expresses and explores through the attempt to imitatennature. Thirdly, from a purely technical point of view,nrestoration is essentially a form of agriculture. It draws fromnall the branches of agriculture to accomplish the task ofngardening in the wild.nRestorationists frequendy resist this last identification,nfeeling that what they do is quite different from traditionalnforms of gardening and farming — and of course they arenright. Whereas agriculture manipulates nature analytically,narbitrarily, and for gain, restoration manipulates it constructively,nfor its own sake, and on its own terms. But it is still,ntechnically, agriculture — or you could say agriculture innreverse: it seeks to reconstruct the complexity of whatntraditional forms of agriculture have taken apart and simplified.nWe know we can take an ecosystem such as a prairie apartnfor our own benefit. Farming is in fact the beginning of anreal relationship with the prairie. But it is only the beginning.nTo be complete, the relationship must be reciprocal,nand that means that we must become as adept at putting thenprairie back together as we are at taking it apart. Once wencan do this — the restorationist’s work — something marvelousnhappens. Agriculture ceases to be mere exploitation andnbecomes the beginning of a dialogue with the land.nBut there is still another way of looking at restoration.nOne bright fall day I was watching a group of volunteersncollecting seed out on Curtis Prairie, the restored tallgrassnprairie just outside my office window. There were perhapsnsix or eight people out there, moving intently from plant tonplant, gathering seed while they chatted or called to onenanother over the high grass. Watching them I suddenlynrealized that they weren’t farmers at all, but gatherers,nreenacting the behavior of bands of Indians who hadninhabited this area for centuries prior to European settlementna century and a half ago. That afternoon I realizednthat restoration is more than participation in the ecology ofnthe landscape. It can also be seen as reenactment—a way ofnexploring history.nExploring history can be done on at least two differentntime scales—or what Paul Shepard has called octaves ofntime. The first of these is the high-frequency octave ofnconventional history, the span of human experience andnrecord. The restorationist explores and in a sense experiencesnthis more immediate history simply by attempting tonreverse its effects on a given area. If, as happened here innWisconsin, European settlement led to the suppression ofnwildfire, with various consequences for the vegetation, thenrestorationist reintroduces fire. This not only helps thenlandscape recover its historic condition, but becornes andeliberate act that dramatizes this feature of our relationshipnwith the landscape.nAt the same time, an octave lower, restoration provides anmeans of exploring the deeper levels of human relationshipsnwith nature through reenactment of the experience of thenhunter-gatherer, the gardener or farmer, and finally thenscientist. In this way, the restorationist explores and reexperiencesnall the phases of cultural evolution and their characteristicnways of interacHng with the land.nRestoration turns out to be exactly what environmentalistsnhave been looking for. It is a way of exploring, defining,nand ultimately celebrating our relationship with the naturalnor historic landscape, and of constantly redefining it as thenrelationship changes.nLet me conclude by summarizing where I think all thisnleaves us. Restoration — the deliberate attempt to reassemblenecological communities, or to heal natural landscapesnaffected by human activities — is a novel and in somenways peculiar activity. Environmentalism has generally beennwary of it, but its criticism has concentrated on the productn(the restored area) rather than on restoration as a process,nmuch less a ritual or symbolic and expressive act. For thisnreason, environmentalism, even while proclaim ng its attemptnto define the terms of a healthy relationship betweennhuman beings and the wild, has failed to recognize the act ofnrestoration as the key to that relationship.nTo some extent this reflects the tendency of modernnenvironmentalism to regard human beings as fundamentallynand irredeemably separated from nature and to definennature in negative terms, as everything in the world that isnneither human nor influenced by human beings. (For annextreme and unhappy example of this sort of thinking andnwhere it leads, see William McKibben’s recent book. ThenEnd of Nature, which is a virtual antithesis of everything Inam trying to say here.)nBut there is something else going on as well. Thenproblem of man’s relationship with nature can only bensolved through ritual. Only through ritual can we reach backnto bridge, if not actually to close, the gap between humannculture and human experience and the nonhuman experiencenof nature.nThe problern here dates from the beginning of thenmodern era, when the West not only began to institutionalizenscience, taking another great step into abstraction andnaway from close ties with the natural world, but alsonunderwent a religious revolution, one essential feature ofnwhich was the systematic devaluing of symbolic and ritualnforms of experience. Most of us in the West today live in thenworld created by those two revolutions in thought—a worldnthat is more widely separated from nature than ever beforenin a purely technical and intellectual sense, and one that,nthrough its diminished sense of the efficacy of ritual, hasndeprived itself of the principal means of coping with thenpsychological and moral consequences of that separation.nHere lies the great value of restoration — where restorationncan be the key to conservation and ultimately to ourncontinuing inhabitation of this planet. I say this not becausenI see restoration as a way of putting ecosystems backntogether once we have destroyed them, and certainly notnbecause I see restoration as a substitute for or even annalternative to environmental preservation. Restoration doesnnot replace preservation, it surrounds it, providing a relationshipnbetween the landscape to be preserved and ourselves.nNor is it, except in extreme cases, merely an emergencynmeasure. It is rather a model for what we must do at allntimes to acknowledge and to compensate for our inevitableninfluence on the ecosystems that surround us, that weninhabit and, willy nilly, influence.nIn short, I am not talking about restoration merely as antechnology, but as a significant, expressive act. I see in thenhealing act of restoration not a technical solution tonenvironmental problems, but a paradigm for a mutuallynnnAUGUST 1990/21n