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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Repairing the Wounds

Aldo Leopold was a founder of modern ecology and environmental thought.

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Sunday, March 24, 2013/Categories: sustainability, environment

Aldo Leopold was one of the founders of modern ecology and environmental thought. He famously commented in his eloquent essay collection,  A Sand County Almanac , that "to be an ecologist is to live in a world of wounds." Sadly, we do live in world of too many wounds but Leopold should have added that it was also possible to make repairs using knowledge and action.

The Global Restoration Network was initiated by the Society for Ecological Restoration to provide:

"hard-to-find information on all aspects of environmental restoration, from historic ecosystems and causes of degradation, to in-depth case studies and proven restoration methods and techniques. The mission of the network is to link restoration research, projects, and practitioners to share experience, vision, and expertise."

The network's case studies are especially insightful. One from the Jardin Botanico las Orquideas (garden of orchids) in Ecuador shows what is possible. In 1980 an Ecuadorian accountant and his wife purchased 17 acres of formerly diverse rain forest that become a degraded cattle pasture. For 10 years they maintained a vision of restoring a healthy rain forest. Working alone by trial and error and without involvement from universities, non-profit organizations, or government agencies they have now the results to showcase.

Their 'before & after' photos illustrate the potential of ecological restoration.

Degraded Cattle Ranch, Puyo, Ecuador, before (credit: CRN)

Restored Rainforest, Puyo, Ecuador, after (credit: CRN)

Tropical rainforest have an advantage of plentiful rainfall if the land degradation is not extreme but terrestrial and marine environments everywhere have the potential to be restored. With conscious thought and dedicated action anyone can begin to repair the environmental "wounds" around them. As the Ecuadorian project advises: "If we return to the earth all that we have extracted from it, nature won't punish us." 

Tell us about your restoration project!




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