September  2017

Living Landscape Observer - Nature, Culture, Community
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November 29-30, 2017
Washington, DC

December 11-15, 2017
Delhi, India

Living Landscape Observer
The Future of the Bureau of Land Management's 
Master Leasing Plans
T he Bureau of Land Management (BLM)  oversees 247 million acres of public land. Its multiple use mission means that the agency's responsibilities, as well as its stakeholders, vary tremendously. A primary task for BLM managers is overseeing leases for grazing, mining, and oil and gas drilling. Recreational activities also come under their purview. Administering such diverse interests can be especially challenging when activities occur adjacent to National Parks. To help reduce  conflicts between BLM decision-making and resource protection in parks, BLM has adopted a landscape-scale approach to reviewing proposed leasing  known as Master Leasing Plans. But today this strategy may be at risk. Read More.
Photo: Point Reyes National Seashore by Eleanor Mahoney
Point Reyes: A Landscape Indivisible? 
In this "Letter from Woodstock," originally published in the George Wright Forum, Rolf Diamant traces the complex and often contentious history of Point Reyes National Seashore. Diamant addresses recent controversies over aquaculture as well as attempts to broker an agreement on future land use regulations involving the Park Service, dairy and cattle ranchers, and environmental groups. Read the article here

Edward Abbey: The Seer of the Desert looks into the Future 
Re-reading Edward Abbey's classic 1968 work  Desert Solitaire brought forth some new revelations. Beyond Abbey's lyric descriptions of the desert landscape and his sketches of its memorable characters, the book offers predictions and recommendations for the future of western rivers, National Parks and wilderness areas. So what were three of his most compelling observations and did they ring true almost fifty years later? Read more.

Latest News and Information 

New England has been losing forestland to development at a rate of 65 acres per day, according to a new report released today by the Harvard Forest,  a research institute of Harvard University, and a team of authors from across the region. Public funding for land protection has also been steadily declining in all six New England states and is now half what it was at its 2008 peak; with land conservation trends following suit.
The Narrows Zion National Park. Courtesy of the NPS

While this is not exactly news, a recent article in the New York Times vividly illustrates the challenge of overcrowding and is a good companion piece to the Edward Abbey story above. 
The International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples
has called for support and legal protection for biocultural heritage landscapes and community conserved areas following an event in Peru. Part of the  inspiration for this event and the development of the  Potato Park Declaration   has been the success of recognizing this special landscape. The Declaration calls on governments to support efforts by indigenous mountain communities to protect their rich biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as their spiritual heritage and cultural identities, for food security, climate change adaptation and local economic development. 

About Us

The Living Landscape Observer is a website, blog and monthly e-newsletter that offers commentary and information on the emerging field of large landscape conservation. This approach emphasizes the preservation of a "sense of place" and blends ingredients of land conservation, heritage preservation, and sustainable community development. Learn more about how you can get involved or sign up for the newsletter here.  

Our Mission: To provide observations and information on the emerging fields of landscape scale conservation, heritage preservation and sustainable community development.