Nature Wars

Nature Wars

The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards Into Battlegrounds

Paperback - 2012
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For four hundred years, explorers, traders, and settlers plundered North American wildlife in an escalating rampage, but in the twentieth century an incredible turnaround took place. Conservationists created wildlife sanctuaries, restored habitats, and imposed regulations on hunters and trappers. Over decades, they nursed many wild populations back to health.

Then, after World War II, something happened that conservationists hadn't foreseen: sprawl. People moved into suburbs, and then kept moving outward. All the while, well-meaning efforts to protect animals allowed wild populations to burgeon out of control, causing damage costing billions, degrading ecosystems, and touching off disputes that polarized communities. The result is a mix of people and wildlife that should be an animal-lover's dream, but often turns into a sprawl-dweller's nightmare.

Deeply researched, eloquently written, and perceptively humorous, Nature Wars expresses the need for organic reconnection with our natural ecosystem by offering a provocative look at how Americans created an inadvertent mess.

Publisher: New York : Crown, c2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780307341976
0307341976
9780307341969
0307341968
9780307985668
0307985660
Characteristics: xxiv, 343 p. ; 25 cm.

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t
tfcameron
Nov 03, 2014

I read this book because I am very interested in wildlife issues that are present on Gabriola and other places that I have lived. I started with chapters titled sequentially: The Elegant Ungulate, Lawn Carp, and Gobblers. The text details the: the history of deer primarily in eastern USA, resident Canada geese, and turkeys in the urban/suburban interface.
The book discusses how and why they have become "problems" and some of the solutions that have been tried. Even though I am an ecologist some of the exposition was a revelation, especially the history of these species in the early post-colonial period.
Jim Sterba isn’t a scientist and this probably makes for a clearer more journalistic book that is willing to looking critically at phenomenon like; pets as family, animal rights, and social media in wildlife management and the Nature Wars.
I am not a pet person but I was totally fascinated by his history of cats as pets. This was a preamble to the chapter Feral Felines which discusses the TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) concept/movement for dealing with the issue of “wild” cats. If you are not open to considering the quote that “TNR is a symptom of the gross ecological illiteracy that blights this nation. It’s cruel to cats and dangerous to people and wildlife.”, then this probably is not the book for you.
The book is so well-written and contemporary that I continued to read the remainder if the book as I was interested in his take on feeding birds, beaver, forest issues.
The 25 page epilogue is much more than a summary as it is used to fill in some of the blanks in the text and even present new topics. There is the curious suggestion that wild venison could just be what locavores are looking for, “free-range, grass-fed, organic, locally produced and harvested, sustainable…… meat”. tfc

l
ladxcore
Aug 20, 2013

I found this book badly researched, written, and edited. In talking about pre-colonial North America, the author makes broad generalizations about "Indians", without differentiating between First Nations groups. I found this offensively lazy. This is an interesting topic, but poorly done.

Malonesd May 08, 2013

The historical perspective clearly presents the conflicts between men and wildlife populations. Solutions tried and potential solutions are offered in a non-judgemental, informative and compassionate style.

sparkleshansz Apr 28, 2013

This book was very well researched but done in a very interesting format of writing. I would highly recommend it.

Saanich Mar 30, 2013

Living in an are where the deer population is exploding, I found this very interesting, especially the historical context.

Jane60201 Dec 26, 2012

I loved the first part of the book about the history of American reforestation after the initial colonial period. However, I found the sections on "backyard battlegrounds" sort of tedious as this subject has been well reported in the press.

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