Extinction, Restoration, Naturalness

Elliot, Robert
Environmental Ethics Vol. 16/2 (1994), pages 135-144

Alastair S. Gunn has argued that it is in principle possible to restore degraded natural environments and to restore their full value, provided that species distinctive to them are extant. I argue, first, that the proviso is unnecessary. More importantly, I claim that full value cannot be restored because restored environments lack the relational property of being naturally evolved. I delineate and explain the structure and detail of the theoretical bases for this claim and show that Gunn’s reflections do not rule out the view that full value cannot be restored.