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A Brief History of Conservation


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Title: A Brief History of Conservation

A Brief History of Conservation
History of Conservation
Major Developmental periods in human history
  • Hunters and gatherers
  • 95 of our history as a species we were nomadic
    hunters, gatherers.
  • Nature was feared, respected, worshipped
  • Agricultural revolutions
  • plant crops, as a necessity?
  • cities, communities form.
  • Industrial Revolution
  • tremendous power to change environment.
  • Exploitive
  • Conservation-Environmentalism

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Hunter-Gatherer Culture
  • Include Native Californian cultures
  • Nomadic
  • Hunters followed games seasonal movement inland,
    more stationary along coast.
  • Moved on when resources where being reduced,
    allowing for recovery
  • Environmental impact was limited and local
  • Small populations
  • Little resource demand per person
  • Intimate knowledge of natural surroundings
  • local medicines, foods, seasonal animal
  • Generally work with natural processes
  • Native Californians burning forests to maintain
    open Oak woodlands
  • Technology limited their ability to disturb

Miwok and Ohlone
The Agricultural Revolution
  • Agriculture formed 10-12,000 years ago
  • Settled communities, domestication of crops and
  • beginning of cities
  • Hard to move in response to drought, resource
  • Shifting cultivation and slash and burn
  • Basically Sustainable resource use
  • Limited to human muscle power and animals.
  • Tool designed advances yields
  • Excess food allows for people to dedicate
    themselves to arts, etc.
  • Demand for nutrients deforestation,water
    resources increases impact on enviroment

Slash and Burn, shifting cultivation
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The Industrial Revolution 1700-1800s
  • Increased reliance on machinery
  • More resource exploitation,
  • mining not sustainable
  • non renewable fossil fuels
  • Pollution becomes large problem
  • Polluted waters, wastes dumped in rivers
  • Burning of coal, oil pollute air
  • Dramatic increase of impact on environment
  • Deforestation rampant in US, Strip mining
  • Hydro-mining for Gold in Sierras pollute Bay
  • Californias Redwoods disappearing

  • Expanded search for new resources and markets
    fuels colonialism in America, Africa, Asia
  • Exploitation of resources requires cheap labor-
  • slavery spreads across colonies
  • Large cities form as Factory towns, grow many
    more people move to cities
  • Crop yields expand, but need the machinery and
  • Feed more people with less land
  • Old Style farms cant compete
  • Follows Fundamental Christian / Biblical Views
  • Dominate the lands and animals
  • Be fruitful and multiple
  • Purpose of land is to serve us

Hydraulic mining
Redwood Logging TrainSave the Redwoods League
Big Basin
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Conservation 1900s
  • Recognize depletion of resources
  • Study effects of Pollution
  • Colonies seek independence
  • World Population growth soars
  • Political Activism spreads
  • Europe changes after world wars
  • Socialism takes hold
  • Better societies dreamed of

The Information Revolution/Globalization
  • Information Revolution
  • Rate of information increase and speed of
  • Get information to/from of all parts of
    developing world
  • Globalization
  • Move food bought sold everywhere
  • Harder to control your own crops, imports
  • Decrease in cultural diversity
  • Same products world wide
  • Decrease in crop, bio diversity

  • Provide for current use without undermining
    future generations ability to use and enjoy the
    same resources.
  • Post- Industrial movement, still forming.
  • Organic foods
  • Will need even more technology,better
    distribution systems
  • Emergence of Biotechnology
  • Population growth, migration

Environmental History in the United States Four
  • Tribal
  • before 1607
  • Colonial / Frontier
  • 1700s to 1890
  • Conservation
  • late 1800s to 1960
  • Environmental
  • 1960s to 1980s - today
  • Sustainability
  • Tomorrow ?

The Tribal Eras
  • Tribal Era Native Americans before 1607 and
    European settlers arrive.
  • Native Americans generally low-impact
    hunter-gather or agricultural societies
  • Deep respect for the land its animals.
  • Most did not have private ownership of lands
  • All Lands held by group as a whole
  • Need large areas to maintain hunter gatherer

Frontier Era Industrialization
  • Frontier Environmental Worldview European
    Settlement (1607-1890)
  • Significant impact as wilderness frontier was
  • Resources seemed unlimited
  • Forests cleared for agriculture, fuel
  • Wild lands viewed as dangerous
  • Predators threaten settlers Bears
  • Attack the savages living there
  • Huge land tracts given away by Federal
    Government to Homesteaders
  • Ends in 1890, but romanticism of the era remains
    in US culture

The Early Conservation Era
  • Period 1832-1960
  • Concern over resource use
  • Preservation of public lands
  • Public health initiatives
  • Environmental restoration projects

Conservation Era 1832-1960Cycles of Crisis and
  • Concern over resource use
  • Loss of Eastern Deciduous Forest
  • Evolution Darwins views
  • Placed humans in nature instead of apart from
  • Non-biblical view of nature, against domination
  • Preservation of public lands
  • Public health initiatives
  • Environmental restoration projects
  • Ecology emerges as a distinct branch in
    biological science

Some Important US Conservation Figures
  • Perkins Marsh (1801-1882)
  • Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
  • John Muir (1838-1914)
  • Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946)
  • Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
  • Alice Hamilton (1869-1970)
  • Aldo Leopold (1887- 1948)
  • Rachel Carson (1907-1964)

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
  • Wrote of nostalgia for lost wilderness
  • Left with a tamer, and as it were, emasculated
  • Lived in cabin on Walden Pond 26 months, wrote
    book in 1854
  • Advocated rejecting material goods
  • Sought harmony by contemplation and scientific
    study of nature
  • Advocated each city / town have a large park or
    primitive forest

Perkins Marsh
  • Congressman from Vermont
  • Scientist early ecologist studied resource
    conservation priciples
  • Ambassador to Turkey (1849-54) Italy (1861-1882)
  • Called "the fountain- head of the conservation
  • Marsh became convinced that human civilization
    had remade the natural world but with disastrous
  • Wrote Man and Nature (1864). Warnings about
    uncontrolled spoiling of the environment from
    observations of his travels.

John Muir
  • Geologist, Explorer, Naturalist, Writer
  • President and Founder of Sierra Club in 1892
  • Did not hold public office
  • Influenced others by his writings
  • Traveled widely, wrote of his observations of
  • Influenced by temporary blinding accident while
  • Loved Yosemite, and the Sierras
  • Wanted to open up access to Sierras
  • Opposed forest logging and burning,
  • Opposed running cattle, sheep in Sierras
  • Opposed Hetch Hetchy Project
  • Influential in getting Teddy Roosevelt to add
    lands to National Park System
  • Promoted wilderness areas adopted in 1964

John Muir
  • Promoted Biocentric Conservation
  • The world we are told was made for man. A
    presumption that is totally unsupported by the
    facts... Natures object in making animals and
    plants might possibly be first of all the
    happiness of each one of them... Why ought man to
    value himself as more than an infinitely small
    unit of one great creation?
  • Establish Parks to preserve pristine environment

Gifford Pinchot
Promoted a pragmatic Wise Use or Utilitarian
  • First native born professional forester, becomes
    Director of Forestry for Roosevelt
  • Conserve not because they are beautiful or
    because they shelter wild creatures of the
    wilderness, but only to provide homes and jobs
    for people. Resources used for the greatest
    good, for the greatest number pf people, for the
    longest time.
  • National forests are to provide trees for your
    grandkids to go cut down.
  • Supported damming Hetch Hetchy

Theodore Roosevelt
  • We have become great because of the lavish use
    of our resources. But the time has come to
    inquire seriously what will happen when our
    forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the
    oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils
    have still further impoverished and washed into
    the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the
    fields and obstructing navigation."

Theodore Roosevelt
  • 26th President of United States (1901-1909)
  • Republican - Liberal party of the time (like
  • Loved outdoors- most important conservationist
  • Hunter recognizes need to save land, animals to
    hunt in the future
  • Game legislation established
  • Wants to conserve resources
  • Expands national forests
  • Wants to protect endangered species
  • Set us first national wildlife refuges
  • Egrets being killed off for plumes for hats
  • First National figure to take up Conservation

Theodore Roosevelts Major Conservation
  • Congress grants President authority to designate
    public land as wildlife refuges and monuments
  • Antiquities Act
  • First federal refuge at Pelican bay Florida, 1903
    to save Brown Pelican
  • Designated Grand Canyon a protected area
  • National Park Service will become law in 1916
    under Woodrow Wilson
  • Established US Bureau of Reclamation
  • More than tripled size of National Forest lands,
    moved to USDA for enforcement

  • Both Pinchot and Muir held Roosevelts ear.
  • Roosevelt agreed with both points of view.
  • Roosevelt expands national forests to conserve
    resources (Pinchot)
  • Roosevelt sets up national parks, monuments for
    conservation of species (Muir).

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Private Groups Step in
  • Sierra Club 1892
  • Audubon Society 1886
  • Pushed for refuges to be established
  • Wilderness Society 1935
  • Ducks Unlimited 1937
  • First Nonprofit group dedicated to preserving
    wetlands by buying marsh lands to save them for
  • Nature Conservancy 1951
  • Buy lands to preserve them
  • Green peace 1971
  • Political Activists

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Environmental Era 1960 - 2000
  • Political Activism period
  • Environmental Movements
  • Green Political Parties form

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Alice Hamilton1869-1970
  • Founder of occupational medicine
  • First woman professor at Harvard Medical School
  • Study health hazards in the workplace
  • Wrote Industrial Poisons in the United States
  • Opposed lead in paint, gasoline
  • Work to get several worker's compensation laws
    passed in Illinois and elsewhere.
  • Strong advocate of pollution prevention testing
    new materials before their release as products.

Alice Hamiltons work
  • I don't know what your Company is feeling as of
    today about the work of Dr. Alice Hamilton on
    benzol benzene poisoning. I know that back in
    the old days some of your boys used to think that
    she was a plain nuisance and just picking on you
    for luck. But I have a hunch that as you have
    learned more about the subject, men like your
    good self have grown to realize the debt that
    society owes her for her crusade. I am pretty
    sure that she has saved the lives of a great many
    girls in can-making plants and I would hate to
    think that you didn't agree with me.
  • Dewey to S. P. Miller, 9 February 1933,

Aldo Leopold
  • Founding father of wildlife ecology,
  • Text Book Game Management (1933)
  • Stressed Land Ethic
  • Stressed importance of ecosystem (living and non
    living resources)
  • In 1935, purchased a worn-out farm near the sand
    counties. It is here Leopold put into action his
    beliefs that the same tools people used to
    disrupt the landscape could also be used to
    rebuild it.
  • Wrote Sand County Almanac, published
  • One of Wilderness Society founders

Land Ethic
  • The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of
    the community to include soils, waters, plants,
    and animals, or collectively the land.
  • A land ethic of course cannot prevent the
    alteration, management, and use of these
    'resources,' but it does affirm their right to
    continued existence, and, at least in spots,
    their continued existence in a natural state.
    -- Aldo Leopold

Environmental Era 1960-
  • Grassroots efforts activate citizens to demand
    the government
  • Curtail pollution
  • Clean up polluted environments
  • Protect pristine areas from degradation
  • Rachel Carlson's 1962 book broadens resource
    conservation to include the quality of our air,
    water soil, and wildlife. Not just focus on
    specific properties, species.

Rachel Carson (1907-1964)
  • Aquatic biologist for U.S. Fish and Wildlife
  • WroteThe Sea Around Us, published in 1961
  • Silent Spring, was published in 1962.
  • Warned about the toxic role of DDT in ecosystems
  • Started Environmentalism movement
  • President Kennedys Science Advisory Committee
    confirmed her results in 1963
  • In 1980, Carson was posthumously awarded the
    presidential Medal of Freedom

Some Key Environmental Events
  • 1974 CFCs shown to deplete ozone
  • 1978 Love canal evacuated in New York
  • 1979 Three Mile Island Accident
  • 1984 Bhopal India chemical plant accident kills
    5,000, injures 50,000
  • 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant explodes
  • 1989 Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska

Spaceship Earth
  • 1969 Apollo Mission photos changes how world
    views itself

Earth Day
  • Created by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970.

Legislation milestones
  • 1964 Wilderness Act
  • 1970 Environmental Impact Reports required on
    Federal projects. States Follow suit.
  • 1970 EPA founded
  • 1970 Clean Air Act Amendments
  • 1972 Oregon passes first bottle recycling
  • 1972 Clean Water Act
  • 1973 Endangered Species Act
  • 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act
  • 1976 Toxic substances Control Act
  • 1980 Superfund Act

Modern Environmental Activism Period
  • spanned Several administrations
  • Nixon (1969-1974)
  • Ford (1974-1977)
  • Carter (1977-1981)
  • Periods Stops with Ronald Reagan
  • Appoints James Watt secretary of Interior.
  • Supports an Anti-environment Wise-Use Movement
    funded by ranchers, farmers, timber companies
    unhappy with regulations limiting their

Anti-Environment backlash
  • After years of success the environmentalism
    movement grinds to halt with Reagan and Watt.

James Watt Secretary of Interior
  • Under Reagan
  • Very conservative, religious man
  • Only 2and half years
  • Policies outraged the environmental communities

1990s Bill Clinton
President 1993-2001
  • Gives key positions to environmentalists
  • Consulted with environmental groups to formulate
    new policies
  • Vetoed anti-environmental bills from congress
  • Up SUV gas emissions standards
  • Used Antiquities Act to preserve more land than
    any other president.
  • Limited roads, logging in areas of national

Bruce Babbitt Secretary of Interior
G W Bush 2001-2009
  • Former Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton
  • 2001-2006

Current Secretary -
  • Former Governor (R-Idaho), Dirk Kempthorne US
    Secretary of the Interior 2006- 2009.
  • Pro-development track record
  • Wants to open 3.6 million acres in the Gulf of
    Mexico to oil and gas drilling
  • Supports drilling in the Arctic refuge
  • National park Service Centennial Projects

Many Modern Issues are Global
  • Ocean Pollution
  • Whaling accords
  • Kyoto accord greenhouse gasses
  • World trade
  • Cruise ship air pollution, garbage dumping
  • Nuclear wastes, fuels
  • Oil spills
  • Water wars

How our View of Nature has changed as well
  • Hunter gatherer
  • Stewardship / Dependence
  • A general respect and awe for nature
  • Agricultural revolution
  • Domination of the land.
  • humans and nature as equal partners
  • Industrial Revolution
  • Consumerism - Exploitation
  • Nature was made to serve humans
  • Sustainability
  • Nature needs us to save her
  • Land Ethic

Conservation Case Studies
  • North American Bison
  • California Sea Otters
  • Whopping Crane
  • Peregrine falcon
  • Everglades

Disappearance of the North American Bison Herds
  • Restored from 85 in 1906 to 200,000 today

California Sea Otters

Sea Otter decline
  • In Alaska due to fisheries collapse and predation
    by Orcas
  • In California by a pathogenic bacteria
  • From cats on land?

Whopping Crane
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California Condor
Peregrine falcon
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Threats to Species
  • Over-harvesting of food species, or hunting
    species itself
  • Most species are rare.
  • Many larger plants animals are fewer in number
    and reproduce slowly (low inherent growth rate)
    and can not recover quickly.
  • Pollution - Pesticides and insects, amphibians
  • Currently in a mass extinction

What to save?
  • We cant save them all. Not enough or land to
    save everything
  • Interests change with political climate
  • Population growth demands on local areas
  • More demand for exports in developing countries
    raw materials, energy
  • What species to save? Choosing the fights to
    preserve an area.
  • Unique species - no closely related species (not
    just another beetle)
  • Charismatic species - Giant Panda, Florida
    Panther, Bald Eagle
  • Unique ecosystems

Park / Reserve Design
  • Best Large, close- by reserves.
  • Large round parks reduce edge effects
  • Increase immigration, population migration (gene
  • Less desirable many, small isolated preserves.

Land Use
  • About 40 of our land is in public trust.
  • Distribution is unequal!
  • Western States have many more acres in parklands,
    forest than East Coast.
  • Very little is actually protected
  • 15 as wilderness.
  • Species conservation has to fight with - timber,
    hunting, farming, grazing, oil exploration, etc..

National Parks and Monuments
  • Started in US - 1864 - Yosemite
  • protected by Abraham Lincoln during Civil War.
  • Turned over to State of California to
  • 1872 Yellowstone First National Park
  • United States Federally administrated park
  • Yosemite and Sequoia Kings canyon in 1890.
  • Each was founded independently by an act of
  • 1906 Congress gave President authority to set
    aside areas of scientific, historic or cultural
    value as national Monuments.
  • Teddy Roosevelt used this to establish many

Early National Park System
  • Loosely managed by US Army to protect lands form
    hunters, loggers etc.
  • Yosemite was patrolled by cavalry at first.
  • Until 1916 when National Park Service was
    established to better protect parks,
  • in part as a response to Hetch Hetchy dam in
  • National Park concept has spread around the
    world, some say it Americas best invention.
  • Originally just natural areas
  • Now have expanded to include many more historical
    (battlefields) and cultural sites (Pueblo).

National Parks
  • After cars made visiting easier, NPS stressed the
    visitors pleasures more than natural environment.
  • Camp Curry in Yosemite shows would draw over
    2,000 nightly.
  • Had fire falls, bear feedings, Jazz bands,
    toboggan runs etc.
  • California has the most National parks with 23.
  • Many states have none, causing a political
  • New Ideals stress Rangers as nature interpreters,
    and preservation as top priorities
  • Unfortunately many Rangers have become more like
    police in some areas.

National Parks
  • Seem large (miles across) but are often too small
    for the larger animals to maintain a viable
    number of individuals.
  • Yosemite has limited access (closed when full).
  • Most visitors dont stray far into the wild.
  • 95 of visitors dont venture past Yosemite
    Valley floor which is less than 1 of the parks
  • Park becomes crowded, dusty, smoky etc.
  • Yosemite Valley Plan
  • Yellowstone only has 100 grizzle bears.
  • Most Parks are generally over-crowded and under

National Parks
  • Restoration -
  • allowing forested areas return to old growth
    without logging.
  • Reintroduction of native species
  • wolves in Yellowstone, Great Smokey Mountains,
  • Restoration projects in meadows, marshes

National Wildlife Refuge System
  • 1964 Wilderness Act- areas of federal land that
    are to be managed to retain its
  • primeval character with no commercial enterprise,
    no permanent road, and no motorized vehicles
  • Many are set up to protect migratory bird areas.

Other Parks
  • State Parks, Beaches
  • Mt Diablo- Mitchell Canyon
  • Bodega Shoreline Sonoma County State Beaches
  • East Bay Regional Parks (EBRPD)
  • Founded in 1934.
  • Includes Briones, Redwood
  • 50 parks, shorelines and lakes 20 trails.
    Totaling more than 75,000 acres.
  • Alameda and Contra Costa Counties (once one
    county-parks remained joined)
  • City Parks- mostly for recreation not nature

Private Reserves- Nature Conservancy
  • Highest level of protection is private ownership.
  • founded by Ecological Society of America, college
  • Largest private land owner in US. In 1999 had 7
    million acres. 78 on Biologically significant
  • Other land donated may be sold / exchanged for
    more biologically significant sites later.
  • Able to purchase high price lands.
  • 286 square miles of unbroken forest in Maine for
    35 million
  • 14,000 acres of CO wetlands for 4.5 million.
  • Easements - sold to owner.
  • Doesnt change ownership of land, but restricts
    future development.

Private Reserves
  • Started by Ducks Unlimited
  • Other hunting groups
  • Local interest groups
  • Friends of Mt. Diablo
  • Save the Redwoods
  • Many Others

  • Originally just for our pleasure
  • Now for many a last resort -
  • Animals are Safe, but in artificial habitat
  • Is it ethical ?
  • free roaming animals, trapped in small
    enclosures, tanks.
  • Captive vs. Extinction?
  • Animal s visitors pay most of the bills.
  • Animals bred in captivity without (or reduced)
    natural rearing.
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