you ever walked around in a store with shelves filled with expensive
fine china and glass? You probably were extremely careful because
you didn't want to break anything fragile. Just like a store that
sells china, some ecosystems are fragile. An ecosystem is a community
of organisms and their physical environment. They work together as
a unit. When one part of an ecosystem is changed or damaged, the rest
of the ecosystem is also changed or damaged.
When humans interact
with ecosystems, bad results can happen, especially in fragile places.
We have the potential to cause a lot of problems (and break a lot
of glass!). When we build homes or businesses, we impact the ecosystems
in that area by removing plants, displacing animals, and changing
the watershed. Ecosystems pay the price when humans make poor decisions
while developing or working in areas. Biodiversity, the mix of plants
and animals, is at risk. Water quality is jeopardized. Soil erodes.
We all want more jobs,
more money, and more places to shop and eat. So, how can we balance
the need for economic development with the need to sustain the fragile
ecosystems we build in? How can we walk around the store filled
with glass without knocking all of the shelves over?
example of healthy economic development within a working landscape
might be a farm. Working the land provides economic support to the
farming family. Farmers support and sustain the health of the land
when they make ecologically thoughtful decisions. If the scales
start to tilt to productivity rather than conservation, the farm
can be an unhealthy example of economic development within a working
landscape. Successfully balancing the productivity of the land with
proper conservation practices makes a farm a good economic development
element within a working landscape. It's a tricky balancing act.
Some people feel that sacrificing land, plants, and animals is okay
in order for people to make money on businesses and residential
development. Others would rather ban economic development within
fragile ecosystems. Still others think that both can co-exist peacefully,
but this peaceful co-existence takes constant hard work.
development within a successful working landscape relies on sustainable
development. Sustainable development requires that people don't
just act in their own best interests. Money needs to be made from
the landscape while the landscape gets the care it needs to thrive.
As we look into the
future of economic development within working landscapes, we need
to strike that delicate balance between what we need and what our
ecosystems need. We need to make decisions on which is more important
and if they can both co-exist.
do you think?
In what ways can economic development and a working landscape co-exist?
A Natural Resource
is perhaps the most familiar product developed from natural resources.
is Doing Business on a Working Landscape?
businesses use land. Explore how they use it and what they use it
Media Mogul and Working Landscape Architect
Turner is the largest private landowner in the United States. This
media billionaire (owner of TBS, CNN, TNT, the Cartoon Network)
owns nearly two million acres of ranchland in Florida, Kansas, Montana,
Nebraska, New Mexico, South Carolina, and South Dakota. More
to Market Links
found in small scale wind projects
wind researchers have often called the upper Midwest the Saudi Arabia
of wind power. If the wind potential for the entire region were
completely utilized, it is estimated the energy produced would supply
more power than the entire united states could use.
down any grocery aisle of snack chips and the implied "healthier"
options can be overwhelming. There is "low fat"
free and less sodium"
and "reduced fat."
Concern over food quality is spurring growth in the development
of organic products and an increase in the number of retail outlets
selling organic foods.
California Distributor Connects Farmers & Chefs Through Web
Farmer and high-tech guru Brian Gardiner applies his skills to make
the distance shorter from "field to fork."
Profit From Less Acres
While conventional agriculture seems to be expanding acreage to
make ends meet, some savvy marketers are making money growing less
traditional crops on a fraction of the land used by an average farm.
venture finds place in local groceries
A cooperative of Oregon organic growers are joining forces to sell
their bounty to local grocery stores.
market grows a booming business
sales of organic produce and products have, over the last 8 years,
grown at an annual rate of better than 20%.
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
scale hog production controversy lingers
Today, as one of the nations most prolific pork producers,
and despite a series of legal challenges, premium standard farms
remains a prime example of the influence that a large, well-financed
corporation can wield in rural America.
Wrestles With Landmark CAFO Bill
In recent years states in a variety of ways have come to grips with
issues provoked by large-scale animal feeding operations.
Issues Trouble Rural America
Grain processors are concerned the Mississippi would become the
major grain transportation route causing the price of shipping to
rise as much as 40%. Farmers are worried the river would return
to its destructive flood- prone ways.
Target Big Pork
In recent days hefty fines have been levied on pork operations found
guilty of violating environmental regulations. Most of the fines
were attributable to the improper handling and disposal of manure.
In the United
States' southeast region, states like Tennessee are having issues
with logging. Some loggers have switched from selective loggingcutting
down the largest and most valuable treesto clear cutting entire
what outdoor enthusiasts, property owners, loggers, and local politicians
have to say about selective logging.
a rock used in insulation and potting soil, was mined in Libby,
Montana. Unfortunately, so was asbestosa mineral that causes
lung damage. Learn
how the residents of Libby are dealing with the fallout.