Public Lands and Waters and Changes in Conservation

Mike Dombeck

in The Vanishing Present: Wisconsin's Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780226871714
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226871745 | DOI:
Public Lands and Waters and Changes in Conservation

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This chapter examines biocultural landscapes through the dual lenses of biology and policy. It suggests that great advances in conservation were always preceded by changes in public attitudes. Today, few believe that we have a moral duty to squander our natural resources, yet the opposite was true 150 years ago when clearing the forests for timber and agriculture was deemed a moral imperative. The great conservation movement of the early twentieth century shifted the dominant paradigm, making it possible to set aside public lands, protect threatened birds and mammals, and assign the Civilian Conservation Corps the job of restoring habitats. Paradigms shifted again during the 1960s and 1970s as we began to protect air and water quality in earnest and extended protection to a wide set of endangered species. The chapter concludes that future generations will only have the opportunity to experience and enjoy the forests, waters, and wildlife we have today if we collectively embrace the notion that these are communities to which we belong.

Keywords: biocultural landscapes; conservation; public attitudes; endangered species; water quality

Chapter.  2557 words. 

Subjects: Biodiversity and Conservation Biology

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