This is the most exciting book I have read in a long time. Taylor's extensive and deep study and knowledge and practice of ecology and conservation rings with my own practical experience in conservation and my academic research into the ways people experience landscape. What makes this exceptional is that the seriously academic is grounded not only in the slow and persistent but effective working with local people and organisations in the region of Wales where he lives, but also in the inner journey of the individual human as he or she goes through life, including his own. Taking as examples several adventurous projects around the UK, including Coed Eryri in Snowdonia, Caledon in Scotland and Dartmoor, his earlier chapters cover, extensively, possible ways of restoring ecological processes, regenerating vegetation, herbivores and carnivores. In putting these forward he also challenges many long-held ways of thinking in conservation, including those of himself. Later, however,in Chapter 9 "The Healing Forest", he explains and describes the importance of inner change of attitudes; in, I felt, a dynamic and inclusive way,(it did not make me want to switch off because some of it was a bit "freaky"!) he links the insights of Jung and others, and complementary healing practitioners, with those of Native American and pagan traditions as well as Western and Eastern mainstream spiritual traditions, showing what these may bring to the restoration of ecological processes, to find a unifying "healing peace" where the rational and intuitive, the masculine and feminine, in sharp polarity in our contemporary world, are brought together in an understanding of Mother Earth "the heart of nature: wild to the core".
Taylor's understanding of a "wildland ethic" is much greater than what might be thought a mere romantic and impractical reintroduction of lost species - in fact it seems to me he is cautious about suggesting only what is reasonably achievable for each of the regions he discusses; I think he points towards a refinding of the experience of nature itself in everyday living whether in rural or urban places, in increasing our sensitivity to the natural world around us and the healing of negative attitudes and restoring of vision.