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Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds
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This may be hard to believe but it is very likely that more people live in closer proximity to more wild animals, birds and trees in the eastern United States today than anywhere on the planet at any time in history. For nature lovers, this should be wonderful news — unless, perhaps, you are one of more than 4,000 drivers who will hit a deer today, your child's soccer field is carpeted with goose droppings, coyotes are killing your pets, the neighbor's cat has turned your bird feeder into a fast-food outlet, wild turkeys have eaten your newly-planted seed corn, beavers have flooded your driveway, or bears are looting your garbage cans. For 400 years, explorers, traders, and settlers plundered North American wildlife and forests in an escalating rampage that culminated in the late 19th century's "era of extermination." By 1900, populations of many wild animals and birds had been reduced to isolated remnants or threatened with extinction, and worry mounted that we were running out of trees. Then, in the 20th century, an incredible turnaround took place. Conservationists outlawed commercial hunting, created wildlife sanctuaries, transplanted isolated species to restored habitats and imposed regulations on hunters and trappers. Over decades, they slowly nursed many wild populations back to health. But after the Second World War something happened that conservationists hadn't foreseen: sprawl. People moved first into suburbs on urban edges, and then kept moving out across a landscape once occupied by family farms. By 2000, a majority of Americans lived in neither cities nor country but in that vast in-between. Much of sprawl has plenty of trees and its human residents offer up more and better amenities than many wild creatures can find in the wild: plenty of food, water, hiding places, and protection from predators with guns. The result is a mix of people and wildlife that should be an animal-lover's dream-come-true but often turns into a sprawl-dweller's nightmare.Nature Wars offers an eye-opening look at how Americans lost touch with the natural landscape, spending 90 percent of their time indoors where nature arrives via television, films and digital screens in which wild creatures often behave like people or cuddly pets. All the while our well-meaning efforts to protect animals allowed wild populations to burgeon out of control, causing damage costing billions, degrading ecosystems, and touching off disputes that polarized communities, setting neighbor against neighbor. Deeply researched, eloquently written, counterintuitive and often humorous Nature Wars will be the definitive book on how we created this unintended mess.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
11/13/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307985668
ASIN:
B008IUBA44
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APA Citation (style guide)

Jim Sterba. (2012). Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds. Crown.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Jim Sterba. 2012. Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards Into Battlegrounds. Crown.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Jim Sterba, Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards Into Battlegrounds. Crown, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Jim Sterba. Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards Into Battlegrounds. Crown, 2012. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: JIM STERBA has been a foreign correspondent and national affairs reporter for more than four decades for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. He is the author of Frankie's Place: A Love Story, about summers in Maine with his wife, the author Frances FitzGerald.
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title
Nature Wars
fullDescription

This may be hard to believe but it is very likely that more people live in closer proximity to more wild animals, birds and trees in the eastern United States today than anywhere on the planet at any time in history. For nature lovers, this should be wonderful news — unless, perhaps, you are one of more than 4,000 drivers who will hit a deer today, your child's soccer field is carpeted with goose droppings, coyotes are killing your pets, the neighbor's cat has turned your bird feeder into a fast-food outlet, wild turkeys have eaten your newly-planted seed corn, beavers have flooded your driveway, or bears are looting your garbage cans.

For 400 years, explorers, traders, and settlers plundered North American wildlife and forests in an escalating rampage that culminated in the late 19th century's "era of extermination." By 1900, populations of many wild animals and birds had been reduced to isolated remnants or threatened with extinction, and worry mounted that we were running out of trees. Then, in the 20th century, an incredible turnaround took place. Conservationists outlawed commercial hunting, created wildlife sanctuaries, transplanted isolated species to restored habitats and imposed regulations on hunters and trappers. Over decades, they slowly nursed many wild populations back to health.

But after the Second World War something happened that conservationists hadn't foreseen: sprawl. People moved first into suburbs on urban edges, and then kept moving out across a landscape once occupied by family farms. By 2000, a majority of Americans lived in neither cities nor country but in that vast in-between. Much of sprawl has plenty of trees and its human residents offer up more and better amenities than many wild creatures can find in the wild: plenty of food, water, hiding places, and protection from predators with guns. The result is a mix of people and wildlife that should be an animal-lover's dream-come-true but often turns into a sprawl-dweller's nightmare.
Nature Wars offers an eye-opening look at how Americans lost touch with the natural landscape, spending 90 percent of their time indoors where nature arrives via television, films and digital screens in which wild creatures often behave like people or cuddly pets. All the while our well-meaning efforts to protect animals allowed wild populations to burgeon out of control, causing damage costing billions, degrading ecosystems, and touching off disputes that polarized communities, setting neighbor against neighbor. Deeply researched, eloquently written, counterintuitive and often humorous Nature Wars will be the definitive book on how we created this unintended mess.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Chicago Tribune
      • content: "The facts about wildlife resurgence that Sterba present in his mind-bending dispatch from the new world of "people-wildlife conflicts" are startling and staggering."
      • premium: False
      • source: Chicago Tribune
      • content: "Smart and provocative...Nature Wars is a counterintuitive take on a social problem, and the tone is knowing and smart, not sarcastic or snide."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist, starred review
      • content: "This is an excellent introduction to a “problem” that is often one of human perception."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus, starred review
      • content: "Jim Sterba employs humor and an eye for the absurd to document the sometimes bizarre conflicts that arise as a consequence of America's transformed relationship with nature...  An eye-opening take on how romantic sentimentalism about nature can have destructive consequences."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content: "Sterba provocatively and persuasively argues that just at the moment when humankind has distanced itself irrevocably from nature, its behavior patterns have put people in conflict with a natural world that they don’t know how to deal with...A valuable counternarrative to the mainstream view of nature-human interaction."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        July 23, 2012
        In his latest, journalist Sterba (Frankie’s Place: A Love Story) provocatively and persuasively argues that just at the moment when humankind has distanced itself irrevocably from nature, its behavior patterns have put people in conflict with a natural world that they don’t know how to deal with. Dividing his work into three parts (“Forest People,” “Wild Beasts,” and “The Denatured Life”), Sterba boldly argues against the prevailing touchy-feely view of nature. Replete with statistics and a historical understanding of the cycles of humankind’s interaction with nature, Sterba tells of forests being cleared and animals hunted to extinction (until the conservation movement stepped in to curtail the damage), and people, already disconnected from the land, sprawled out into new artificial living arrangements that allowed “nuisance” animals to thrive. The deer, beavers, and brown bears that appear in exurbanites’ backyards have dire consequences for the ecological balance and our daily existence. Sterba takes aim at those who protest hunting as a means of population control, movies that anthropomorphize animals into harmless creatures, and Americans who no longer understand nature. Though Sterba can be self-righteous, the book presents a valuable counternarrative to the mainstream view of nature-human interaction.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from October 1, 2012
        Journalist Sterba (Frankie's Place: A Love Story, 2003, etc.) employs humor and an eye for the absurd to document the sometimes bizarre conflicts that arise as a consequence of America's transformed relationship with nature. As forest cover has grown back to more than two-thirds of its pre-colonial extent, wildlife recovery from the "so-called era of extermination in the last half of the nineteenth century" has accelerated. People who grew up with teddy bears and Disney's Bambi have different attitudes to furry, cuddly creatures than their grandparents did. Nowadays, someone can get death threats while trying to protect communities from resurgent populations of dangerous wild creatures like coyotes and bears, or even from the activities of feral cats. Sterba provides a summary history of the wilderness colonists found, the replacement of the great eastern forest with farmland and the market-driven extermination of wildlife through commercial hunting and trapping. He continues with cases studies of beaver, deer, bear and geese to show how, as land has reverted to forest, human communities have been polarized by the development of "problems" with each of these species and others. The author presents a repeating pattern: At first, returners are welcomed and encouraged with food, only to be rejected as the dangerous downside begins to emerge. Detailed accounts of efforts to outline solutions, and also of such often-overlooked consequences of this pattern as roadkill, supplement this deeply conflicted overall picture. An eye-opening take on how romantic sentimentalism about nature can have destructive consequences.

        COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from October 15, 2012
        Sterba tells the story of, as he puts it, how we turned a wildlife comeback miracle into a mess. The eastern third of the U.S. hosts the majority of Americans and is also the home of a burgeoning population of animals that have adjusted to life near and among humans. This sharing of the landscape has been fueled by three factors: the vast regrowth of forests as farms were abandoned during the Industrial Revolution, the return of decimated and now protected wildlife to the land, and the exurban sprawl created when people moved out of the cities and deeper into the countryside. Dividing his text into three portions, Sterba examines how the clash between suburbanite and animal came about. The first part covers the history of deforestation, farming, reforestation, and the post-WWII movement into the suburbs. The resurgence of wildlife after near-extermination during the settling and taming of the East fills the second portion. Perhaps the most thought-provoking section discusses how Americans have become removed from the realities of wild animals and of working the land, equating nature with bird-feeding and food with the supermarket. This is an excellent introduction to a problem that is often one of human perception.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription

This may be hard to believe but it is very likely that more people live in closer proximity to more wild animals, birds and trees in the eastern United States today than anywhere on the planet at any time in history. For nature lovers, this should be wonderful news -- unless, perhaps, you are one of more than 4,000 drivers who will hit a deer today, your child's soccer field is carpeted with goose droppings, coyotes are killing your pets, the neighbor's cat has turned your bird feeder into a fast-food outlet, wild turkeys have eaten your newly-planted seed corn, beavers have flooded your driveway, or bears are looting your garbage cans.

For 400 years, explorers, traders, and settlers plundered North American wildlife and forests in an escalating rampage that culminated in the late 19th century's "era of extermination." By 1900, populations of many wild animals and birds had been reduced to isolated remnants or threatened with extinction, and worry mounted that we were...

sortTitle
Nature Wars The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds
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The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds
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Crown