Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-2

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Introduction. You Can’t Have Your Cake Unless You Eat It, Too

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pp. 3-8

The argument over how we should live in relation to the rural and remote lands of the American West hasn’t changed much in more than a century. John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club and father of the modern environmental movement, said in the late nineteenth century that we should reduce our impact on those...

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1. Pink Panthers and Lost Tribes

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pp. 9-24

In the central Nevada desert, near the tiny almost-ghost town of Mina, lives a couple who are the most effective restorers of ecosystems I have been able to locate in more than twenty years of searching. This man and woman can take land that is as close to biologically dead as land gets, and they can return it to a state of health, vitality, and...

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2. Evidence of Gardeners in Eden

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pp. 25-34

I was having dinner with a couple of friends one night when one of them asked, “Have you seen the latest Atlantic Monthly? It has an article in it that you might be interested in. It’s named ‘1491.’” I filed that heads-up in my mental get-to-it-later list and had almost forgotten about it when out of the blue I began receiving e-mails...

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3. Echoes of Eden – Beyond Symbiosis to Synergy

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pp. 35-50

In his book The Desert Smells Like Rain: A Naturalist in O’odham Country, Gary Nabhan describes two oases in the Sonoran Desert on opposite sides of the Mexican border. One of those oases is named A’al Waipia by the Tohono O’odham Indians and lies on the U.S. side of the border. The U.S. Park Service, which has included this collection...

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4. Droughtbusters

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pp. 51-70

There have always been people who would like to make it rain more in the West, only now there are more of them. The reason is because the West is in one of the most serious droughts it has experienced since we began recording such things. In parts of the region, the drought is in its seventh year and shows no signs of...

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5. Lub-Dub

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pp. 71-78

My goal is to capture every raindrop where it falls,” says Gene Goven, who operates a ranch in the prairie pothole country near Turtle Lake in North Dakota. Goven has undertaken this challenge on the northern Great Plains, the bison prairies, one of the icons of the Leave-It-Alone approach, an area...

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6. Learning on the Fringe

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pp. 79-90

I am fascinated with the idea of “life making the conditions for life available to life,” especially where it involves humans. One could say the purpose of this book is to establish that humans actually can be a part of this sort of relationship with nature and to make us better able to recognize the instances in which we are. The reason for so...

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7. Return of the Natives

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pp. 91-100

The science of quantum physics may sound like an odd discipline to turn to for insights on how to solve some of the more resistant environmental problems of the day, but on one problem at least it has proved to be fertile ground. Here’s how. Scientists working to identify the most elemental unit of matter were...

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8. Eden in Flames

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pp. 101-112

In the same way that people throughout the West are looking for a way to make it rain more, there are probably more of us wondering how to make it burn less, or at least to burn less uncontrollably. Wildfire—catastrophic, lethal, capricious, a natural force stoppable only by other natural forces—has become the most pressing environmental...

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9. The Economics of Eden

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pp. 113-122

Food was the heart of the economy that produced the Edens of pre-Columbian North America. It was the currency that paid for all the burning, herding/hunting, and gathering that produced those icons of pristine nature. Food paid for the nomadic lifestyle that management by fire and hunting made necessary. Food also...

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10. Building a New Economy for Eden

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pp. 123-132

Marketing the ephemeral products of rangeland management, such as carbon and water sequestration, is no easy task. In order to sell them, you have to first be able to prove that you produced them. And then you have to be able to show how much of them you produced. Add to this the fact that what...

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11. Becoming Native Again – Toward a New Environmentalism

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pp. 133-140

For those of us who value becoming more native and less alien and who are interested in reestablishing the same sort of connection with nature that the earlier Gardeners of Eden had, Gregg Simonds’ methods are extremely valuable. They’re valuable because most of us can’t directly participate in the kind of mutualisms the...

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Epilogue

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pp. 141-143

Although this book has come to an end, the stories it chronicles continue to unfold, and the way of relating to nature it describes—humans acting as natives rather than aliens—remains a matter of awakening and discovery. I was reminded of this in a very direct way, recently, at the fourth annual conference of the Quivira...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 144-145

Thanks to the University of Nevada Press—the distributor of Gardeners of Eden for most of its existence—this groundbreaking book remains in print and continues to be available. Gardeners was originally published by the Thatcher Charitable Trust, created by Mark Thatcher, inventor of the sport sandal and founder of Teva Sandals. Obviously, the...

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About the Author and Photographer

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pp. 146-147

Dan Dagget is an author, public speaker, and a consultant on collaborative conflict resolution and restorative land management. His first book, Beyond the Rangeland Conflict, Toward a West That Works was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and has been recognized as one of the most important books recently written about environmental issues in the American...