Does Nature Have to Be Natural? The Question of Wetland Interpretation


Correspondence: Barbara K. Jones, Department of Anthropology, Human Geography, and Sociology, Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ 07738, USA. E-mail:


Through a study of modified natural landscapes, particularly cranberry bogs, this article investigates the broad understandings of nature and wilderness. In relying on a nature as wilderness paradigm to identify what is ecologically valuable, the potential exists to disregard altered nature as ecologically damaged. This approach to understanding nature discounts the value of agricultural sites that demonstrate another way of seeing nature, one that appreciates its resilience. This article strives to understand how current metaphors that define nature as pristine fail to consider how altered nature can and does have significant ecological value.