Nature Noted

Notes on a changing Nature

Location: Bellville, Texas, United States

I never would have predicted this one

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Weekend reading

Here's a great essay, courtesy of Tidepool. It's from Courtney White of the Quivira Coalition. I think he nails the philosophy for anyone working in private conservation. Here's the beginning.

"Looking back over the past century, the greatest shortcoming of the conservation movement in the American West has been its near-total failure to devise a strategy for privately owned land in the region.

By any yardstick -- watershed acres, animal species, ecological processes -- conservation success on private land has been small. While many environmentalists correctly note that half of the West is publicly owned and thus held in trust for the public good, they rarely mention the other part of that equation: Half of the West is in private hands.

This is significant because, as many researchers have written, private lands contain the most productive soils, are located at lower elevations and often include key riparian areas. Wildlife biologist Rick Knight, who teaches at Colorado State University, put it this way: "We will not be able to sustain native biodiversity in the Mountain West by relying merely on protected areas. Future conservation efforts to protect this region's natural heritage will require closer attention being paid to the role of private lands."

But how? The tactics of demonization, litigation, regulation and pressure politics may be effective on public lands -- though to a diminishing degree these days -- but they're essentially useless on private land."

Environmentalism isn't dead, folks. Not as long as we remember that people, including land owners, are part of the environment too.


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