States of Nature: Conserving Canada's Wildlife in the Twentieth Century.


320 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-0-7748-1289-4
DDC 333.95'416'0971






Reviewed by Liette Vasseur

Liette Vasseur is associate vice-president of research at Laurentian


Conservation is one of those buzzwords that have been used (and often abused) for various purposes over decades. This wonderful book reveals to us the great and not-so-great history of conservation in Canada. It also demonstrates how our system has been influenced not only by politics, but by the personalities of the influential people who have managed or regulated our provinces or country.


In a very compelling manner, Tina Loo examines the challenges that faced the protection and management of wildlife for over a century in Canada, especially in terms of balancing policy-making based on traditional knowledge and scientific data. The evolution of this balance is explored by presenting people and organizations that made Canadian wildlife management part of its “national identity.” By exploring the lives of people such as Jack Miner, Charles Elton, Farley Mowat, and Bill Mason as well as the actions taken by the First Nations and groups such as Hudson’s Bay Company and Ducks Unlimited Canada, Loo explains the various paths taken over time in Canada to manage wildlife. For example, the conflicts between Jack Miner and Percy Taverner from the Canadian Museum of Nature over the practices used to manage bird populations (especially waterfowl) and their bandings are vividly explained, showing the struggles and excitements that both sides might have had to deal with in order to maintain their positions.


This book is very enjoyable to read. Its style is attractive and the information clear and well-supported. In fact, it encourages our curiosity and pushes us to find additional information when possible. It is an excellent contribution that is needed at this point in time when environmental issues are deeply challenged under the current global economy. Loo has done a wonderful job of summarizing information that can be difficult to find in the Canadian context.


Loo, Tina., “States of Nature: Conserving Canada's Wildlife in the Twentieth Century.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 20, 2024,