Photo by Casey Stemler/USFWS

What is Your Perspective of Land?

Our time on earth is brief, yet the land goes on forever, carrying with it the marks of each succeeding landowner. As fleeting trespassers on land that belongs to future generations, we must touch the land gently, caring for it as true stewards, so that those who assess our record will see our love and respect for the land and life. (Robert G. Oetting)

I find this quote thought-provoking because, regardless of perspective, the author is speaking to every landowner, land manager, land planner or “user” of the land. However, depending on personal values various “users” of land can impact the land much differently. Case in point is the photo above. Obviously, the landowner on the left of the fence sees the benefit of grass, whereas the owner on the right sees the benefit of a commodity crop over the grass, so the grass was plowed under. The landowners hold different values driving these decisions about how to manage their lands.

As conservationists, is it our role to “change” values? I think some respondents would say “yes” while others would say “no.” Perhaps the relevant question to ask is, “what is necessary for long-term sust