Working Lands Conservation Offers Path to Sustainable Land Use

Lead Author: Dr. Sarah Stai

Publish date: 02.22.2011


Global environmentalism has created a demand for sustainable use of resources in all sectors of human enterprise, from energy to agriculture to forestry.  Land itself is a resource that presents special challenges because, as Will Rogers so aptly put it, “The trouble with land is they’re not making it anymore.”


Sustainable land use requires that people be able to meet their basic needs for food, fiber, and shelter and have a good quality of life while also allowing essential ecosystem services such as soil formation, groundwater recharge, and climate regulation to occur. Considerable attention is given to the predominance of urban development and agriculture and how these land uses tend to interfere with ecosystem function.  It is also important to consider, however, the degree to which our limited land areas are affected by efforts to conserve soil, water, wildlife habitat, and other natural resources.  This report highlights recent trends toward the integration of resource conservation with other land uses and the benefits of a multi-functional approach to land use.