conservation strategy known as rewilding, developed to protect species against the impending wave of human-caused extinctions. The concept of rewilding emerged following the realization that parks and protected zones are actually too fragmented and too small to offer a long-term solution to save species from extinction.

At the heart of rewilding are the “three C’s”: Cores, Corridors, and Carnivores.

Core protected areas enlarge habitat; corridors connect protected wilderness in order to allow migration and other forms of movement to prevent genetic bottlenecks; and carnivores – large predators or “keystone” species – regulate the ecosystem, ensuring stable relationships throughout the food chain.

Why this book is important: Rewilding the World is a call to action – with a blueprint. In great detail, the author covers the successes – and failures – of this visionary approach to conservation. The successes inspire us to leap into the revolution now – to start making a difference. The failures are also key: Mistakes serve as critical learning experiences and cautionary tales. One of the central themes is action. The leaders of the “rewilding revolution” are not choked by the bureaucracy, paperwork, and political bottlenecks that clog “business as usual” conservation methods (which, tragically, no longer seem to be working). Time and again, it is the unprecedented vision of small teams that has led to extraordinary accomplishments, such as Lewa’s Craig family and Area de Conservación Guanacaste ACG’s Dan Janzen. Rewilding the World compels us to answer the call – and join the revolution!

Quotable moment:

The biodiversity crisis, which presents us with dangers as profound and costly as climate change does, demands the creation of an equal and corresponding political will to act. The environment is the economy. No problem – not proverty, not climate changes, not the economic downturn – can be addressed without simultaneously restoring the systems that are life itself.

We must look to what is left of our planet. In rewilding, we have dreamed up the ways and means to keep it alive. Now, we must only connect.

Also notable is Dan Janzen’s decision to raise money for ACG without the help of NGOs:

“These NGOs were largely surviving on the fund-raising message of ‘help us save the tropical rain forest now before it is cut, because once cut, it is gone forever.’ We were told that the donor public was not sufficiently sophisticated to be able to handle both a conservation and a restoration message.”

Undeterred, Janzen set out to publicize his work and raise money without the aid of NGOs, presenting his elaborate, colorful stories about tropical species and their complex interactions. Later he would say, “I was told that it’s too complicated and a lot of people won’t understand it. Bullshit. They can understand it perfectly well.”

Where to purchase ‘Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution’

You can purchase Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution online at Amazon.com.

Learn more about ‘Rewilding the World’

To learn more:

Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, an educational nonprofit organization which provides news and information about wildlife crime and endangered species. I am the Editor of Rhino Horn is Not Medicine and Project Pangolin, author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine, a writer for the environmental news blog Planetsave, the host of Behind the Schemes, and Producer for the upcoming documentary The Price. When I'm not blogging about the illegal wildlife trade, I enjoy gardening, reading, designing, and rocking out to live music.

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