Restoring the World in the Climate Change Century

9780226907390John Feehan at Dublin Review of Books:

It is difficult for anybody who looks dispassionately at the statistics that echo our depletion of the Earth’s resources, and illustrate how wounded is the world of nature, not to be profoundly disheartened at times. The human population has increased four-fold over the last hundred years, and doubled in our lifetime, but our use of water resources has grown nine-fold in that time, climate emissions have increased seventeen-fold, overfishing by a multiple of thirty-five. The rainforests that harbour most terrestrial biodiversity have dwindled: Madagascar has lost ninety-three per cent of its forest, ninety-nine per cent of the Atlantic coast forest of Brazil is gone, the island forests of Polynesia and the Caribbean have disappeared altogether. At the current rate of extinction, thirty per cent of species will be gone by 2050.

The growing concern among ecologists about the rate of species extinction, and the urgent need to do something more focused about halting or reversing it, resulted in the formation of the Society for Ecological Restoration in 1987 and the establishment of the journal Restoration Ecology. There is now a flood of scientific papers in this and other publications documenting the theory and practice of our attempts to try to patch a few of the holes in the unravelling fabric of biological and ecological diversity in every quarter of the Earth.

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