Restoration, community, and wilderness

Jordan III, W.R., 2000, Restoration, community, and wilderness, in: Gobster, P.H. & R. B. Hull, ‘Restoring nature’, Island Press, Washington

  • Author : Jordan III, W.R.
  • Year : 2000
  • Published in Book : Restoring nature
  • Pages : 23-36
  • Abstract in English : When the history of environmentalism in the twenties century is written, perhaps the most striking fact about it, will be its neglect of the practice of ecological restoration. At the bottom perhaps is an assumption of a deep metaphysical distinction between nature. The author questions the nature-culture dichotomy upon which much of our environmental history and philosophy is built, and offers the practice restoration as a way of re-establishing a relationship between humans and nature. He argues that restoration provides a unique way for humans to re-wild the landscape, in turn creating positive natural value. Wilderness is the unknown. It owes little or nothing to humans and is perhaps dangerous to them. Wilderness is always a frontier that advances as human knowledge and understanding progress. In fact, the commonplace idea of wilderness is really a somewhat bowdlerized (censored) idea of nature, entertained by people who have ensured themselves considerable freedom from the conditions of real wilderness. The wild landscape we idealize as environmentalists is really a relatively comfortable wilderness, and this perhaps compromises its value in a psychological and spiritual sense much more than the fact that it may have been to some extent restored and turned back to the wild. For real wilderness, we will always have to go out to the frontier, into the truly uncharted country…. Restoration is perhaps one way to resolve the contradiction between community and wilderness- not by keeping them apart but by revealing the wildness at the heart of both.
  • Comments/Notes : KEYWORDS: ecological restoration, community, wilderness.