Rewilding North America Essay
Rewilding North America
Nature has been restricted in a “closed” system since humans have settled in America and created a world for themselves. Many animals have gone extinct or lost their homes as a result of humans paving roads for travel, destroying forests to build houses, and much more. Animals have started to go extinct because they have been restricted in what they can eat or where they can live due to human behavior. Humans don’t understand the importance of having nature connected rather than having nature broken into several areas. In the passage, ” Rewilding North America” by Caroline Fraser, Fraser discusses many solutions on how to save the wildlife and help humans live with an “open” nature system. Fraser shows a research conducted on a wolf, Pluie, and how much wildlife it needed in order to survive.
It also supported the idea that highways and many human made transportation services have gotten in the way of an animal’s life. Although humans are a big reason in changing the way an animal lives, the way the world is forming also has an effect on how an animal can survive. As time went on, biologists delineated conservation efforts in order to build “corridors” to save wildlife from extinction. These efforts have been going on for decades, but there’s still no answer on how to connect nature with humans. However Pluie, umbrella species, and equilibrium are examples that exemplify humans have to connect with nature using an “open” system in order to prevent animal extinction and help build a better ecosystem for animals and humans to live in together.
Pluie, a wolf, is a great example of how corridors are needed in order for an animal to survive with humans and abstain from extinction. Pluie, ” provided key evidence substantiating the theories on which rewilding is based. Pluie helped move it from a collection of hypotheses to a specific set of recommendations (Fraser 111).” In other words, Pluie grabbed the attention of biologists to advocate that corridors are essential to saving wildlife. Rewilding is not just a theory, but also a need for animals to survive and must be addressed to humans as a serious matter. Furthermore, corridors must be understood by humans because corridors play such a huge role in saving animals from extinction.
However, there is no one answer in order to save wildlife, but this would save a myriad of species from extinction. Although corridors would help save wildlife, it would not completely save it because part of the reason why extinction is happening is because ecosystems are being isolated. For example, an island is isolated from mainland which makes it harder for species to survive. Therefore, less species would survive on that island, which leads to extinction. Pluie had to use wilderness corridors to travel from one area to another in order to catch prey. Pluie, geographically, needed more land than what was given in National Parks in order to move around. Furthermore, this shows that national parks aren’t big enough for animals because they need a linkage between many different landscapes. A national park is just not vast enough.
These highways were getting in the middle of Pluie’s travels and have made it much more difficult to travel from one core area to another. Although nothing can be done about the highways in between land, there is a solution in connecting one land to another: having highways as overpasses to core areas and corridors as mentioned by Caroline Fraser. Many animals could be saved from extinction if lands across nations are connected, but this wouldn’t, in whole, save animals from extinction. It’s important for humans though, to understand that corridors are needed for animals to survive because they need to travel from one area to another just like humans do.
In order for humans to understand that corridors are needed, they need to think of animals the way they think of themselves. . For example, for one human to keep connectivity with a relative or friend that lives across the country, he must either drive or take a plane to get there. The roads and highways connect the east to west, which is what animals need in order to maintain that connectivity. This understanding would help build a bridge of connectivity between humans and nature, which would create a better ecosystem.
The “umbrella species” will help determine the way we connect with nature, and this theory was also demonstrated by Pluie. If we save enough land, many species could be saved because it would help create connectivity between species. Corridors would help connect different landscapes, which would protect many animals under that umbrella. Pluie supports this because Pluie ” was shot dead (Fraser 112).” Had corridors been built and highways weren’t in the way of corridors, then Pluie would still be alive today because he would’ve used the corridor and avoided highways.
However, nature can also play a huge role as to why animals are endangered. Islands, a major factor as to why animals are going extinct, are a reason why there are fewer species in this world than before. The smaller the land, the smaller the species there are . Thus relating that distance and area are important in preserving animal extinction. In islands there is less diversity which means less interactions between animals which means no connectivity. Metaphorically, an island is related to a national park such that an island is a ” closed” system just like a national park. These “closed systems” not only prevent animals from interacting with nature, but also humans interacting with nature. Also, in natural parks there is less diversity like in islands, which is bad for the ecosystem and nature in whole.
The theory is shaped ” as an explanation of how natural forces act to control the number of species populating a given area (Fraser 113).” If a national park is so small, then it would contain a less amount of species just like an island, which is why national parks aren’t big enough. Destroying parks and creating connectivity between a variety of different landscapes for animals could lead to bigger change. Moreover, these smaller species will be able to expand which in essence shows that an “open” system is essential. Humans need to be knowledgeable of how important it is for animals to live in an open system because animals are endangered and humans are a huge cause of it.
The Equilibrium theory, based on area and distance, further provides evidence that humans need to connect with nature in order to prevent animal extinction. The equilibrium theory is based on the idea that ” the smaller the island and the more distant from other places, the fewer species it supports (Fraser 114).” The further islands are from connected land, the longer it takes for equilibrium to occur. All the islands that either expanded or were connected to main land would have a quick equilibrium recovery. Biologists took examples from this theory, and applied it to the national parks that are being isolated from actual wildlife.
Fraser states, ” the more island like it is- the more likely it will exhibit the characteristics of an island (115). ” Therefore, in order to make it less island like, there either needs to be more land in national parks, or humans
need to interact better with animals and make space for them. One metaphor that greatly explains the importance of having a connected land rather than a divided land is used by Quammen, ” What do you get when you take a beautiful Persian carpet, he asked, and cut it into thirty-six pieces? Thirty-six separate carpets? Or thirty-six worthless, fraying scarps? Substitute ecosystems for carpet, he suggested, and you begin to see the problem (Fraser 115).
“This not only shows that humans are ignorant in knowing how nature needs to be connected, and what we are doing to destroy the way animals survive, but also conveys that the wilderness is useless when it’s disconnected by roads, highways, houses, and etc. Nature is vast and humans have dug a hole which makes it that much harder to conserve wildlife and to save animals from extinction. By using the equilibrium theory to open land for animals, this would coerce humans to live with animals in an “open” and natural system. Although these solutions seem easy to fix the way humans can interact with nature, these solutions must go through very hard and complicated processes. One debate that complicates this process is “single large or several small”. Is saving one large land, which preserves more species, better than saving several small lands. This big debate seems meaningless in terms of doing either in order to save animals from being extinct.
Animal extinction can be controlled, but not prevented. Pluie, the equilibrium theory, and the umbrella species are great examples of why humans need to interact and create an intimate connection with nature in order to conserve wildlife. Although these solutions can’t solve the wildlife dilemma in whole, it can help make this world a better place for humans and animals together. Islands are great examples of why animals need a connected land rather than a fragmented one to survive and connect with each other. Islands are so isolated from the mainland, just like national parks are which can be devastating for animals. This hurts the way animals survive and connect with one another because there are less species which could disrupt many things such as natural selection, a means of surviving.
Another idea that is mentioned is that the bigger the land is the more species there are. Therefore, it’s essential that the land connectivity is large, unlike national parks, because the more space animals have the better it is for them to interact with another. Humans have a problem with understanding the fact that the way nature works isn’t so different from the way humans interact with one another. Like humans, animals need huge space to travel, and move from one area to another. Humans are ignorant in understanding this and this has caused a huge dilemma which makes it that much harder to solve the issue. Nature is just one of many problems that humans must solve in order to be more knowledgeable in how everything in the real world works. There’s much more humans need to know about nature, and there’s no real answer to the way humans can interact with nature. Works Cited
Fraser, Caroline. “Rewilding North America.” The New Humanities Reader. By Richard E. Miller and Kurt Spellmeyer. 4th ed. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2005. 110-27. Print.