Working landscapes are the key

  High Country News has brought to the fore a critical environmental quandary: Should we protect species by any means necessary in the face of climate change or let nature take its course (HCN, 2/04/08)? There is another element of our response to climate change that deserves greater emphasis: management of working landscapes. A "let nature take its course" approach may be appropriate for parks and preserves, but most forests and rangelands are already driven by a management goal. Natural resource management goals can be adjusted to accommodate increased resistance and adaptation to climate change. Managed lands must be part of our response to climate change because they cover a much great area than parks or preserves ever will.

About 74 million acres of America's forest land is protected as a park or wilderness area, but there are about 512 million acres of working timberland. On these timberlands, changes in management choices can increase wildlife habitat or the health of native species, which in turn can add to the resilience and adaptation of our forests to an altered climate. Forest managers regularly plant trees after harvest, so planting species that may be better adapted to a new climate does not require a philosophical shift. Some working forests can even increase carbon sequestration by extending rotations, employing low impact logging practices, or other relatively small changes. In Western forests, burning logging residue and material removed in fuel reduction efforts to generate heat and/or electricity can help reduce fossil fuel consumption.

The preservation of unique ecosystems and charismatic species as climate changes is daunting. Management of working landscapes is a crucial tool to help us confront that challenge.

Alexander Evans
Forest Guild, Research Director
Santa Fe, New Mexico
High Country News Classifieds
  • GENERAL MANAGER
    The Board of UYWCD seeks a new GM to manage operations & to implement our robust strategic plan. Details at www.upperyampawater.com. EOE
  • IN TUCSON, FOR SALE: A BEAUTIFUL, CLASSIC MID-CENTURY MODERN HOME
    designed by architect David Swanson in 1966. Located a block from Saguaro National Forest, yet minutes to Downtown and the UofA campus, 3706 sqft, 6...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Friends of the San Juans is seeking a new leader guide our efforts to protect and restore the San Juan Islands and the Salish...
  • 80 ACRES
    straddles North Platte Fishery, Wyoming. Legal access 2 miles off 1-80. Call 720-440-7633.
  • DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT AND MARKETING
    High Country News seeks a Director of Product and Marketing to join our senior team during an exciting chapter of innovation and growth. This individual...
  • OWN A THRIVING MOUNTAIN GUIDE SERVICE.
    Eastern Sierra guide service for sale to person with vision & expertise to take it onwards. Since 1995 with USFS & NPS permits. Ideal for...
  • IMPROVED LOT
    Private road, hillside, views. Well, pad, septic, 99 sq.ft. hut. Dryland permaculture orchard. Wildlife. San Diego--long growing season
  • UNIQUE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
    Profitable off-the-grid business located 2 miles from Glacier National Park. Owner has 6 years operating experience. Seeking investor or partner for business expansion and enhancement....
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...