Robert J. Cabin explores the relationship between science and practice in ecological restoration. Despite the often distinct cultures and methodologies of scientists and practitioners, Cabin shows how each has a vital role in effective restoration and offers suggestions for improving working relationships. One approach he advocates is what he calls 'intelligent tinkering,' where practitioners employ the same kind of careful but informal trial-and-error strategy followed by such groups as indigenous peoples and hobbyist mechanics. Cabin illustrates the power of intelligent tinkering using examples from his own work and other restoration projects. The gap between science and practice is a widespread problem across all fields of applied science. "Intelligent Tinkering" offers an insightful look at the underlying causes of the problem, along with invaluable suggestions for addressing it.
Robert J. Cabin is an associate professor of ecology and environmental science at Brevard College. Before returning to academia, he worked as a restoration ecologist for the US Forest Service and the National Tropical Botanical Garden.