Bombs Away

Militarization, Conservation, and Ecological Restoration

David Havlick

Bombs Away

David Havlick

208 pages | 36 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2018
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226547541 Will Publish April 2018
E-book $35.00 ISBN: 9780226547688 Will Publish April 2018
When viewed from space, the Korean Peninsula is crossed by a thin green ribbon. On the ground, its mix of dense vegetation and cleared borderlands serve as home to dozens of species that are extinct or endangered elsewhere on the peninsula. This is Korea’s demilitarized zone—one of the most dangerous places on earth for humans, and paradoxically one of the safest for wildlife. Although this zone was not intentionally created for conservation, across the globe hundreds of millions of acres of former military zones and bases are being converted to restoration areas, refuges, and conservation lands. David Havlick has traveled the world visiting these spaces of military-to-wildlife transition, and in Bombs Away he explores both the challenges—physical, historical, and cultural—and extraordinary ecological possibilities of military site conversions.

Looking at particular international sites of transition—from Indiana’s Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge to Cold War remnants along the former Iron Curtain—Havlick argues that these new frontiers of conservation must accomplish seemingly antithetical aims: rebuilding and protecting ecosystems, or restoring life, while also commemorating the historical and cultural legacies of warfare and militarization. Developing these ideas further, he shows that despite the ecological devastation often wrought by military testing and training, these activities need not be inconsistent with environmental goals, and in some cases can even aid them—a concept he calls ecological militarization. A profound, clear explication of landscapes both fraught and fecund, marked by death but also reservoirs of life, Bombs Away shows us how “military activities, conservation goals, and ecological restoration efforts are made to work together to create new kinds of places and new conceptions of place.”
Review Quotes
Bethanie Walder, executive director of the Society for Ecological Restoration
“Restoration is not a panacea and should not enable current or future generations to forget what past generations both caused and endured. Bombs Away effectively argues that as we restore ecological integrity to militarily damaged lands, we must also maintain a historical link to the cause and nature of the damage to help prevent such human and ecological violence from happening again. Havlick poignantly and elegantly conveys the importance of remembering and honoring the profound destruction and devastation on these lands as well as the danger of ‘erasure’ if we focus on ecological restoration alone. With many military lands now abandoned, and unfortunately new military atrocities occurring daily, Bombs Away provides a much-needed reference for how to deal with the opportunity military conversions offer in a culturally and ecologically sensitive manner.”
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