Rewilding Agricultural Landscapes

Rewilding Agricultural Landscapes

A California Study in Rebalancing the Needs of People and Nature

H. Scott Butterfield


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As the world population grows, so does the demand for food, putting unprecedented pressure on agricultural lands. In many desert dryland regions, however, intensive cultivation is causing their productivity to decline precipitously. "Rewilding” the least productive of these landscapes offers a sensible way to reverse the damage, recover natural diversity, and ensure long-term sustainability of remaining farms and the communities they support.

This accessibly written, groundbreaking contributed volume is the first to examine in detail what it would take to retire eligible farmland and restore functioning natural ecosystems. The lessons in Rewilding Agricultural Landscapes will be useful to conservation leaders, policymakers, groundwater agencies, and water mangers looking for inspiration and practical advice for solving the complicated issues of agricultural sustainability and water management.


H. Scott Butterfield:
Scott Butterfield is a Senior Scientist for The Nature Conservancy, where he is the Lead Scientist for the Strategic Restoration Strategy and Program Lead for the Managing Partnership at the Carrizo Plain National Monument. Butterfield holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University.

Rodd Kelsey is Associate Director of the Water Program at The Nature Conservancy California. He helps lead the Conservancy's strategy focused on developing and expanding water management solutions to meet nature's and people's needs.

Abigail Hart is a project director in The Nature Conservancy's California Water Program. Her work and research focus on stakeholder engagement and collaborative management of working landscapes.