States of Nature

Conserving Canada's Wildlife in the Twentieth Century

Tina Loo

  • Published: 2006. Paperback 2008
  • Subject Listing: Natural History
  • Bibliographic information: 256 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Published with: UBC Press
  • Contents

If Canadian conservationists had had their way at the turn of the twentieth century, their country would be the place Americans looked to when they sang yearningly of a home where the buffalo roamed. With the proper measures, Canada could have been a haven for North America's wild animals, a place where remnant populations devastated by settlement and development would recover and flourish. The country's treatment of wildlife became a way for some Canadians to distinguish themselves from their southern neighbours. For others, it embodied a different kind of ecological consciousness, one that reconciled human needs with those of wildlife. For them, Canada could be home to people as well as a place where wild things lived and played.

Despite the international celebrity of Canadian environmentalists such as Jack Miner and Grey Owl, and the fact that wildlife is literally common currency in the country, the story of saving Canada's wildlife is largely unknown. States of Nature is the first book to tell that story, looking at the changing substance, aims, and impacts of the conservation initiatives undertaken by government as well as private organizations and individuals during the twentieth century, before the emergence of the modern environmental movement.

Organized around case studies, this book will appeal to specialists in environmental history as well as in Canadian and social history. It will also be useful to policy makers and of interest to general readers who want to know how the country's history was intertwined with wild things and the people passionate about them.
1. Wild by Law: Animals, People, and the State to 1945
2. Make Way for Wildlife: Colonization, Resistance, and Transformation
3. The Dominion of Father Goose: Local Knowledge and Wildlife Conservation
4. The Hudson's Bay Company and Scientific Conservation
5. Buffalo Burgers and Reindeer Steak: Government Wildlife Conservation in Postwar Canada
6. Predators and Postwar Conservation
7. From Wildlife to Wild Places
Photo Essay

"This well-written, well-illustrated, easy-to-read work adds an important counterpoint to the more common US-centered histories of North American environmentalism..Highly recommended."

"With this book, Tina Loo has laid a foundation for the development of a truly North American history of conservation."