September 20, 2007

Book Review - Restoring...

Sustainable use and restoration are two major themes in environmental writing today. These three studies address the reasons why restoration is needed, what might be gained, and evaluate how this might be accomplished in the context of different regions and climates.

Restoring Natural Capital: Science, Business and Practice
Edited by James Aronson, Suzanne J. Milton, and James N. Blignaut
QH 541.15 .R47 2007

A Guide for Desert and Dryland Restoration: New Hope for Arid Lands
David Bainbridge
QH 88 .B35 2007

Restoring Colorado River Ecosystems: A Troubled Sense of Immensity
Robert W. Adler
QH 104 .C6 A35 2007

Each of these books takes a different approach to the topic of restoration. Aronson, Milton and Blignaut's edited collection of essays begins with the notion that the environment has intrinsic value. Contributing essays examine how this value is determined, maintained, and marketed. It looks at restoration efforts in a variety of climate conditions, focusing on the politics at local, national, and global levels to gain buy-in on environmental projects. Interwoven through many essays is also the idea that environmental programs will be supported and seen as successful if their "value" is used to generate revenue in some way.

Bainbridge and Adler's works each focus on a particular type of environment, desert and river respectively. These authors take a practical approach to addressing and restoring healthy, sustainable conditions in these arenas. They look at the problem, defining the end result that restoring these areas is seeking. The heart of both studies is identifying methods that might be used during the restoration process and analyzing their relative merits. The two studies conclude that the desired condition is increasing, but sustainable use. Monitoring, legal protection, and strategic thinking and planning are required once this point is reached.