WILDNIS de Jan Haft

The award-winning creator of nature documentaries writes about the places that nature lovers yearn for – and introduces us to a key concept in nature conservation.

by Jan Haft
Penguin Germany, March 2023

When we think of wilderness, we think of places like forests filled with an abundance of wild plants – landscapes that show no trace of human civilisation. After all, man and primordial nature are mutually exclusive. In fact, though, wilderness always implies a certain tug of war between different forces: wherever we disturb the balance, nature cannot take its course, and what remains isn’t wilderness, but an impoverished landscape – even if we leave nature to its own devices. Even now, the forests we once exploited contain just a fraction of the animals, plants and fungi that once existed there. Why is that? Biologist and filmmaker Haft examines flawed ideas, proposes a new way of conceiving of wilderness, and explains how – if we wanted to – we could easily and cheaply create new animal-friendly, sustainable and diverse landscapes.

Biologist Jan Haft, born in 1967, is a nature and animal filmmaker with a host of awards to his name. He lives with his wife and three children on a farm near Munich. His first book, The Meadow, appeared in 2019 alongside his feature film The Meadow – A Paradise Next Door; both were a great success.

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