cover image The Future of the Wild: Radical Conservation for a Crowded World

The Future of the Wild: Radical Conservation for a Crowded World

Jonathan S. Adams, . . Beacon, $27.95 (267pp) ISBN 978-0-8070-8510-3

When it comes to protecting the wilderness, national parks, no matter how large, are just not effective: that's the core argument advanced by Adams, a conservation biologist (The Myth of Wild Africa ). Instead of policies that focus scarce economic resources, shrinking political clout and waning emotional energy on scattered wildlife parks and preserves that isolate and often degrade the fauna and flora they're meant to sustain, the author favors a system of "landscape connectivity"—wilderness corridors through which animals as large as bears or as small as field mice (and even seeds and pollen) might migrate between patches of sustainable habitat. Crafting such corridors requires community support, and Adams cites several success stories: across a vast swath of southern Arizona, for example, where cooperative ranchers met with concerned environmentalists about using land more wisely; in California's crowded Orange County, where one maverick scientist is creating safe passageways for pumas; and in the Florida Everglades, where in 1991 the state government and a coalition of environmental organizations bought 60,000 acres of company-owned land, linking two existing preserves to create an expanse of wetlands. Fertile with fresh thinking, this book is an uncommonly eloquent call for urgent but thoughtful action. (Jan.)