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Working Landscapes: The Future of Land Use Policy?

September 2015

Citation: 45 ELR 10833

Issue: 9

Author: Marc Miller, Thomas E. Sheridan, Susan Charnley, Christy Plumer, Jim Lyons, and Tom Martin

The history of land use in the American West has traditionally been one of conflict, but the divisive relationships between ranchers, foresters, land management agencies, recreational users, and conservationists are transforming. Grassroots coalitions have developed among unlikely allies. Together, they are advocating for management approaches that incorporate local knowledge, community needs, and sound environmental stewardship. This “collaborative conservation” is especially appropriate for promoting the conservation of working forests and rangelands, which are critical for maintaining the ecological and economic health of rural communities and landscapes in the American West. Recognizing this revolution in land management, a group of scholars, agency staff, landowners and managers, and leaders of community-based conservation groups compiled case studies, thoughtful observations, and policy recommendations in a new book, Stitching the West Back Together. On December 8, 2014, the editors of the book and stakeholder group representatives convened at an Environmental Law Institute seminar to provide a dynamic overview of the issues. This Dialogue presents a transcript of the event, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.

Marc Miller (moderator) is Dean & Professor of Law, University of Arizona College of Law, and Editor of the University of Chicago Press series Summits: Environmental Science, Law, & Policy. Thomas E. Sheridan, Ph.D., is a Research Anthropologist & Professor, University of Arizona, and Editor of Stitching the West Back Together. Susan Charnley, Ph.D., is a Research Social Scientist with the U.S. Forest Service, and Editor of Stitching the West Back Together. Christy Plumer was Director of the Federal Lands Program at The Nature Conservancy. Jim Lyons is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Tom Martin is President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation.

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