Product Code: WCSNWARS
For 400 years, explorers, traders, and settlers harvested North American wildlife and forests in an escalating rampage that culminated in the late 19th century’s “era of extermination.” Deeply researched, eloquently written, counterintuitive and often humorous Nature Wars is the definitive book on how we created this unintended mess.
By 1900, populations of many wild animals and birds had been reduced to isolated remnants or threatened with extinction, and worry mounted that we were running out of trees. Then, in the 20th century, an incredible turnaround took place. Conservationists outlawed commercial hunting, created wildlife sanctuaries, transplanted isolated species to restored habitats and imposed regulations on hunters and trappers. Over decades, they slowly nursed many wild populations back to health. But after the Second World War something happened that conservationists hadn’t foreseen: sprawl. People moved first into suburbs on urban edges, and then kept moving out across a landscape once occupied by family farms. By 2000, a majority of Americans lived in neither cities nor country but in that vast in-between. Much of sprawl has plenty of trees and its human residents offer up more and better amenities than many wild creatures can find in the wild: plenty of food, water, hiding places, and protection from predators with guns. The result is a mix of people and wildlife that should be an animal-lover’s dream-come-true but often turns into a sprawl-dweller’s nightmare.JIM STERBA has been a foreign correspondent and national affairs reporter for more than four decades for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
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