I know that totem decay is a big issue with many.
But the simple fact is that although you want the players that made all these 1 man totems all over the place to return and have a place to call home, What about the players that have been playing and PAYING all along?
Take for instance My tribe Pawnee.
Its radius is 159 and now can no longer grow due to an abandoned 1 man totem across the river from us. This 1 man has not had any active player in game since release.
What can be done about these?
If you look in your Database, and see that there are totems that have not had an active player for 10 month, don't you think it reasonable to remove them?
If they get interested in the game again they can always buy a sub and look for a new spot.
It is what I would expect to have to do if I had left so long ago. Most games have some method to reclaim this type of thing after a period of inactivity.
At least then you would not be limiting your active paying customers, with hopes that some person that stopped playing long ago MAY come back.