Buying Nature: The Limits of Land Acquisition as a Conservation Strategy, 1780-2004

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Overview

Buying land to conserve it is not a recent phenomenon. Buying Nature chronicles the evolution of land acquisition as a conservation strategy in the
United States since the late 1700s. It goes beyond the usual focus on conservation successes to provide a critical assessment of both public and private land acquisition efforts.The book shows that for more than 200 years, both private purchasers -- such as the Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land -- and governmental agencies have acquired land for conservation. It documents trends of growing complexity in transactions and a blurring of public and private roles. The preservation of Mount Vernon and its grounds, for example, began with a private group -- the Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union -- and continues today with a mosaic of private, state, and federal actors. The current emphasis on private land trust acquisitions, the authors argue, may undercut other effective governmental efforts to preserve the environment and may not be the best way to meet conservation goals.Buying Nature emphasizes the accountability issues that arise when the line between public and private efforts is indistinct. The authors also pay unique attention to how federal land agencies' individual histories shape their participation in modern land acquisition transactions. An unusual mix of scholarship, the book combines political, legal and constitutional, and economic history with rich case studies of land conservation and quantitative analyses of acquisitions over time to provide a new and distinctive perspective on enduring questions of public policy and environmental protection.

The MIT Press

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

"This book makes an important contribution to an ongoing discussion of global environmental governance, and it is a wonderful balance to the many works that see globalization as both inevitable and mostly good. The picture of the global and the local that emerges is complex, nuanced, contextual, and very interesting.
Its readability and accessibility to an interdisciplinary audience will make it highly attractive to graduate and undergraduate course adoption in a variety of disciplines."--Helen Ingram, Professor of Political Science and Warmington Endowed
Chair in the School of Social Ecology, University of California, IrvinePlease note:
Endorser gives permission to excerpt from quote.

The MIT Press

" Buying Nature is the definitive work on land acquisition for conservation purposes in the United States. With its sweeping history and critical assessment of public and private policies, the book redefines how we think and how we should think about land acquisition. The wealth of information alone will make Buying Nature a standard reference for academics and practitioners for years to come. The policy critique makes this information immediately relevant." Craig W. Thomas, Department of Political Science,
University of Massachusetts Amherst

The MIT Press

"The authors of Buying Nature use their considerable interdisciplinary talent to make sense of the patchwork practices of land conservation in the United States. The compelling evidence they marshal defies all simple solutions dictated by ideology. The book is required reading for anyone interested in natural resources policy." Helen Ingram, Professor of Political
Science and Warmington Endowed Chair in the School of Social Ecology, University of
California, Irvine

The MIT Press

"This book takes ideas Gottlieb first introduced in his excellent book
*Forcing the Spring* and extends them in important new conceptual and concrete ways.
He effectively broadens conceptions of the environment to include issues that are generally taken to be more industrial or agricultural. The arguments he makes for taking a broader view are most persuasive and hopeful. They show a way for the environment to become more than the narrow regulatory subject it is now."--Helen
Ingram, Professor of Political Science and Warmington Endowed Chair in the School of
Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine

The MIT Press

"*Buying Nature* is the definitive work on land acquisition for conservation purposes in the United States. With its sweeping history and critical assessment of public and private policies, the book redefines how we think - and how we should think - about land acquisition. The wealth of information alone will make
*Buying Nature* a standard reference for academics and practitioners for years to come. The policy critique makes this information immediately relevant."--Craig W.
Thomas, Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts
Amherst

The MIT Press

"The authors of *Buying Nature* use their considerable interdisciplinary talent to make sense of the patchwork practices of land conservation in the United
States. The compelling evidence they marshal defies all simple solutions dictated by ideology. The book is required reading for anyone interested in natural resources policy."--Helen Ingram, Professor of Political Science and Warmington Endowed Chair in the School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine

The MIT Press

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Sally K. Fairfax is Henry J. Vaux Distinguished Professor Emerita in the
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of
California, Berkeley.

Lauren Gwin is Research Associate in the Department of Agriculture and Resource
Economics at Oregon State University and cofounder and coordinator of the Niche Meat
Processor Assistance Network.

Mary Ann King is an MS student in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy,
and Management at the University of California, Berkeley.

Leigh Raymond is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at
Purdue University.

Laura A. Watt is an environmental planner at EDAW, Inc.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword ix
Preface xiii
List of Acronyms xvii
1 Acquisition Myths and Realities 1
2 From the Confederated Congress Through the Civil War, 1780-1865 21
3 Changing Expectations: From the Civil War to the Weeks Act, 1865-1911 41
4 Between the Roosevelts, 1912-1932 75
5 Conservation Land Acquisition During the Depression and World War II, 1933-1953 103
6 Roots of Change, 1953-1979 133
7 Mosaics in the Reagan Revolution 171
8 Megadeals and Management Mosaics in the 1990s 203
9 Conclusions 245
Notes 273
References 299
Cases Cited 329
Index 331
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