“We forget, in a world completely transformed by man, that what we’re looking at is not necessarily the environment wildlife prefer, but the depleted remnant that life is having to cope with.”

Conservation is a strange thing.

We look and see what we believe is not natural, but the balance in which our observations are weighed pins today against yesterday and not the days before yesterday against tomorrow.

This morning I read what could possibly be the most convincing text on conservation I have yet to cross. In her book, Wilding – Returning Nature to Our Farm, Isabella Tree claims that true conservation is missing the mark.

In a conversation with another “wilding” farmer, Tree writes that “closed-canopy woodlands [have] become synonymous with nature.”

But, the problem, she argues, is that “we have forgotten about the megafauna.” In a sense, “we’ve become trapped by our own observations.”

“We forget, in a world completely transformed by man, that what we’re looking at is not necessarily the environment wildlife prefer, but the depleted remnant that life is having to cope with: what it has is not necessarily what it wants.” There are fundamental processes that modernity is yet to account for, namely the great impact grazing herbivores inflicted in both wooded and grassland ecosystems for thousands of years.

For example, in Europe, it is now believed that aurochs, tarpans, elk, the wild horse, and beavers colonized Central and Western European about 2,000 years after the last ice age—or, 12,000 years ago.

Continue reading this article on our blog here.