Will Wiles at Literary Review:
Flyn isn’t interested so much in what we’ve done to nature as in how it bounces back. ‘What draws my attention’, she writes, ‘is not the afterglow of pristine nature as it disappears over the horizon, but the narrow band of brightening sky that might indicate a fresh dawn of a new wild as, across the world, ever more land falls into abandonment.’ More of the world being abandoned – is that right? We assume that as our numbers increase, so we claim more territory from the wild. But in fact our activity is increasingly concentrated in smaller areas and, in the developed world at least, we are leaving more land to its own devices.
Europe has been steadily reforesting for decades, and will continue to do so. The trend has been even more remarkable in the former Soviet Union, where there has been an abandonment of unviable state agriculture and a flight to the cities.