June 2016

Living Landscape Observer - Nature, Culture, Community
In This Issue
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September 1-5, 2016
 Honolulu, HI

November 15-17, 2016
Houston, TX

Conserving the Landscape of the Greater Sage Grouse

The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is found in the sagebrush steppe landscape of 11 states in the U.S. and 2 Canadian provinces. The bird is an iconic symbol of the continent's vast rangelands and even the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), not known for poetic flights of fancy, called it a charismatic bird. The bird has distinctive spiky plumage, but the species is even better known for its elaborate male courtship rituals.  In the spring, the male birds assemble in an open area known as a lek where they dance and strut in hopes of attracting the other sex. This is better watched than described - See video. (Insert here
It is also a bird in trouble. Its mating, nesting and food source all require broad swathes of sage grass uplands. The species has experienced wide population declines due to agricultural development, large-scale range improvements (sagebrush control), urban and exurban development, large wildfires, invasive plants and more recently energy development. 

Living Landscape Observer
COMOS and IUCN are partnering on a joint Nature-Culture Journey at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii (USA). The Journey will consist of a dedicated track of programming at the Congress' Forum from September 1-5 focused on connecting natural and cultural heritage practice.  Read more here .
Highway Planning at a Landscape Scale
Road construction and maintenance are among the most costly and, often times, destructive of public works endeavors. Yet, highways also serve a vital function in driving economic growth. What happens then, when a long-planned highway project, needed to improve the regional transportation infrastructure, runs up against new designations that look at the value of natural and cultural resources on a landscape scale? How can infrastructure development manage this changing preservation landscape?  Read the whole story and some recommendations for the future.

Guide to the Parks - Past, Present, Future
Last summer, I taught a college course on the History of U.S. National Parks. At the time, I lamented the relative lack of high-quality, scholarly, research on recent National Park history to share with my students. Fortunately for me, when I teach the class again this spring, I now have the book I was looking for - the recently published A Thinking Person's Guide to America's National Parks. Read more. 
In the News
Global warming is  forcing plants and animals to head uphill or north to find suitable habitat. Scientists have considered migration corridors - restored, healthy natural areas that connect current habitats with likely landing spots - as a way to help plants and animals stay a step ahead of climate change.  Read how corridors can reduce this risk in the recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Science .

A recent New York Times article raises the question, is this the end of the way of life for the Gladesmen of the Everglades? Read more about the topic in Tom King's July 2014 article in the Living Landscape Observer.   

Visit the Cultural Landscape Foundation's newly redesigned website. Under the banner of "Connecting People to Places", the site offers a rich trove of special events, historic information, properties at risk and the editor's favorite section Places: What's Out There - a searchable data base of the best in the nation's landscape heritage. An invaluable resource for travelers who care about their surroundings. 

The Practitioners' Network for Large Landscape Conservation recently issued its July 2016 newsletter, which is rich in resources and information on the Large Landscape Conservation movement. Sign up here for the next issue.
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.