Sunday, 24 April 2016

March 8

March 8
1618 Johannes Kepler discovers the third Law of Planetary Motion.
1702 Queen Anne becomes the monarch of England upon the death of William III.
1790 George Washington delivers the first State of the Union address.

1855 The first train crosses Niagara Falls on a suspension bridge.

1908 The House of Commons, London, turns down the women’s suffrage bill.
1909 Pope Pius X lifts the church ban on interfaith marriages in Hungary.
1910 Baroness de Laroche becomes the first woman to obtain a pilot’s license in France.

1945 Phyllis Mae Daley receives a commission in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. She will become the first African-American nurse to serve duty in World War II.
1948 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that religious instruction in public schools is unconstitutional.

Born on March 8

1841 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., U.S. Supreme Court Justice
1859 Kenneth Grahame, Scottish author (The Wind in the Willows).

Volume 126, June 2014, Pages 74–80
Perspective Essay

Towards a new European wilderness: Embracing unmanaged forest growth and the decolonisation of nature


Historical uses in European forests have altered their natural functioning.
Ideas have emerged around the protection of abandonment areas.
Uncontrolled nature exhibits non-linear dynamics which are not totally predictable.
Natural successions bring ecological benefits in terms of wildlife and social values.


In Europe today, relatively pristine forest areas are very rare, with only 1.4% of the landscape identified as untouched forest and another 3.3% as having minimal intervention. In response to the small, isolated nature of these forests, ideas have emerged around the re-creation of a “new European wilderness” as a nature conservation strategy. Indeed, since the end of the 19th century, traditional land use practices have been in steady decline throughout many of Europe's rural landscapes, particularly in mountainous regions and areas with poor soils and harsh climates. These very recent ecosystems have been identified as “emerging,” “novel” or “feral,” but given enough time these areas could grow into mature forests. A conservation strategy based upon letting ecosystems evolve out of human control is, as one might expect, a controversial one for Europeans. Indeed, many people enjoy the diverse and small-scale structured landscape shaped by milennia of sustainable practices by farmers, and their loss is usually seen negatively. In this essay I argue the necessity for such a re-wilding strategy and provide examples in unmanaged forests and natural successions of the Mediterranean basin, temperate Europe and floodplains with regard to the ecological benefits that they may bring to in terms of wildlife and social values. Advocating such a perspective may have broader value in diminishing the self-centred tendencies of modern societies in how they manage ecosystems.


  • Wilderness;
  • Ferality;
  • Nature;
  • Unmanaged;
  • Social value
Corresponding author. Tel.: +33 3378427.

1923 Cyd Charisse, dancer, actress.