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Beyond Preservation

Beyond Preservation: Restoring and Inventing Landscapes

Copyright Date: 1994
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 288
  • Book Info
    Beyond Preservation
    Book Description:

    “Bold theses promote controversy: this book is sure to find itself at the center of a philosophical firestorm. Are restoration ecologists ‘Lord Man’ reincarnate? Or are they imaginative visionaries in quest of a Leopoldian rapprochement with the land? The essays herein challenge readers to sharpen their thinking and reconsider their place in a complex ecosocial terrain.” --Max Oelschlaeger “The best book on the subject to date.” --Michael Polan, Harper’s Contributors include Gary W. Barrett, Ann Cline, David L. Gorchov, William Jordan III, G. Stanley Kane, Jack Temple Kirby, Dora G. Lodwick, Orie L. Loucks, Kimberly E. Medley, Constance Pierce, Ellen Price, Frederick Turner, John E. Wierwille, and Gene E. Willeke.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8548-6
    Subjects: Environmental Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
    A. Dwight Baldwin Jr., Judith de Luce and Carl Pletsch

    • Introduction: Ecological Preservation versus Restoration and Invention
      (pp. 3-16)

      In the past several decades interest in the fate of the natural environment has caused a proliferation of associations, professional journals, popular magazines, and successful books. People around the world have been galvanized by concerns about pollution, environmental degradation, and resource depletion. Scholars in nearly every field have turned their attention to the problems of the environment. In addition, ecology has come of age as an academic discipline attempting to synthesize knowledge from many other, more specialized, areas.

      Intellectual positions and programs have also proliferated. From Bill McKibben’s widely published announcement ofThe End of Nature(1989), according to which...

    • “Sunflower Forest”: Ecological Restoration as the Basis for a New Environmental Paradigm
      (pp. 17-34)
      William R. Jordan III

      I first encountered the writing of Fred Turner, my partner in this dialogue, in the summer of 1985, when I read his essay “Cultivating the American Garden” in the August issue ofHarper’s Magazine.The essay made a profound impression on me, and since then Fred’s thinking has contributed immeasurably to my own work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, and in particular to my thinking about the process of ecological restoration and its implications for the environment and for our relationship with nature.

      Briefly, what Fred was suggesting was that the act of gardening offers a model for a...

    • The Invented Landscape
      (pp. 35-66)
      Frederick Turner

      Four main currents of thought can be detected within the ecology movement at the present time: the conservationist, the preservationist, the restorationist, and what might be called the inventionist. The first two are very familiar, the third less so, and the fourth is so unrecognized that it does not have a fixed name — perhaps this book will help to give it one.

      Conservation sees nature as a vast resource, physical and spiritual, that must be wisely husbanded so that it may continue to yield a rich harvest for human beings. Preservation sees nature as of intrinsic value, the greater for...


    • Restoration or Preservation? Reflections on a Clash of Environmental Philosophies
      (pp. 69-84)
      G. Stanley Kane

      Ours is an era in which there is little left of nature that has not been extensively altered by the activities of human beings. Among proposed remedies are preservation, setting aside areas that still remain undisturbed and protecting them against human encroachment, and restoration, bringing degraded areas back to an unspoiled condition. On first thought one might suppose that preservationists and restorationists would make natural allies, but even a cursory reading of the relevant literature shows that all is not harmony and peace between the two groups. The writings of William Jordan and Frederick Turner, for example, include some surprisingly...

    • Humans Assert Sovereignty over Nature
      (pp. 85-89)
      Carl Pletsch

      One place to locate the ideas of ecological restoration and invention is in the tradition of political theory. Strict adherence to a policy of preserving nature from human dominion represents an assertion of nature’s independence. Landscape restoration and invention, however, seem to entail the extension of human sovereignty over nature.

      The theory of popular sovereignty is only three hundred years old, but it has become one of the greatidées reçuesof our time. In the seventeenth century God was the ultimate source of all power, and kings ruled by “divine right.” Popular sovereignty was put forward in seventeenth-century England...

    • Landscape Restoration: More than Ritual and Gardening
      (pp. 90-96)
      Gene E. Willeke

      Commenting on the essays by William Jordan and Frederick Turner that open this volume presents significant difficulties. Jordan’s assumptions about what environmentalists are and what they think are more like a straw man than a real portrayal. He seems to equate environmentalists and preservationists, and considers preservation impossible. Although some environmentalists are strict preservationists, their numbers are few. Moreover, even the preservationists have no illusions about the pristine character of land that has been set aside as wilderness. Human influence is widely acknowledged, and when a tract of land is set aside as wilderness, it normally must meet criteria that...

    • Changing Worldviews and Landscape Restoration
      (pp. 97-110)
      Dora G. Lodwick

      Landscape restoration is an idea “whose time has come” only if supported by a broad set of beliefs and values about how people relate to nature. Americans have struggled to define this relationship since the end of the nineteenth century, as it became apparent that the “vast frontier” of nature would eventually be filled unless something were done to protect it. Perceptions about human relationships to nature have varied depending on the social class and racial-group characteristics of individuals and depending on the nature of the dominant worldview of particular historical periods. Therefore, placing Frederick Turner and William Jordan’s call...


    • Restoration Ecology: Lessons Yet to Be Learned
      (pp. 113-126)
      Gary W. Barrett

      Restoration ecology is a paradigm that emerged during the decade of the 1980s (Aber and Jordan 1985; Jordan et al. 1987; Jordan, “ ‘Sunflower Forest’: Ecological Restoration as the Basis for a New Environmental Paradigm,” this volume). Barrett (1989, 1992) noted that restoration ecology is one of several paradigms (e.g., landscape ecology, conservation biology, and agroecosystcm ecology) in the area of applied ecology (Barrett 1984) that attempt to wed ecological theory with practical application. Restoration ecology is especially appealing to a broad array of scientists, resource managers, politicians, and humanitarians because the title implies a utopian goal of having the...

    • Art and Insight in Remnant Native Ecosystems
      (pp. 127-135)
      Orie L. Loucks

      Like many others, I have sought out museums and art galleries housing the originals of well-known paintings or sculptures. Whether in Greece or China or France, viewing such works remains a clear and vivid memory for me, when much else from those visits is blurred or forgotten. In this essay I will argue that seeing and comprehending unique remnants of native ecosystems is a learning experience about a unique art form, and one to be cherished. Thus, in contrast to arguments made by William Jordan and Frederick Turner, the highest priority must be attached to preserving the species and ecosystems...

    • Natural Forest Management of Tropical Rain Forests: What Will Be the “Nature” of the Managed Forest?
      (pp. 136-153)
      David L. Gorchov

      In recent years the mass media have joined biologists in decrying the loss of tropical rain forests (TRFs). The value of these forests and the costs of deforestation are now well known. Tropical rain forests contain at least half of the world’s plant and animal species. Many environmentalists argue that each species has intrinsic value and the right to exist, though few declare that all species are of equal value — despite Frederick Turner’s claim that this extreme position is a principle of the “ecological religion” (see Turner, “The Invented Landscape,” this volume). But even with the human-centered approach that Turner...

    • Identifying a Strategy for Forest Restoration in the Tana River National Primate Reserve, Kenya
      (pp. 154-167)
      Kimberly E. Medley

      Ecology and environmentalism are different. Environmentalists maintain a set of ideals as to how humans should sustain their link with nature, and ecologists have through successive studies sought to understand the mechanisms by which nature operates. Creativity in ecology is achieved through the questions that are asked, but the discipline remains conservative in its approach toward interpreting research results. By critically synthesizing the results from nearly one hundred years of ecological research, it is understandable why skepticism arises concerning the ability of humans to restore or invent ecosystems (e.g., McIntosh 1985). Despite the arguments of Frederick Turner and William Jordan...

    • Remaking and Restoring the Landscape of Dare County, North Carolina
      (pp. 168-180)
      John E. Wierwille

      From the Virginia capes, the North Carolina coast sweeps south in a series of graceful arcs. The outermost area is the preeminent feature of this shoreline: a thin ribbon of sand separated from the mainland by two large, shallow embayments, the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds (see fig. 1). Its physical components arc called barrier islands because they buffer the highenergy waves and storm surges of the Atlantic, thereby protecting the mainland (Dolan and Lins 1987). The role these islands play in providing habitat is equally significant. The backsides of North Carolina’s barrier islands are lined by tidal marshes. Here, an...

    • Rehabilitation of Land Stripped for Coal in Ohio—Reclamation, Restoration, or Creation?
      (pp. 181-192)
      A. Dwight Baldwin Jr.

      Surface mining of mineral resources across the United States has left a legacy of highly disturbed landscapes, many of which are sources of aesthetic, physical, and chemical contamination. Through the impetus of both state and federal legislation, however, much has been learned about the steps necessary to reclaim such land for productive use and to minimize environmental degradation. It should be emphasized that few if any mining companies would claim that they restore the landscape to conditions that existed prior to mining; true restoration would be impossible given our limited knowledge of the finer workings of ecosystem dynamics. In addition,...


    • Concrete Beasts/Plaster Gardens
      (pp. 195-204)
      Ellen Price

      “He tells me that he likes to think of his camera as a gun. When a young man, he both painted and hunted and given great intuition, a form of Zen, his pheasant came to meet his shot. But now he approaches the dead brace of birds and he asks: What is their existence?” Thus, Julien Levy, in the preface to a book of drawings by Henri Carticr Bresson, describes the photographer who at seventy years of age “decided to put down his camera and take up drawing again. As a photographer, he had lived by hunting and gathering, and...

    • In the Beginning: Creation, Restoration, and Turner’s Genesis
      (pp. 205-215)
      Judith de Luce

      The United Nations has sent “Chance” Van Riebeck and a team of scientists to survey Mars, but instead of following those orders, they begin the process of terraforming the planet. This requires warming Mars, rendering its lethal atmosphere innocuous, and populating its barren surface with living organisms.

      At first glance, Chance and his team appear to be part of a project that has recently found its way into the popular and scholarly presses and which aims to make Mars habitable for humans (Broad 1991; McKay et al. 1991). They are, in fact, actors in Frederick Turner’s 1988 epic poemGenesis,...

    • The Little Hut on the Prairie: The Ritual Uses of Restoration
      (pp. 216-225)
      Ann Cline

      Notwithstanding the avalanche of print to which this volume adds its slight bit, the modern professional and academic often stands “tonguetied” before the spiritual dimensions of his or her world. The modern hope has always been that with a few more studies, with the right projects, with another experiment, we might stand in some kind of permanent favor with the destiny of nature, our own destiny assured. To this end, ritual has seemed an irrelevant or frivolous part of our prepositivist past.

      William Jordan’s proposed prairie restoration ritual and Frederick Turner’s observation that ecology has become a modern theism position...

    • The Poetics and Politics of Prairie Restoration
      (pp. 226-233)
      Constance Pierce

      What do restorations restore to us? Certainly not the past. And yet that is their enthusiastic promise: to restock the present with the physical and even biological evidence of the past, and to maintain convincing settings that invite us to reinhabit various phases of a largely unproblematic history.

      That is to say that restorations, especially public restorations, are at once an enrichment and a theft. It’s true that restorations give us something unusual that we would not otherwise have. But what is restored is never something that we’ve lost, so much as something we’ve imagined that we’ve lost, and imagined...

    • Gardening with J. Crew: The Political Economy of Restoration Ecology
      (pp. 234-240)
      Jack Temple Kirby

      Checking his property from the seat of a three-wheeled sport cycle during a deep December freeze, a Butler County, Ohio, farmer spotted something that had escaped his notice before. In a thicket near a ravine, buried to its hubs in frozen mud and entangled with defoliated vines, was a derelict tractor —a McCormick-Deering “15-30” from the mid-1920s. Red-brown with rust, its lower extremities melded with gray clay, the contraption shone with beauty in the farmer’s eyes.

      At the next thaw, the farmer and his son drove their powerful 1985 Ford tractor (which cost more than $35,000) to the thicket, locked...


    • Sunflower Seeds
      (pp. 243-250)
      William R. Jordan III

      In my essay “ ‘Sunflower Forest’: Ecological Restoration as the Basis for a New Environmental Paradigm,” at the beginning of this book, I outlined what I had the temerity to call a new paradigm for the relationship between human cultures and the rest of nature. The essential elements of that paradigm are:

      That human beings, like all other species, are inextricably linked with ecosystems everywhere, and that they interact with and influence these systems even when they are very remote.

      That no ecosystem can be fully protected from this influence, and that for this reason the conservation of any ecosystem...

    • The Invented Landscape (Reprise)
      (pp. 251-259)
      Frederick Turner

      This volume has become an exemplary case study in the effects of paradigm change in the academy. The experience for one of the “target authors” is uniquely flattering, a little like the episode inThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer,if I recall it correctly, when Tom achieves the widely held fantasy of witnessing his own funeral and hearing what everyone has to say. As a revenant, then, it is incumbent on one not to be too much of an anticlimax, while avoiding actions that might bring the townsfolk out with a stake to do the job properly this time.


  9. Conclusion: Constructing a New Ecological Paradigm
    (pp. 260-266)
    A. Dwight Baldwin Jr., Judith de Luce and Carl Pletsch

    Large and innovative ideas are often known first by the opposition they provoke rather than the enthusiasm they generate. This may be true of ecological restoration and invention. William R. Jordan III and Frederick Turner argue that merely preserving what is left untouched of nature will neither rescue nature nor secure a future for humanity on earth. The philosophy (or theology) of preservation, in their view, actually inhibits us by preventing us from responding effectively to the ecological crisis we now face. They contend that we must assume responsibility for nature. At the very least we should be restoring portions...

  10. Contributors
    (pp. 267-272)
  11. Index
    (pp. 273-280)