HOPE FOR THE LAND by Charles E. Little


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 An impassioned advocacy of land-use planning in America as an absolute necessity, from land-preservationist Little (Greenways for America, etc.--not reviewed). Drawing on a land ethic espoused by Aldo Leopold and others, Little argues for preservation based as much on aesthetic concerns as on matters of ecology and equity, since enjoyment of open spaces, he says, always plays an important role in determining what land should be protected for future generations. For the author, preservation isn't defined in terms of wilderness designation and public ownership--as he explains by detailing telling moments in his investigations of agricultural decline: his 1980 search for a model Vermont family farm singled out by Fortune in 1939, for example, resulting in the discovery that it had been sold to land speculators; or his recent trip to the Arkansas Delta region, where generations of independent black farmers have been squeezed out by farming on the High Plains. Little sees the loss of these farms as stemming from a lack of adequate regional and community planning, underscoring the necessity of including ``working landscapes'' in any preservation arrangement. The same principles, he says, apply to forest management and to maintaining a balance in larger ecosystems such as the Greater Yellowstone. Using efforts involving the New Jersey Pine Barrens and the Adirondacks of New York as examples, Little sees a coordinated policy-making that integrates the needs both of the public and of private owners as the brightest hope for land preservation. A lyrical and thoughtful analysis, offering compelling evidence in support of effective land stewardship based on collective action.

Pub Date: May 20th, 1992
ISBN: 0-8135-1802-4
Page count: 228pp
Publisher: Rutgers Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1992