Novel Ecosystems: Not So Novel Anymore



So interesting how landscape follows (or leads) what is going on in society. Everywhere we have the almost impossible fight against novelty, against regionalism or whatever you want to call it when you wish the towns along the highway do not all have Starbucks, McDonald’s, etc.

Originally posted on The Dirt:

Few of the world’s ecosystems have been left untouched by humans. While we can restore many ecosystems damaged by people to their historic function, some may be beyond repair and have become “novel ecosystems.” According to experts at the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) conference in Madison, Wisconsin, some 36 percent of the globe’s ecosystems are now novel, meaning that more are now novel than wild. Some goods news though: the maximum extent of novelty, around 50 percent, was reached around 100 years ago. The percentage of novel ecosystems has actually gone down with more intensive agricultural practices that take up less land.

Novel Ecosystems and Shifting Values

Ecologist Eric Higgs, University of Victoria, put novel systems in a broader context. Walking through Southern Vancouver Island, he has seen many invasive species from elsewhere, but has been puzzled about what to do. There’s a limited amount of energy for pulling…

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Wendell Berry on the “industrial eater”


“The industrial eater is, in fact, one who does not know that eating is an agricultural act, who no longer knows or imagines the connections between eating and the land, and who is therefore necessarily passive and uncritical… We still (sometimes) remember that we cannot be free if our minds and voices are controlled by someone else. But we have neglected to understand that we cannot be free if our food and its sources are controlled by someone else. The condition of the passive consumer of food is not a democratic condition. One reason to eat responsibly is to live free.” – Wendell Berry