working landscape strikes a balance between our economic, ecological,
and social needs. Its also a sign we have successfully responded
a number of issues. Those issues include: land ownership, neighbors
land practices, natural resources, tourism, government presence, business,
urban sprawl, and agriculture. So, is a working landscape desirable?
In other words, "is it worth it?" Is it worth the trouble,
the effort, the time, the money, and the sacrifice? Perhaps the best
answer is that it depends on the landscape.
are some landscapes taken out of production in order to retain their
natural states for the foreseeable future. These are ecologically
important because they are one-of-a-kind places. They may have rare
animals, or a unique geological composition, or cultural importance.
Because of their unique qualities, these locations are not good
candidates to become working landscapes.
landscapes are uninhabited by humans and not used for economic gain.
These are remote areas where economic prospects have not been identified
and the conditions are too harsh for human survival. The salt flats
of Utah, the arctic tundra, and the desert areas in the southwest
are three examples. Because these landscapes would take too much
money and effort to make livable, these locations are not good candidates
to become working landscapes.
few landscapes have been drastically altered through human actions.
They no longer support once native inhabitants. They can't support
profitable human economic activity without importing raw materials.
Examples include the deforested areas of tropical rainforests, and
large feedlots found throughout the Midwest. Because of their lack
of economic prospects, these locations are not good candidates to
become working landscapes.
yard around a house, the side of a road, and city parks and recreation
areas are examples of landscapes that are impacted by humans, but
not directly used for economic gain. These areas can be actively
managed to provide the necessary habitat for some plants and animals,
but they cannot be considered working landscapes.
are landscapes inhabited or used by humans in such a way that native
plants and animals are able to continue existing in the area in
sustainable populations while at the same time the landowners achieve
economic gain. Because these locations provide economic prospects
while maintaining the areas ecology and provide a social dimension,
they can be considered working landscapes.
We dont just
find working landscapes. We have to make them. Creating a working
landscape means that we have to make economic, ecological,
and social compromises.
do you think?
When is a working landscape desirable? When is it not?
Not a Working Landscape
A preserved landscape
is a habitat area that is taken out of production so it can retain
its natural state into the future. This is land with a quality or
characteristic that makes it distinct and unique.
Loess Hills as a Working Landscape
and globally significant," that is how the Loess Hills of western
Iowa have been described. The 200-mile expanse of hills contains
many distinctive ecosystems and vistas.
Ways of Looking at Landscapes
are many types of landscapes. Some are more usable than others.
The natural state of the land may prevent people from using it.
Human actions can limit the use of land as well.
Market to Market Links
Warming Report Released
Climate change is likely to create more weather extremes such as
flooding and drought
Non-traditional Crops Take Front Seat in Farm Bill Debate
The House version of the farm bill calls for an increase in the
size of the Conservation Reserve Program to 40 million acres. It
also seeks a 75 percent increase in baseline spending for other
Newshour Online Links
Babbit, former Secretary of the Interior, discusses what it took
for him to get
people together around public land, monuments, forests, and
of Minnesota, Extension Service
These pages look at the relationship between Minnesotans and their
land. Many topics relate directly to working landscapes.
Scientific American Frontiers
has a whole site dedicated to wild places. Learn about biodiversity
from the man who coined the term. Or read how prairies and bison