Dr. Judith Samson-French
An inspiring photograph… of exploitation and restoration
This photo of wild horses at peace in a brutally harvested forest stunned me.
Clear-cutting means fragmentation, degradation and destruction of habitat. The ecological harmony, which reigned prior to logging, vanishes for at least 3 generations. Human generations.
Beyond the disappearance of most flora and fauna, the ensuing spraying of herbicides and systematic planting of monocultures ensure that cut blocks remain ecologically poor for a long, long time.
The multi-use mission for the Alberta’s Eastern Slopes rhymes with destruction, and guarantees the continuation of impoverished ecosystems without diversity and increasingly vulnerable. It is also congruent with abandoning the idea of trying to maintain a landscape that will NEVER be the way it was again as long as we live.
As such, we should listen to what nature is telling us: let go of the idea of managing our land back to its pristine state WHILE simultaneously destroying it. Most species have deserted clear-cut areas, but despite all odds wild horses are calling them home.
The elk are not coming back and the cows are on their way out.
While some see wild horses as an invasive species, others see hope. Extraction companies, government agencies and hunting groups are doing their best to convince us that only more human interference can mitigate the current shameless exploitation of nature. In effect, they are trying to tell us that they can make things only slightly less bad. Not better.
And then they wonder why we massively fail to be inspired by their vision.
The sight of wild horses in the cutblock gives me hope.
The Wildies are a symbol of rewilding our previously splendid and ecologically diverse ecosystems systematically devastated in one short generation.
It makes me feel lucky to be in a place where there are others who wish to set things right, and proud to live in a time when we are also capable, in our best moments, of higher hope and healing.
I see wild horses in devastated forests as a powerful force to create a better world. They bring forth a new dynamic state as we say farewell to magnificent landscapes no longer exclusively created by nature.
And that is the answer as to why I put two Wildies looking ahead to the future as my new wall photo. Thank you for asking.
Duane Starr Photography – gratitude.