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Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm (2018)

af Isabella Tree

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
228790,292 (4.56)17
Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp in West Sussex was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made a spectacular leap of faith: they decided to step back and let nature take over. Thanks to the introduction of free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs and deer - proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain - the 3,500 acre project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife numbers and diversity in little over a decade. Once-common species, including turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons, lesser spotted woodpeckers and purple emperor butterflies, are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of other species are rocketing. The Burrells' degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again, heaving with life - all by itself. This recovery has taken place against a backdrop of catastrophic loss elsewhere. According to the 2016 'State of Nature' report, the UK is ranked 29th in the world for biodiversity loss: 56% of species in the UK are in decline and 15% are threatened with extinction. We are living in a desert, compared with our gloriously wild past.In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the 'Knepp experiment' and what it reveals of the ways in which we might regain that wilder, richer country. It shows how rewilding works across Europe; that it has multiple benefits for the land; that it can generate economic activity and employment; how it can benefit both nature and us - and that all of this can happen astonishingly quickly. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.… (mere)
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Straight up wildlife pr0n for me. Isabella Tree certainly has a view of what a wild UK should look like—less forested than I've thought—but which is compellingly argued.

I was surprised how uncomfortable I felt at the idea of starvation culling a herd and the carcasses being left out. The lack of "land bridges" sounds like starvation is too harsh, but it does happen in "wild" Africa too. Maybe too much city in me.

Pasture-fed meat sounds like a delicious way to avoid vegetarianism. Charcuterie pony. Mmmm
1 stem thenumeraltwo | Jun 9, 2021 |
At a smaller scale than Oostvaardersplassen, Knepp stirs wonder and frustration in me. Ditto the book. The tone of superiority and privilege is irritating, but bushwack through it with your head down, and nature manages to find its way through.
Mostly. (The chapter about pasture-fed meat is boringly blinkered, but without wolves and lynx, and with the gun in their place, we're stuck with this nonsense for now.)
Where the book really wins is in the actual observations, and in the honesty about funding, research, public taste and distaste about the brutality of nature - hence the shooting at Knepp, Oostvaardersplassen, Rum etc -, public vandalism, and the absence of altruism within the farming and landowning community.
A beautiful read, a painful read, and a book to keep for reference after reading it - it's good that it's been written. ( )
  emmakendon | Aug 25, 2020 |
A frustrating, hopeful, inspiring, angry, depressing and subtly life-changing book. ( )
  arewenotben | Jul 31, 2020 |
Their land at Knepp in West Sussex had been farmed by them and the family before, for years, but it had reached the point where the farm had become unviable as a business. Not sure what to do with the land, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made that decision to let nature take over again. Fences were taken up and they selected some hardy breeds of pigs, Exmoor ponies and cattle to wander freely around the 3500 acres site.

Wildlife under the modern capitalist economies is taking an absolute pounding. A recent report says that we have lost 60% of our global wildlife and figures in the UK show this too; we are ranked 29th in the world for biodiversity loss: 56% of species are in decline and 15% are threatened with extinction. The species that we used to regularly see and hear are no longer around; when did you last hear a cuckoo?

Locals objected to several elements of what they were doing, ragwort was a particular issue with some people, but slowly the recovery began on their land. Species that had plummeted in the weald, begun to return. They were finding that they were suddenly one of the top sites in the country for creatures like purple emperor butterflies and turtle doves. With an abundance of invertebrates come predators and this rippled up until they realised that they peregrine falcons back. In fact, there were several species that had appeared that were not fitting in the niche that would normally be expected.

This inspirational book shows what can be achieved in just a decade, how we can regain a wilder country. Ensuring that we put things in place to support the natural world will make the world and our own lives a richer place. We can make some attempt to reverse the devastating trend even after a decade and whilst farms might not be able to implement all of what they have done, even some of these will have a marked improvement to our natural world. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
one of my favorites in a long time. awesome. Fun to learn more about creatures and history of England.
Highly recommended. ( )
  splinfo | Feb 13, 2020 |
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Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp in West Sussex was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made a spectacular leap of faith: they decided to step back and let nature take over. Thanks to the introduction of free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs and deer - proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain - the 3,500 acre project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife numbers and diversity in little over a decade. Once-common species, including turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons, lesser spotted woodpeckers and purple emperor butterflies, are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of other species are rocketing. The Burrells' degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again, heaving with life - all by itself. This recovery has taken place against a backdrop of catastrophic loss elsewhere. According to the 2016 'State of Nature' report, the UK is ranked 29th in the world for biodiversity loss: 56% of species in the UK are in decline and 15% are threatened with extinction. We are living in a desert, compared with our gloriously wild past.In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the 'Knepp experiment' and what it reveals of the ways in which we might regain that wilder, richer country. It shows how rewilding works across Europe; that it has multiple benefits for the land; that it can generate economic activity and employment; how it can benefit both nature and us - and that all of this can happen astonishingly quickly. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.

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