Private Lands, the New Conservation Frontier, A Maverick’s Thesis
By: Amos Eno
Private land stewardship cannot be coerced. It must be encouraged, incentivized, recognized, rewarded, highlighted through profiling innovative leaders, and above all, made clear and relatively straight forward. The RFF solution is to focus on actionable information in a neutral setting with a user friendly interface and a long reach into rural communities through networks of service providers listed in our yellow pages. RFF focuses on empowering landowners to engage in conservation activities with an innovative approach that involves a home computer, the internet, networks of local experts, and a searchable directory of information, resources, and local points of contact.
The traditional approach to complex conservation problems involved environmental activists, lawyers, policy makers, regulations, litigation, and legislation - the top-down approach. This approach often demonized farm, ranch and forest owners and placed the highest value on the environmental objective - often a designated place to conserve plants or wildlife. A private landowner’s needs, including their livelihood, intergenerational transfer of land, and the sustainability of their operations were discounted or ignored.
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