Re-inventing Conservation:  A Practitioner’s View

(Reprinted with permission from Island Press, Washington, D.C., “Reconstructing Conservation: History Values, and Practices”, edited by Ben A. Minteer and Robert E. Manning,  publication date in late 2002.)

 

By Rolf Diamant, Glenn Eugster, and Nora J. Mitchell

August 23, 2002

 

 

I. Introduction

 

“Timing is everything” according to an old adage.  The symposium created the opportunity to reassess and re-envision conservation history and philosophy, both from the perspective of the academy and practice.  From the perspective of conservation practice it is a particularly important time to step back and reflect on the recent trends and begin to describe a new vision of conservation for the 21st century.   

 

The transition between centuries is a time of change and shifting paradigms. It is a time of tension between the old and new, the perceived and the imagined, wilderness and stewardship. It is also a time of confluence, of tributaries joining and widening, swelling into a broad stream making connections with a broader landscape – the re-envisioned landscape of conservation. There are shifts in understanding and perception – in scholarship and practice – and among the larger public.  This is also a time of challenge – but more importantly a time of opportunity – as conservation stewardship evolves from an historical emphasis on objectives dealing with efficiency, development of material resources and preservation of selected wild lands, to an emphasis on objectives more closely tied to public amenity, quality of life, social equity, and civil society.  There is also a concurrent devolution of centralized decision-making, led by government, to a more pluralistic, community-based process, driven by private or multi-sector initiatives.  This paper explores these recent trends and examples of successful conservation practice, and offers develops some fundamental principles for reconstructing conservation in the 21st century.

 

 

 

II.    Ways of Working: Contemporary Trends in Conservation Practice

 

Coalitions Of Diverse Interests

 

The writer Rick Bass describes his neighbors on the Yaak Valley Forest Council in northwest Montana as  “hunting and fishing guides, bartenders, massage therapists, road builders, heavy construction operators, writers, seamstresses, painters, construction workers, nurses, teachers, loggers, photographers, electricians and carpenters.” [i] Where once the diverse coalition working in the Yaak Valley was an unusual phenomenon, it is now more a rule rather than an exception.  Community leaders don’t want to make choices between a healthy economy, culture and environment—they want it all.  The diverse coalitions that have formed reflect all the interests of society.  Groups such as the United Auto Workers and the Delaware Nature Education Society are supporting the protection of White Clay Creek watershed.  Along the Potomac in Northern Virginia, the Arlington County Democratic Committee, patients from Fairfax County Hospital and the Greater Washington Chapter of the Jimmy Buffet “Parrott Heads” are cleaning up the River.  These conservation networks are stepping forward across the country to shape the future of their communities and the landscapes that surround them.

 

 

Local Initiatives for Quality of Life

 

Stuart Cohen and Sim Van der Ryn write in Ecological Design, "Everyone is a participant and a designer!"[ii]  More than in the past,,  people want to be involved in conservation efforts.  "Don't do it to us. Don't do it for us. Do it with us" is a request that is heard over and over in communities across the land. More importantly, community leaders, such as those in Cape Charles, Virginia, are working with interdisciplinary teams of experts and conservation service providers to design sustainable strategies for the future.

 

The desire to conserve important values, and have natural or cultural park-like qualities in all our communities--not just in Yellowstone or the Everglades, seems to have converged with the Nnation's rediscovery of democracy.  Quality of life has increasingly become an issue in the U.S. and people realize that government alone isn’t capable, or the appropriate force, to attempt to maintain orto restore communities and landscapes.  

Motivated by quality aspirations and the realization that people can—and need to influence their future, groups and individuals have taken responsibility for conservation efforts in huge numbers.  Local initiative, occasionally in partnership with government, has taken the form of land trusts, small watershed associations, greenway and trail groups, friends of parks, “Main Street” organizations, and heritage area coalitions.  These organizations have taken a hands-on approach to craft conservation plans and work to carryout specific actions, with a level of sophistication normally found only in consulting firms and government agencies.

 

 

Democracy and Civic Dialogue

 

John Elder has written,  “… we must pursue stewardship not simply as the maintenance of valuable resources but also as a way of fostering a broader experience of democracy and community.” [iii]  Certainly, the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act of the 1960s and early 1970s forever changed the landscape of public dialogue in environmental and historic preservation decision-making. These landmark laws and many state and local derivatives vastly expanded opportunities for greater inclusiveness and public participation.

 

More recently, the concept of conservation as a “big tent” continues to broaden as the reach is increasing with the level of public engagement.  The focus of conservation has also been extended beyond a traditional emphasis on natural resources issues such as air and water pollution, so that the public environmental agenda embraces an expanding list of  “quality of life issues” including public health, sustainable practices, smart growth, energy conservation, public transportation, environmental justice, and cultural heritage. 

 

In her landmark book, The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History, Dolores Hayden explores places associated with history of women and people of color, illustrating the loss of many and the lack of value given to those that still remain in our public memory.  Hayden speaks of “memory rooted in places” and how “new kinds of professional roles and public processes may broaden the practice of public history, architectural preservation, environmental protection, and commemorative public art, when these are perceived as parts of wider urban landscape.” [iv] 

 

Exploration of public history and memory is also opening up new venues for civic dialogue and making those conversations more inclusive. Several recent additions to the National Park System serve as illustrations including Cane River Creole National Historical Park and its plantation slave quarters; Central High School National Historic Site in Little Rock, Arkansas; and Manzanar National Historic Site, the World Ware II internment camp for Japanese American citizens.  “Our goal,” writes Dwight T. Pithcaithley, Chief Historian of the National Park Service, “is … understanding who we are, where we have been, and how we as a society, might approach the future. This collection of special places also allows us to examine our past--the contested along with the comfortable, the complex along with the simple, the controversial along with the inspirational.”[v]

 

 

INSERT section on trends in the Rrecognition of cCultural lLandscapes

 

Over the last decade, recognition of the heritage value of cultural landscapes has grown in the U.S. and in other countries.[vi]  Adrian Phillips, long-time chair of IUCN’s Commission on Protected Areas has called for “conservationists in many countries to focus their attention on…those inhabited landscapes where nature and culture are in some kind of balance [and where]…talk of sustainable development can be more than rhetoric.”[vii]    

 

Since the 1920s the fields of cultural geography, and more recently historic preservation, environmental history, and conservation biology have contributed to the concept of cultural landscapes.[viii] This concept gives value and legitimacy to peopled places, a fundamentally different perspective from nature conservation’s traditional focus on wild areas and historic preservation’s focus on the built environment.

 

Cultural landscapes have value because they reflect history, beliefs, and way of life. Consequently, traditional land use and associated management systems, as well as intangible cultural heritage are given greater attention. In addition, a recent study of European landscapes documented examples of humanized landscapes with traditions sustained over centuries have created environments rich in biological diversity.

 

Cultural landscapes are often large in scale and involve traditional management systems and multiple ownerships. As such, they require conservation strategies that are locally based and work across boundaries, respect cultural and religious traditions and historic roots as well as ecological systems, and focus on sustainable economies.[ix]

 

 

 

Measurement of Conservation Success

 

Robert Putnam, the widely read author of Bowling Alone, describes “social capital” as the “connections among individuals—social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them….Civic virtue is most powerful when embedded in a dense network of reciprocal social relations.”[x] It would be difficult to imagine successful conservation on any level in the twenty-first century that is not in large measure dependent on such social benefits. Fortunately, conservation activities often generate their own social capital.  It is seen in grassroots organizing, fundraising, meetings, and all manner of volunteer activities.

 

Conservation practitioners are also seeing ethical re-evaluation and enrichment of personal and public life through the process of re-connecting to place, social networking and the act of conserving.  This trend not only recognizes the centrality of place in people’s lives, but also suggests a fundamental rethinking of how success in conservation work, particularly land conservation, is measured.  Reflecting on this transition, Gus Speth, Dean of the Yale School of Forestry, has written “we broke things down to the component parts and laid out rational plans of attack, with deadlines, for tackling isolated problems. Now we know the most important resource is human motivation – hope, caring, our feelings about nature and our fellow human beings.”[xi]

 

Peter Forbes has been an early and consistent voice for new measures of success.  In an essay written for Trust for Public Land’s new Center for Land and People,, he describes conservation as an engine for social cohesion:

 

“To save a piece of land, people re-think their future not in terms of what they could do for themselves but in terms of what they could do for others. They are building rootedness, based on their sense of service toward one another and the land. To act on such feelings is the essence of citizenship and moves us from isolation to community.”[xii]

 

“The act of conserving land” he goes on to observe, “has brought into people’s moral universe a renewed sense of justice, meaning, respect, joy and love, and made people feel more complete.”[xiii]

 

But there is more to this than personal self-fulfillment, it is also about community building. Land conservation and social capital are so interdependent, that no action or benefit can be continued for any extended period outside of the context of a healthy, stable, engaged community vested in conservation’s success and continuity.  Measurement of conservation’s contribution to social capital is gradually becoming more sophisticated. The Northern Forest Center’s Northern Forest Wealth Index is one example. The Center, a non-profit established to strengthen citizen leadership and regional collaboration in the northeast’s Northern Forest region, developed the Wealth Index based on a community’s self- assessment of core assets and values.  These core assets and values, including culture, economy, educational systems, and environment, are measured to determine the overall wealth or well being of Northern Forest’s communities.[xiv]

 

 

A Framework for Multiple Objectives

 

The idea of cCreating a framework for multi-objective planning and decision-making was given came to the national prominence forefront of in the conservation movement as a result of two somewhat parallel efforts.  One effort, the Unified National Program for Floodplain Management, involved a redesign of the federal government’s approach to flood loss reduction.  This initiative attempted to make sense out of 28 different federal agencies, with 44 different legislative authorities that were involved in flood control activity.  As a result of this effort, long-term institutional, technical, and funding solutions to flood loss were created using a combination of structural and nonstructural controls.  

 

In 1989, the second effort was led by Congressmen McDade (Pennsylvania) and Udall (Arizona), with the assistance of the National Park Service, in response to a growing public concern for river conservation.  This initiative sought ideas and information from government and private sector leaders across the U.S. about ways to “recognize all of the legitimate beneficial public and private uses of river corridors and encourage coordinated decisions which result in the maximum public and private benefit with the least adverse impact on significant river values.”

 

While neither the Floodplain Management nor the McDade-Udall effort met all the expectations of their supporters, these efforts both had a major impact on conservation theory and practice.  The multi-objective perspective began to be embraced by a significant part of the river conservation community and some parts of the federal bureaucracy.  Since the National Park Service played a role in the river conservation initiative, the framework was replicated in other conservation projects and programs.  These two efforts also began to redefine the traditional conservation role of government and resulted in a shift from centralized federal and state activities to a more decentralized approach. 

 

 

Entrepreneurial Models of Conservation Economics

 

Experimentation with entrepreneurial models of conservation economics is encouraging new ways of working and new relationships that cultivate a more sustainable development path.   “Conservation Economics,” a term coined by The Nature Conservancy’s Center for Compatible Development, represents a broad range of ventures in different parts of the country.

 

For example, alternative financing mechanisms for sustainable development are being tested, in places like Virginia’s Cinch River Valley. The Nature Conservancy has set up a  “Forest Bank” for small private woodland owners.  They permanently  “deposit” their timber rights in return for a guaranteed annual income based a program of sustainable forestry and the knowledge that their woodlands, often in their family for many generations, will never have to be clear cut or liquidated to meet debts.

Another example is ShoreBank Pacific, a community development bank with an environmental focus, founded as a joint venture between Shorebank Corporation of Chicago (the nation's first community development bank) and Ecotrust (an environmental non-profit).   The Bank is set up to provide financial and advisory support to individuals and communities enterprises that combine conservation and economic development.  These projects build both natural and financial capital but in so far they providing good jobs, generating local tax revenue. They are also strengthening community self-determination and confidence and building social capita.

 

More and more ventures involve food, a cultural common denominator that can build social capital in almost every corner of the world.  The Nature Conservancy, for example, is now using the Web to market “Conservation Beef” from conserved ranches in Colorado’ s Yampa Valley.  In addition to their financial ventures, Ecotrust also partners with local fishermen on the Columbia River to market value-add seafood with the “Fresh From Young’s Bay” label, a guarantee of both high quality and ecologically sensitive fishing practices. With the advent of the Slow Food movement, which began in Italy in the 1980s, the careful stewardship and marketing of traditional food products often cultivated or created by artisanal methods, is gaining international recognition and momentum.  In many places around the world, food is bringing together people passionately committed to landscape and agricultural stewardship, cultural diversity and tradition, craftsmanship, public health, and general well being – and good, healthy food! 

 

 

Place-based Education

 

Experts agree that a longer-range horizon for conservation change will include significant investments in schools, curriculum, and life-long learning opportunities.  These investments reflect a priority on place-based education and life skills including civic learning, service learning, and cooperative group work and problem solving. Place-based education writes Jack Chin, Cco-director of the Funders’ Forum on Environment and Education, “provides students with opportunities to connect with themselves, their community, and their local environment through hands-on, real-world learning experiences.  This enables students to see that learning is relevant to their world, to take pride in where they live, to connect with the rest of the world, and to develop into concerned and contributing citizens.”[xv]

 

David Lacy, an archeologist with the Green Mountain National Forest, runs a summer archeology camp for Rutland, Vermont middle school kids called “Relics and Ruins.”  Guiding students to cellar holes and remnant orchards on abandoned farmsteads with sheaths of historic maps in hand, Lacy’s place-based approach to learning focuses the nature of change and its relevance for young people. “We look at artifacts and their stories but also look at the larger vision of change ” says Lacy, “and the powerful influence people have had through history on land use, shaping all our landscapes, even places that today appear wild. We want students to realize that they too hold this power in their hands and they need to be very thoughtful about the change they put in motion.” 

 

 

III. Cautionary Observations Points

 

While these trends provide are generally favorable to conservation there are also a number of circumstances that can create serious obstacles to successful conservation practice, particularly community-based efforts.  It is important to understand how these circumstances arise and their potential impact. for a significant optimism overall, there several factors that present challenges to contemporary conservation practice, particularly community-based frameworks.

 

 

 

Tyranny Oof Small Solutions

 

Community-based efforts by their nature are focused on a local scale, independent, diverse, and frequently geographically random.  With the ever increasing number of relatively small public or private conservation initiatives it is harder to predict whether these efforts are efficient, effective and will accomplish anything beyond their project boundaries.

 

The scatter-shot approach to these efforts confronts conservation leaders with a phenomenon called "the tyranny of small solutions.".  Community-based efforts may result in small, apparently independent conservation decisions made by individual communities, groups and governments that may, or may not achieve a predictable or desirable outcome.

 

 

Undervaluing Tthe Relationship Between People Aand Their Landscape 

 

On the whole, the trend in conservation practice is toward inclusiveness, collaboration and the valuing of local people’s knowledge and experience. However, work is still being done where people are still treated as “the problem,, or worse, they are object of condescension or they are largely circumvented in the process.  Many conservation practitioners and technical experts are not adequately trained and skilled in areas such as the building and maintaining of relationships, collaborative problem solving, and use of social science tools and analysis.

 

Abandonment Of Conservation Roles And Responsibilities

 

Chris Durney, in “Complex Systems and New Forms of Federal Agency Involvement”, writes, “Faced with a rapidly evolving electronic environment and greater demand—locally and nationally, for partnerships and empowerment of local decision makers, the deterministic approaches that have been employed up to now by many conservation agencies and organizations are no longer sufficient”.

 

Technology, democracy, partnerships and community-based efforts are shaking up old notions of appropriate roles and responsibilities particularly among government agencies. However, in many cases the delivery of services has not been redesigned to support and enhanced the capacity of community-based conservation organizations and efforts.

 

Home Rule and Fragmentation

 

Land use decision-making remains the responsibility of local and state governments. 

Home-rule and private property issues have made meaningful discussions of region wide growth and the conservation of larger landscapes extremely sensitive and often controversial.  Conservation organizations and agencies are, in some instances, reluctant to advance, or even discuss publicly, policies and alternatives that suggest any departure from a traditional emphasis on economic development or that might be perceived as infringing on private property rights.  Inability to identify and work towards larger common conservation interests, for example the protection of wildlife corridors, that would involve multiple ownerships and jurisdictions, contribute to continuing landscape fragmentation can lead to the erosion of values including habitat, scenic and cultural character and traditional agricultural land uses.  

 

 

In light of recent trends and constraints identified above, several principles emerge for reconstructing conservation in the 21st century.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IV. Practical Principles for Reconstructing Conservation in the 21st Century

 

The emergence of community-based conservation has shifted the center of gravity from top-down management strategies toward more decentralized, localized, place-based approaches.  This emphasis on local solutions and place-based strategies is balanced with a greater sense of larger regional and global contexts. 

The emergence of community-based conservation has shifted the center of gravity from top-down management strategies toward more decentralized, localized, place-based approaches.  This emphasis on local solutions and place-based strategies is balanced with a greater sense of larger regional and global contexts. 

Conservation practitioners are thinking at larger scales, looking at whole systems and landscapes. There is a growing emphasis on cross-boundary collaboration, interdisciplinary, and international perspectives.  Conservation is often most effective working across sectors. Today there is a more favorable environment for participatory activities and co-management, and a growing appreciation of how conservation can play an important role in enhancing public life and long-term economic prosperity and sustainability.

 

The ethical framework for conservation is also becoming more socially inclusive, focusing on broader community values and social equity.  There is also a greater respect for the cultural relationships that have developed between human communities and the natural world, often based on traditional local land use practices and a deep spiritual connection between people and place.[xvi]

 

The analysis s(explored in the previous section) createsCertain pthe framework for atrinciples toreflect key elements of successful work in conservation. The following set of principles comprehensivehowever,illustrate four components of an evolving framework for conservationis undergoing some fundamental change. Four themes people, dialogue,  and civil society; place knowledge; leadership; and creativity. – represent key components of this evolving framework for conservation.

  They include:

 

 

PEOPLE, DIALOGUE, AND CIVIL SOCIETY

 

1. Conservation is always about people.

 

Behind every successful conservation project is an outstanding man or woman.  Our  Conservation success is people-dependent and the way the work is conducted is crucially important.  The process needs to be fair, equitable, and open. Dialogue provides an exchange of ideas, reflecting the experience and point of view of all involved.  Trust and credibility are key and are established and maintained through action, not just words.  

 

Successful strategies acknowledge that all conservation partners, and both local and outside experts, are important. A vision for the future is built upon special knowledge of the landscapes and communities.

 

 

2. Conservation requires good civics, as well as good information.

 

The current generation of conservationists works to integrate good information with good civics.  Conservation thought and practice requires better understanding of the values of a community and its ecological, cultural and economical context.   

The conservation process is locally led, open to public discourse, interdisciplinary, and inclusive. Dialogue, relying on story, skill and experience, is used to exchange ideas and move the discussion beyond individual opinions and points of view.

 

Deciding what action to take to conserve a community, a landscape, and specific sites within it requires a process--an equation, to decide what actions should be taken; why, by whom, and how?  The process is consensus-based and agreement is secured at the beginning, and at every major decision point.

 

3.  Conservation creates a framework to integrate programs, interests, and points of view.

 

Landscapes and the conservation business are extraordinarily complex.  A framework to manage these places and activities involves cooperation with a complex array of stakeholders from all levels of the government and the private sector; strong communication; crossing traditional areas of responsibility; respect for other values and perspectives; and the spirit of "getting to yes."   Anne Swanson, in “Chesapeake Bay: Managing an Ecosystem” wrote about the difficulties encountered in place-based efforts including…defining management units, understanding the biological, physical, economic, and cultural factors at play, and structuring a management framework that properly integrates all the component parts.[xvii]  Ultimately, integration of programs, interests and points of view is essential to ensure the success of landscape conservation.

 

 

PLACE KNOWLEDGE

 

4.  Multi-disciplinary approaches are used to understand landscapes and communities.

 

Geographic context is essential in order to understand a region, watershed or site and to gain knowledge of the place, its inhabitants and all of the area’s physical, biological, and cultural history.  It is essential to recognize all environmental, community and economic values.

 

Conservationists use resource information and community visioning to answer the following  “McHargian” questions for a place (i.e. basin, physiographic region, site, etc.): What are the environments?  How did they come to be?  What physical, biological and social processes characterize them?  What tendencies do they exhibit?  What has been the effect of human use?  What is their current status?  What do we want for our future?[xviii]

 

5.  5.  Conservation must integrate programs, interests, and points of view to achieve healthy people, communities and landscapes. Anne Swanson, in “Chesapeake Bay: Managing and Ecosystem” wrote about the difficulties encountered in place-based efforts including…”defining management units, understanding the biological, physical, economic, and cultural factors at play, and structuring a management framework that properly integrates all the component parts”.  Landscapes and the conservation business are extraordinarily complex.  A framework to manage these places and activities must involve cooperation with a complex array of stakeholders from all levels of the government and the private sector; strong communication; crossing traditional areas of responsibility; respect for other values and perspectives; and  Conservationists think one size larger. 

 

Conservation leaders think one size larger than the scale that they are working at to ensure that they understand the relationship of their actions to other values, efforts and influences.  Ecology—biological, physical, and human - demonstrates that the ecological, social, economic and spatial context is important to consider in any conservation project or program.  It's important to recognize the relationship of conservation work to people, businesses, living resources and values most directly affected.

 

 

 

LEADERSHIP

 

6. Conservation leadership is about collaboration.

 

Although most conservationists will agree that it is more important to be successful in conservation than it is to be in charge, many efforts are thwarted because of “organization turf” and egos.  Successful conservation leaders have collaboration skills, share decision-making, responsibility, and recognition in order to achieve positive results.  Sharing conservation responsibility improves effectiveness, enhances equity, and builds organizational capacity.

8. Conservation must be approached by design and discovery.

 

Each landscape, community or site is unique and the conservation process used to respond to an opportunity or a problem must be hand-tailored to fit the unique set of circumstances.  Conservation initiatives must include a dynamic interplay of two salient features—a general emphasis on designed approaches and an openness to discovery—that appear to work together to create forward progress in working in places.

 

Frances Seymour wrote in, "Are Successful Community-based Conservation Projects Designed or Discovered" , that design means the use of tools, templates, methods or approaches that have been developed and proven outside a specific place and that are brought in to respond to specific concerns or issues.  Discovery, the flip side of the design coin, is the emergence of locally conceived and instituted actions developed to meet a particular need or demand that may have emerged or revealed itself during the conservation process.

 

Conservation leaders that are open to the dynamic interplay of designed and discovered approaches will be more effective at building on the successful traditions of a community or a landscape This "discovery approach" has the potential to reveal  and have many, many more alternatives to solving problems or seizing opportunities for conservation.

 

 

9. We must value Conservation success must be a higher priority than organizational power.  Although most conservationists will agree that it is more important to be successful in conservation than it is to be in charge, many efforts are thwarted because of “organization turf” and healthy egos.  Conservation efforts must be planned for success and leaders must be willing to share decision-making, responsibilities and the responsibility and recognition that comes with it in order to achieve positive results.  Sharing conservation responsibility will improve effectiveness, increase efficiency, enhance equity, fulfill missions more effectively, gain access to a larger resource base, increase predictability, improve employee morale and public relations.

 

7..  Conservation action is never just about money.

 

Even though fFunding is typically a high priority with public and private conservation agencies and organizations, .  However, successful conservation work is never dependent totally upon money.  Whether a conservation effort is successful or not always depends upon whether various stakeholders can agree on what they hope to achieve together.  If there is agreement on vision and on a conservation action, money never seems to be a problem.

 

CREATIVITY

 

8. Conservation is both design and discovery.

 

Each landscape, community, or site is unique and the conservation process used to respond to an opportunity or a problem is hand-tailored to fit the unique set of circumstances.  Conservation initiatives include a dynamic interplay of two salient features—a general emphasis on designed approaches and an openness to discovery—that work together to create forward progress.

 

Frances Seymour, author of Are Successful Community-based Conservation Projects Designed or Discovered? wrote that design means the use of tools, templates, methods or approaches that have been developed and proven outside a specific place and that are brought in to respond to specific concerns or issues.  Discovery is the emergence of locally conceived and instituted actions developed to meet a particular need or demand that may have emerged or revealed itself during the conservation process.[xix]

 

Conservation leaders that are open to the dynamic interplay of designed and discovered approaches are more effective at building on the successful traditions of a community and create more alternatives to solving problems and seizing opportunities for conservation.

 

 

V.   Conclusion

 

In response to nearly three decades of accelerating landscape change, dis-investment in urban areas, sprawling development, and biodiversity loss, a promising new direction of community-based conservation is emerging based on the fundamental principles outlined above. It is important, however, to recognize that community-based conservation work in today’s world can often be difficult, complicated, and challenging.  Success requires time, patience, and perseverance. There are few shortcuts or alternatives to a way of working that carefully builds and sustains long-term relationships, respects a process that is fundamentally democratic and inclusive, and is guided by sound conservation principles. 

 

The conservation community is challenged to continuously broaden it base and encourage an ongoing dialogue among people representing a wide variety of backgrounds and interests.  This dialogue can share conservation experiences working with wild lands and urban neighborhoods; public lands and private lands; tangible and intangible heritage; leisure and working landscapes; and the academy and practice.

 

Wendell Berry has written,  “…people now are living on the far side of a broken connection, and that this is potentially catastrophic.”[xx]  To reach out across to the far side of that broken connection, we will need to strengthen the potent ties that bind the people to places, to stories, and to one another.  We will also need leadership and imagination to better define a language for conservation that is more inclusionary than the paradigms of the 19th and 20th century.  We will need a conservation community that is ethical, democratic and humanistic in the broadest sense, as well as creative, entrepreneurial and intergenerational. Conservation that both taps and invests in the next generation is conservation that will have social capital for its own sustainability.

 

Endnotes



[i] Rick Bass,Rick.  Interview for Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park Exhibit “Celebrating Stewardship,, August 2000.

[ii] Stuart Cowan and Sim Van Der Ryn, Ecological Design (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1996).

[iii] John Elder, John, Rediscovering Mt. Tom, Orion Magazine, (Spring 19987): 31.

[iv] Dolores Hayden, Dolores The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA., 1995),  p.19. 1995

[v] Dwight Pithcaitley, Dwight. The Future Of The NPS History Program http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/historyfuture.htm,  February 2000

[vi] [vi] See, for example, National Park Service Advisory Board, National Parks for the 21st Century (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2001); Mechtild Rossler, “World Heritage Cultural Landscapes,” The George Wright Forum vol. 17, no. 1 (2000): 27-34; Bernd von Droste, Harold Plachter, and Mechtild Rossler, eds, Cultural Landscapes of Universal Value: Components of a Global Strategy (Jena: Gustav Fischer Verlag,1995).

[vii] Adrian. Phillips, “The nature of cultural landscapes – A nature conservation perspective,” Landscape Research vol. 23, no. 1 (2001): 37.

 

[viii] See, for example, Carl O.  Sauer, “The Morphology of Landscape,” in Land and Life: A Selection from the Writings of Carl Otwin Sauer, ed. John Leighly (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1963); Robert Melnick with Daniel Sponn and Emma Jane Saxe, Cultural Landscapes: Rural Historic Districts in the National Park System (Washington, D.C.:U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1984); and Cronon, William, ed. Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature (W.W.

Norton & Co., New York and London, 1995).

[ix] Bernd von Droste, Harold Plachter, and Mechtild Rossler, eds, Cultural Landscapes of Universal Value: Components of a Global Strategy (Jena: Gustav Fischer Verlag,1995).

[x] Robert D. Putnam, Robert. Bowling Alone, the Collapse and Revival of American Community (New York: Simon& Schuster, 2000New York, NY, 10020),. p. 19..

[xi] Gus Speth, Gus. A New Paradigm: Bring It On!”, Address to the Environmental Law Institute’s Thirtieth Annual AWward Dinner, Washington, D.C. 1999.

[xii] Peter Forbes, Peter, Trust for Public Land's Center for Land and People,

http://www.tpl.org, February 2002

[xiii]  dittoIbid.

[xiv] Northern Forest Center. Northern Forest Wealth Index: Exploring a Deeper Meaning of Wealth. (Concord, NH: Northern Forest Center, 2000).

[xv] Jack, Chin, Jack.Connecting Schools and Communities through Place-Based Education,” Paper presented at Essex Conference Center, Essex, Massachusetts. April 2001.

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[xvi] See, for example, David Western and R. Michael Wright, eds; Shirley C. Strum, assoc. ed. Natural Connections: Perspectives in Community-Based Conservation. Proceedings of a Workshop held in Airlee, VA, Oct. 18-22, 1993 (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1994); Ted Bernard and Jora Young. The Ecology of Hope: Communities Collaborate for Sustainability (Gabriola Island, British Columbia: New Society Publishers, 1997); Jim Howe, Ed McMahon, and Luther Propst. Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1997); Richard L. Knight, and Peter B. Landres, eds. Stewardship Across Boundaries (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1998); Sue Stolton and Nigel Dudley, eds. Partnerships for Protection: New Strategies for Planning and Management for Protected Areas (London: Earthscan Publications, Ltd., 1999); Jessica Brown, Nora Mitchell, and Fausto Sarmiento, eds. “Landscape Stewardship: New Directions in Conservation of Nature and Culture.” The George Wright Forum 17, no. 1 (2000); Jacquelyn L. Tuxill, ed. The Landscape of Conservation Stewardship: The Report of the Stewardship Initiative Feasibility Study. (Woodstock, VT: Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, The Woodstock Foundation, Inc., and Conservation Study Institute, 2000); Julia M. Wondolleck and Steven L.Yaffee. Making Collaboration Work: Lessons from Innovation in Natural Resource Management (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2000); and Jacquelyn L. Tuxill and Nora J. Mitchell, eds. Collaboration and Conservation: Lessons Learned in Areas Managed through National Park Service Partnership (Woodstock, VT: Conservation Study Institute, 2001).

[xvii] Anne Swanson, “Chesapeake Bay: Managing an Ecosystem.”

[xviii] Ian L. McHarg, Design With Nature, (Philadelphia,: Natural History Press, The Falcon Press,1969).

[xix] Frances J. Seymour, “Are Successful Community-based Conservation Projects Designed or Discovered?” in Natural Connections: Perspectives in Community-based Conservation, (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1996), p.473.

[xx] Wendell Berry, “In Distrust of Movements,” Orion (Summer 1999): 16