Magazine article American Forests

The Sunflower Forest; Ecological Restoration and the New Communion with Nature

Magazine article American Forests

The Sunflower Forest; Ecological Restoration and the New Communion with Nature

Article excerpt

The Sunflower Forest; Ecological Restoration and the New Communion with Nature by William R. Jordan III. $27.50. The University of California Press, 2003.

William Jordan's book is a provocative essay based on more than 20 years of "reflections, reading, and conversations on the act of ecological restoration." He is unequivocal in asserting that restoration is quite distinct from either management or preservation, even "stewardship,"-practices that attempt to. restore or protect only selected qualities of a natural system. Restoration, he explains, is a deliberate attempt to return "the whole system to a former condition," such that it functions like the original system.

Jordan's understanding of ecological restoration is complex and deeply philosophical. He challenges the basic premises of environmentalism, from traditional land management to wilderness preservation and "mechanistic ecology," judging them as "thin and sentimental." His critique of environmentalism examines the philosophical foundations of its heroes-from Emerson and Thoreau to Pinchot, Muir, and Leopold-and finds them inadequate, not just on philosophical grounds but on their failures to significantly change society's values and behavior toward natural systems. …

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