By Jim Sterba
Since moving to Gwinnett County I've come home to find deer in my driveway, have seen a fox cross my path during a morning walk, helped a turtle avoid a busy road, and have seen more roadkill than I can count. According to Jim Sterba, this isn't particularly unusual because we live in a time of major population regrowth in both animals and trees.
In this book he argues that the eastern third of the continental United States is so thoroughly tree-covered that for all practical purposes it's a huge forest. And the animals seem to agree. Due to the move away from cities and into tree-lined suburbs, "it is very likely that more people live in closer proximity to more wild animals and birds in the eastern United States today than anywhere on the planet at any time in history."
This may sound great to nature-lovers, and in many ways it is, but more animals can sometimes mean more problems when they clash with their human neighbors. Sterba tells the story of beavers creating inconvenient wetlands, geese contaminating drinking water, deer being struck by cars, and once-domesticated cats that have become feral. The big question is what should we do? And this, it turns out, is a political hot potato.
This is the book to read if you want to know more about the animals that may be living in your back yard.
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Review by Danny Hanbery