Rethinking and Rebuilding Nature in Hawai‘i

Restoring ParadiseThree quarters of the U.S.’s bird and plant extinctions have occurred in Hawai‘i, and one third of the country’s threatened and endangered birds and plants reside within the state. Yet despite these alarming statistics, all is not lost: There are still 12,000 extant species unique to the archipelago and new species are discovered every year. In Restoring Paradise: Rethinking and Rebuilding Nature in Hawai‘i, Robert Cabin shows why current attempts to preserve Hawai‘i’s native fauna and flora require embracing the emerging paradigm of ecological restoration—the science and art of assisting the recovery of degraded species and ecosystems and creating more meaningful and sustainable relationships between people and nature.

“Bob Cabin has that rare gift of a scientist who writes like a novelist. The tale he tells is not so much about science as it is about courageous people—many of them dedicated volunteers—who are responding in very personal ways to environmental crises. These are people who are restoring impaired Hawaiian ecosystems in a heroic effort to recover Nature. Cabin, who has logged many hours as a restoration practitioner himself, explains that we can’t always return Hawai‘i’s fabled ecosystems back to the way they were in the past. Instead, he recovers as much as possible of the remaining native biodiversity and gives Nature the opportunity to reinvent itself in a contemporary expression. The story Cabin tells is one of fulfillment as Hawaiians engage directly in natural processes as if they were part of their own evolving ecosystems—and indeed they are.” ―Andre Clewell, Restoration Ecologist and President Emeritus, Society for Ecological Restoration

June 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3693-1 / $24.99 (PAPER)