An Irish Atlantic Rainforest: book review

EarthQuaker Issue 97

An Irish Atlantic Rainforest.
A Personal Journey into the Magic of Rewilding, by Eoghan Daltun

This book is both an inspiring story of rewilding and a salutary call for urgent action, or rather inaction, to save our planet from the consequences of human activities over the last few hundred years.

In the book the author (Eoghan Daltun) tells how he purchased a farm on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork, which was part of a temperate rainforest. At the time of his purchase, the land was an ecological desert wrecked by severe overgrazing and various invasive alien plant species, particularly rhododendron. Over the years, he has rewilded most of the land and restored the rainforest as much as possible, with a consequent explosion of biodiversity and the return of many native species of plants, birds and animals.

Intertwined with the story of the farm is a passionate and convincing exposition of the key environmental challenges facing us today, and principally the urgent need to restore all natural ecosystems. Eoghan says “Our planet is only inhabitable for one, sole reason: its wild, natural ecosystems make it so.”

He addresses the fallacy that it is possible to continue to have economic growth in parallel with a healthy planet: “It needs to be clearly understood that all growth inevitably does come at the expense of the living world: the idea that it can somehow be decoupled from environmental destruction is a complete fallacy, cynically used to justify a business-as-usual approach.”

He discusses some of the inadequacies of many attempts at conservation and rewilding and goes on to consider what actually needs to be done in the next few years.

I can recommend this book for anyone concerned about the future of our planet, both to read oneself, and to give away copies to others.

Susanna Riviere