On New Nature’s Readings or How privets feed Possums


You are reading the latest book by Tim Low, New Nature, the follow up to Feral Future which you discussed before on this forum.
This latest effort from the biologist focus on a re-interpretation of what “nature” is, in it Low breaks down the artificially construct which is wilderness and what it means to us humans or more to the point, what it means our understanding of wilderness to the very habitants of the environments.

‘We are imprisoned by a paradox, wilderness is supposed to be the one environment we let alone and don’t manipulate. But manipulate we must!’

Lots of the book is pure gold, extensively researched and cross referenced arguments, backed up by statements from experts like David Cole, a wilderness biologist:

“all wilderness ecosystems would be artificial constructs to some extent, conscious reconstructions of what humans think is ‘natural'”

New nature from there then launches in a detailed account of various instances where native flora and fauna adapt and , indeed, exploit the changes humans did to the Australian ecosystem.
You witnessed such a modern relationship from your very backyard, were ringtail possums show their level of adaptability by augmenting their winter diet with Privet's leaves (Ligustrum Lucidum).
The list of native animals exploiting man-made environments is amazingly extensive, like Flying Foxes (fruit bats) which form enourmous camps within Botanical Gardens in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, but none in surrounding national parks, or the incredible erray of migratory birds found in flodded mine shafts, but you'll leave this list to when you finished the book.
possum tall

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