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Toward Holistic Landscape Conservation in the 21st Century

Michael B. Whitfield

December 2019, English

In America we enjoy an amazing conservation legacy. However, all of Planet Earth is in the midst of an environmental and social crisis. Here in the United States, observers often see conflict between efforts to conserve nature in the face of massive loss of biological diversity versus efforts to provide all our people with suitable housing and access to adequate food, clean air and water, and outdoor recreation. Yet both of these challenges are symptomatic of the same threats: a burgeoning human population with out-of-scale environmental impacts, ecological and social fragmentation, and the ever more serious threat of climate change. The emergence of landscape conservation through robust human community collaboration that provides for the non-human interests of wildlife and nature is seen as a necessary approach to meet these daunting challenges. Across the country there are many examples of conservation success through landscape collaboration, but the concept is hindered by incomplete application and a lack of suitable measures of program outcomes. In this paper we make a case for holistic landscape conservation efforts, discuss proposed elements for holistic landscape collaborations that meet both ecological and social goals, and examine the consequences of their implementation in multiple settings.


Conservation, Ecology, Environment