October 11, 2018 | By:

Episode 6: John Davis On Rewilding In The Northeast

John Davis © 2011 Dany Coulombe

John Davis is executive director of The Rewilding Institute and editor of Rewilding Earth. For Rewilding, he serves as a wildways scout, editor, interviewer, and writer. He rounds out his living with conservation field work, particularly within New York’s Adirondack Park, where he lives. John serves on boards of RESTORE: The North Woods, Eddy Foundation, Champlain Area Trails, Cougar Rewilding Foundation, and Algonquin to Adirondack Conservation Collaborative.

You can read more about John’s background and work at Rewilding.org, starting with his latest article “Rewilding Distilled” which takes you through the fundamentals of Rewilding. And… that’s where we’re starting today, with John’s definition of Rewilding…

In this episode:

  • What is Rewilding?
  • Split Rock Wildway, Adirondack Park
  • Aspect of rewilding you don’t hear about often: Deadbeat dams
  • Return of atlantic salmon.
  • Local rewilding.
  • Road removal – hundreds of thousands of miles of roads that were used to get
    timber, not used now, can be removed.
  • Economic impact of rewilding – dam removal, road obliterating, studies for
    crossings, reintroduction of missing species. Thousands of jobs.
  • Resurgence of interest in wildlife watching, benefits to humans of being near
    unfragmented intact natural communities.
  • A modern Civilian Conservation Corps
  • Natural infrastructure and human infrastructure upgrades work together to prepare
    for the future of climate chaos.
  • John’s call for the American Eel as a possible aquatic counterpart (flagship
    species) to Eastern Cougar reintroduction.
  • Plants: American Chestnut, blight resistant, keystone species, possible
    contributor to the demise of passenger pigeon when their food source was removed.
  • Continental Wildways important, especially so as broad swaths relatively intact
  • Sue Morse, Keeping Track
  • Wolves, pumas, eels, and chestnuts.

Read more about John’s work in his series on the Split Rock Wildway.

Spread Rewilding Around the Globe!
Subscribe To Comments On This Article
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jesse Stanford
5 years ago


I’m an Ecology undergraduate student at the University of North Texas. Over the years, I’ve become increasingly interested in becoming involved with a rewilding project after graduation. This podcast has been very helpful so far in listening to some of the efforts taking place across North America. I was wondering; however, if you would be able to suggest any projects that are looking for an extra pair of hands after this coming May. Additionally, if there are any practitioners that you are aware of that are in the habit of taking optimistic masters students, I would love being pointed in their general direction.

Thank you for your time and the work you have done and are doing.

5 years ago

Call Northeast Wilderness Trust in Montpelier, VT. John Davis is on their board of directors. They are awesome!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x