Our Once and Future Planet: Restoring the World in the Climate Change Century

Published by:
University of Chicago Press (2013)
MICHAEL VINEY author of Ireland: A Smithsonian Natural History
"In framing a new contract with nature, restoration ecology is evolving, diverse and often fraught with human tensions. On American prairies, in South African bush, on the peatlands of Ireland, it must wrestle with shifting cultural, political and economic mores. With his wide and robust reportage and analysis, Paddy Woodworth gives a superb overview of how this great new ambition is working out on the ground."

DANIEL JANZEN University of Pennsylvania
"Outstanding: Paddy Woodworth has opened a broad and major window to the world of ecosystem restoration and its restoration biologists, for those of us who do it, know it, and the public who needs it. He does this by actually taking the time to meet the practitioners, users and evaluators of restoration projects and their aftermaths, and cast a reporter’s unjaundiced commentary about them. Woodworth understands, documents, and dissects the mandatory integration of the restoration project with its users, its producers and its likely future fate. He does this not by counting how many species of birds or trees are present or absent, but through unveiling the normal synergies - and antagonisms - that exist among any array of humans focused on a particular 'solution' to a biologically destructive assault on the wild world. The single largest problem with restoration, and Woodworth knows and portrays this problem very well, is persuading some significant portion of society to stop the assault that generated the need for restoration, let nature take possession again of the site and its processes, and stimulate the next generation to allow the continuity of that non-human possession. Sure, this is the world through Woodworth’s glasses, but that is what writing is all about ... marvelous prose."

STEPHEN D. HOPPER former CEO and chief scientist, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
"This is a great piece of investigative journalism, based on extensive research in many countries, on a topic vital to the future of people and biodiversity on earth. Paddy Woodworth has captured the spirit and detail of contemporary ecological restoration, its strengths, weaknesses, controversies, and especially its message of hope. I would commend this book to all interested in the challenge of devising new ways of sustainably living with biodiversity in a rapidly changing world."

BRUCE PAVLIK head of restoration ecology, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
"Restoration ecology is a new science and a new human endeavour. Everyone can agree on the importance of its mission: to understand ecosystems well enough to heal wounds inflicted by a flawed but well-meaning species (us). But not everyone agrees on how this can best be done. In this book Paddy Woodworth beautifully describes the earliest successes and failures, the fundamental arguments of theory and practice, of what may be the most important discipline on earth - reconciling people to nature through positive and thoughtful interaction. Only a journalist could navigate the technical arguments, the philosophical contradictions, the strong personalities and the political polarities that now define and affect restoration ecology. He may well be a Herodotus chronicling the birth of a hopeful new world."

ANDREW BALMFORD author of Wild Hope: On the front lines of conservation success
"From ultralight pilots teaching young whooping cranes how to migrate the length of a continent through to ecologists using truckloads of waste orange pulp to reinstate tropical dry forest, Woodworth takes us on a global tour of efforts to heal what Aldo Leopold termed our world of wounds. An informative, balanced, and ultimately uplifting dissection of the promise, the politics and the prospects of ecological restoration."
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Our Once and Future Planet: Restoring the World in the Climate Change Century by Paddy Woodworth