A Tribute to Aldo Leopold

linkurl:Aldo Leopold;http://www.aldoleopold.org/ is widely considered the father of the conservation movement. This Monday (Apr21) marks the 60th anniversary of his death. He died of a heart attack at age 61 while helping a Wisconsin neighbor fight a brush fire. Leopold's lasting gift was his enunciation of what he called a "land ethic" in his classic treatise on conservation, 1949's linkurl:__A Sand County Almanac__.;http://www.amazon.com/County-Almanac-Outdoor-Essays-Reflections/dp/0345345053

Margaret Guthrie
Apr 17, 2008
linkurl:Aldo Leopold;http://www.aldoleopold.org/ is widely considered the father of the conservation movement. This Monday (Apr21) marks the 60th anniversary of his death. He died of a heart attack at age 61 while helping a Wisconsin neighbor fight a brush fire. Leopold's lasting gift was his enunciation of what he called a "land ethic" in his classic treatise on conservation, 1949's linkurl:__A Sand County Almanac__.;http://www.amazon.com/County-Almanac-Outdoor-Essays-Reflections/dp/0345345053 I was given my first copy of __A Sand County Almanac__ in the 1980s when I was involved in efforts to preserve Wisconsin farmland from rampant development. I have since lost count of the copies I have purchased to give away or to replace one I had read and dog-eared into surrender. What Aldo Leopold said to me back then takes on even more weight in 2008 with linkurl:habitat loss,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/home/53525/ linkurl:land degradation;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/23277/ and linkurl:species extinction;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/daily/53232/ occurring at an ever-increasing pace. Born in 1887, Leopold grew up in...
versary of his death. He died of a heart attack at age 61 while helping a Wisconsin neighbor fight a brush fire. Leopold's lasting gift was his enunciation of what he called a "land ethic" in his classic treatise on conservation, 1949's linkurl:__A Sand County Almanac__.;http://www.amazon.com/County-Almanac-Outdoor-Essays-Reflections/dp/0345345053 I was given my first copy of __A Sand County Almanac__ in the 1980s when I was involved in efforts to preserve Wisconsin farmland from rampant development. I have since lost count of the copies I have purchased to give away or to replace one I had read and dog-eared into surrender. What Aldo Leopold said to me back then takes on even more weight in 2008 with linkurl:habitat loss,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/home/53525/ linkurl:land degradation;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/23277/ and linkurl:species extinction;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/daily/53232/ occurring at an ever-increasing pace. Born in 1887, Leopold grew up in Burlington, Iowa - a perfect place to foster his boyhood fascination with nature. He began keeping notebooks on his observations of lives of plants and animals; a habit that he would continue the rest of his life. He went to Yale's School of Forestry in 1906 (one of only three such schools in existence at the time) and completed his Master's degree in 1909. That year he accepted a position with the newly established linkurl:US Forest Service;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23016/ and was sent to Arizona and New Mexico. At age 24, he was promoted to supervisor for the linkurl:Carson National Forest;http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/carson/ in New Mexico. In 1922 he helped develop a proposal to manage another New Mexico forest - the linkurl:Gila National Forest;http://www2.srs.fs.fed.us/r3/gila/ - as an official wilderness area. Gila became the first such designated area two years later. 1924 saw Leopold's transfer to Madison, Wisconsin, where he continued to study ecology and conservation and began writing the first linkurl:textbook;http://www.amazon.com/Game-Management-Aldo-Leopold/dp/0299107744 on wildlife management, which was published in 1933 and is still used today. Also in 1933, he accepted the new chair of game management at the University of Wisconsin. Two years later, he purchased the worn-out farm that would become the setting for __A Sand County Almanac__, which contains his lyrical musings on humankind's use and abuse of land. __A Sand County Almanac__, which was published a year after Leopold's death, has been translated into nine languages with more than two million copies in print. Oxford University Press's Simon Lord says: "It's one of the most quoted 20th century books in our catalogue." Below are passages from __A Sand County Almanac__ that are as relevant today as they were Leopold wrote them more than 60 years ago. linkurl:Click here;http://images.the-scientist.com/content/images/news/41908/41908.html to view a slideshow with photos of Leopold against the backdrop of rural Wisconsin. (__Slideshow photos courtesy of the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Photo # 1 by Robert McCabe.__)From the essay "Wilderness for Science": __"There are two organisms whose processes of self-renewal have been subjected to human interference and control. One of these is man himself (medicine and public health) and the other is land (agriculture and conservation). "The effort to control the health of land has not been very successful. It is not generally understood that when soil loses fertility, or washes away faster than it forms, and when water systems exhibit abnormal floods and shortages, the land is sick? "In general, the trend of the evidence indicates that in land, just as in the human body, the symptoms may lie in one organ and the cause in another. The practices we now call conservation are, to a large extent, local alleviations of biotic pain. They are necessary, but they must not be confused with cures. The art of land doctoring is being practiced with vigor, but the science of land health is yet to be born."__ From the essay "Round River": __"Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land. By land is meant all things on, over or in the earth. Harmony with the land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators; you cannot conserve the waters and waste the ranges; you cannot build the forests and mine the farm."__ From the essay "Thinking like a Mountain": __"I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades. "So also with cows. The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf's job of trimming the herd to fit the range. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dustbowls and rivers washing the future into the seas."__

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