Human Built Ecosystems

When I read Wilding, I was incredibly struck by how it made so much sense to me that we let nature do it’s thing naturally, so I needed convincing that a human built ecosystem would be viable and worthwhile.

Watch the video below to see if humans have it all figured out and can create ecosystems from scratch.

Biosphere 2 originally investigated on the assumption of how we would add plants to space, but is now used to learn more about the natural processes that we don’t yet understand.

If we learn enough then surely we would be able to return all of Earth’s uninhabitable land into oases, right?


Having watched the video above, you might be inclined to believe that we could use the desert space better to sequester carbon by planting forests. The video below explores that idea.

As well researched as this idea might be, I think it has looked at the problem in quite a limited viewpoint. It doesn’t consider the quality of soil that would need to be obtained in order for the trees to grow, or the potential for the soil it self to do the carbon sequestering.

Meanwhile, in China the Gobi desert has expanded massively and a forest is being planted on the edges to try and prevent further desertification. Large swathes of the area was forest until a previous leader ordered it to be cut down, so I think the solar reflection arguments from the previous video wouldn’t apply here.

Mimicking natural processes means different things in different places. In Africa, they use livestock to behave like large wild herds…

Sometimes the human action only needs to be small to allow nature to start regenerating itself. In the following projects, I feel like some of this work could have been done naturally had the right animals been added to the project.

These ideas have started to be used world over. In isolation the principles aren’t as effective as when an entire catchment is improved.

In order for these projects to be effective you need all the locals to be involved and on board with the plan (unless you happen to live in a dictatorship), I imagine arguing with neighbours about water management will become more commonplace as it becomes a more scarce resource.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: