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Entries in Steven Apfelbaum (1)


Restoration Ecology in Nature's Second Chance: Book Review for

Natures Second Chance, Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm by Steven I. Apfelbaum, Beacon Press

Urban dwellers, far removed from arable land, are pleased that food is relatively affordable. Many of us are also proud that we grow enough food to feed the world. That this efficient food chain abuses the earth concerns too few people. When we are informed that this process is clearly unfriendly to nature, we cannot imagine why anyone would choose to turn back the clock on successful agricultural history.

 The author of this book leads us to reconsider our position on this subject by describing the toll that agro processing exacts from the earth. In doing so, he politely sets the stage for a controversial debate.

So much time and space has been devoted by the media to the deterioration of our environment. We are continuously being reminded about global warming, pollution, the need to find alternate renewable sources of energy and the importance of securing reliable sources of potable water. Yet, very little attention is paid to the importance of restoring land abused by agricultural overuse, mining, forestry and landfills. The author reminds us that we are the original stewards of our planet and that it is our responsibility to pass on this earth to subsequent generations in good stead.

 Steven Apfelbaum is an ecologist and educator. His specialty is natural resource conservation which is an ecological restorative process of nurturing wild plants and animal communities back to health. Restoration is, in essence, the act of putting back into the land what has been taken out of it. This book documents his personal experience in restoring overworked farmland.

 Reading about his successful land restoration, it becomes clear that there is sheer delight to be found in recreating a natural preserve. The sense of accomplishment that he derives from his work is also shared by his family and admirers. The goal of this dedicated ecologist is not only to inspire others to restore parts of their own land but also to see restored patches of reclaimed land interconnected across the mid western U.S.A. in order to create a vast stretch of a renewed ecosystem.

 There is nothing ostensibly controversial in writing about one’s passion. Indeed, advocating the restoration of abused farmland is an admirable endeavor. And yet, this sincere desire to heal parts of our planet is a reminder that we have deliberately chosen to abuse too many portions of it in order to efficiently feed the world. How powerful is the written word that a noble conviction, by its mere publication, can become a veiled but valid critique of an essential part of our food chain. So, no matter what you may have read to the contrary, reading a book still remains a thrilling mind expanding, experience.