WHAT IS AN ARK?
An Ark is a restored, native ecosystem, a local, small, medium or large rewilding project. It’s a thriving patch of native plants and creatures that have been allowed and supported to re-establish in the earths intelligent, successional process of natural restoration. Over time this becomes a pantry and a habitat for our pollinators and wild creatures who are in desperate need of support.
This takes time to happen but it begins to re-establish itself as a simple ecosystem very quickly and over time it becomes a strong wildlife habitat and eventually a multi-tiered complex community of native plants, creatures and micro-organisms.
It’s that simple! Effortless, yet it could create a powerful web of healed earth. You need no money to do this, just the will to be part of the solution, to be kind and caring.
We call it Arking, as it’s not quite the same as re-wilding. In our relatively small Arks we can’t recreate wild, balanced landscapes such as those being restored on a large scale through re-wilding processes. The top predators in an ecosystem and the large herbivores and ecosystem engineers ensure that a balance is kept in the web of life. This ensures that there is constant destruction and recreation of all the stages of an ecosystem. The earth, like us is in a constant state of death and renewal. We obviously cannot introduce these creatures into our Arks, as they would not survive in such fragmented habitats. Therefore, we must become the wolf, become the deer, the beaver etc. and carry out the ecosystem services these creatures would normally be charged with. Depending on your part of the world it helps to learn a little of your local ecological systems and their roles if you can. If you don’t have that information then a simple way of structuring our role is to create as many ecotones as possible in our small Arks because they are missing the creatures that would create them naturally in a balanced situation. Unless you are dealing with land that is a mountaintop or a floodplain for example, then most land strives to become woodland. Its ultimate aim is this mature, balanced state of being. However, in a working ecosystem, a full set of clothes, there would be much disturbance of this mature state of being and this ebb and flow supports many groups of creatures which thrive at different stages of the systems development.
Not all of us are lucky enough to have a patch of the planet under our care, but you can do so much in other ways through community activities and creating Arks on public lands to raise awareness.
You can restore health to the land and let it create habitat and sanctuary for wildlife, we can make a patchwork quilt to save this earth, ourselves and all the creatures we share it with.
All we need to do is to leave nature lead the way and support her to heal and thrive.
Allow the land to re-wild itself and protect it while it heals.
Stop cutting it back.
Stop spraying it.
Stop controlling it.
In the future, when the Ark grows, you may need to step in and thin the branches or coppice some trees to make sure more light gets through to the lower layers of the ecosystem. This maximises the food and sanctuary available on that land. Otherwise it would eventually become a closed canopy and not much would live in its shade. We are the light holders now. We have removed the top predators from our land, the ones that would normally carry out this role and many others. We have to step in and provide whatever surrogate ecological services that are required to allow this system meet its full potential. On huge areas of land, this can be managed with the proper re-introduction of large animals. I love the large rewilding examples like Knepp estate in England and Trees for life in Scotland.
• A teaspoon of healthy soil contains more bacteria than there are people on the earth.
• One square foot of healthy soil contains thousands of miles of strings of mycelium, the roots of fungi, that are the World Wide Web communication network of the earths whole ecosystem.
The earth is bursting with life down there in the soil and all we need to do is to allow it to emerge. The relationships between native plants and the network of life above and below the soil, rooted and un-rooted, is complex and interdependent. Simply let it burst forth from the ground. Give it time to restore a native ecosystem. Natures step by step method to heal the skin of the earth is intelligent and fascinating. The more of us that create this change in our land, the more people will notice, learn from it and change with us.
It’s time to go to war to save our world, so that we can all live and thrive, not just survive. This is not a war of protest, pleading or violence. None of those have worked to a large degree in this cause.
Inspiration has worked. The actions of individual people have worked.
This is a call to arms of a different type. It is a front-line battle of courage, hope and individual action.
We have got to wake up to how linked we are to the planet beneath our feet. Our health is mirrored perfectly in the health of the earth. What reduces our stress, reduces the earth’s stress and vice versa.
She gets sick, so do we. We fight to live, so shall she.
The earth has become a barren green, brown and scorched desert and now we must create the island oases in these deserts. These oases will be the seeding ground for our new story to begin again. They will be sanctuaries for as many creatures as we can fit into them, safe havens for the magic and abundance in the natural world. They will become the Ark for the flood of extinction that is upon us.
We are the last frontier and the last generation with enough time left to save this planet, by the skin of our teeth. One person can cause such big change in this world, simply by inspiring change all around you.
One person, one patch of land, one decision at a time.
It’s up to us. Guide your land into becoming a thriving, living wild sanctuary for as many creatures as possible.
Wake up and don’t turn away. Nobody else is going to do this work. The system is broken, badly caught in a web of its own making. This is a different type of web weaving. It is a web of interconnected life, interconnected magic and hope.
We are weaving ourselves an ark.