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Rewilding: Evolution in Action
Something I dearly love about my wife and mission partner, Connie Barlow, is that she not only talks evolution, she walks it. Thanks to her, last week I was privileged to participate in a radical act of biodiversity protection: the "assisted migration" of the most endangered conifer tree in the world. And it was evolutionary science that gave our team the "deep-time" perspective necessary to undertake this action not as some sort of ecological insanity but as a reverent responsibility in a time of global warming.
On July 30, a crew of 8 (along with a writer and photographer from Audubon magazine) planted 31 seedlings of Torreya taxifolia into naturally forested habitat on private lands far to the north of its so-called native range. We were planting this Florida native on mountain slopes of western North Carolina because we were returning this species to the range that it occupied during previous warm spells in Earth's climate.