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Intelligent Tinkering: Bridging the Gap Between Science and Practice (Science and Practice of Ecological Restoration)

Intelligent Tinkering: Bridging the Gap Between Science and Practice (Science and Practice of Ecological Restoration) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Robert J. Cabin uses the restoration of tropical dry forestland in Hawaii as an in-depth case study to investigate the scientific, practical, and philosophical issues associated with performing ecological restoration in the messy real world.


Interweaving entertaining narratives of his own on-the-ground experiences as a practicing restorationist with reflections about his scientific training and background, Cabin explores the relationship between science and practice in ecological restoration. He observes that because restoration can be complex and value-driven, its implementation often turns out to be as much interdisciplinary art as hard science. 

Despite the often distinct cultures and methodologies of scientists and practitioners, Cabin shows how each has a vital role in effective restoration and offers suggestions for improving working relationships.


One approach he advocates is what he calls "intelligent tinkering," after the work of Aldo Leopold. In this model, practitioners employ the same kind of careful but informal trial-and-error strategy followed by such groups as indigenous peoples and hobbyist mechanics. Cabin illustrates the power of intelligent tinkering using examples from his own work and other restoration projects.


The gap between science and practice is not unique to ecological restoration; it is a widespread problem across all fields of applied science. Written in a clear and engaging style, Intelligent Tinkering offers an insightful look at the underlying causes of the problem, along with invaluable suggestions for addressing it.

About the Author

Robert J. Cabin is an associate professor of ecology and environmental science at Brevard College. Before returning to academia, he worked as a restoration ecologist for the U.S. Forest Service and the National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Science of Restoration Ecology and the Practice of Ecological Restoration


PART I. Restoring Paradise

Chapter 1. Tropical Dry Forests: Land of the Living Dead

Chapter 2. Let's See Action! Planning and Implementing a Research and Restoration Program

Chapter 3. Now What? Responding to Nature's Response

Chapter 4. Writing It Up: The Art and Importance of Science Papers

Chapter 5. Scaling Up: Micro to Macro Science and Practice

Chapter 6. Shall We Dance? The Trade-Offs of Science-Practice Collaborations and Community-Driven Restoration


PART II. Toward a More Perfect Union

Chapter 7. The Science-Practice Gap

Chapter 8. Bridging the Science-Practice Gap

Chapter 9. Intelligent Tinkering


Selected Bibliography


Product Details

Bridging the Gap between Science and Practice
Island Press
Cabin, Robert Jonathan
Environmental Studies-Environment
Edition Description:
The Science and Practice of Ecological Restoration Series
Publication Date:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General

Intelligent Tinkering: Bridging the Gap Between Science and Practice (Science and Practice of Ecological Restoration)
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Product details 240 pages Island Press - English 9781597269643 Reviews:
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