News headlines would often have us believe that conservationists are inevitably locked in conflict with the people who live and work on the lands they seek to protect. Not so. Across the western expanses of the United States, conservationists, ranchers, and forest workers are bucking preconceptions to establish common ground. As they join together to protect the wide open spaces, diverse habitats, and working landscapes upon which people, plants, and animals depend, a new vision of management is emerging in which the conservation of biodiversity, ecosystem integrity, and sustainable resource use are seen not as antithetical, but as compatible, even symbiotic goals.
Featuring contributions from an impressive array of scientists, conservationists, scholars, ranchers, and foresters, Stitching the West Back Together explores that expanded, inclusive vision of environmentalism as it delves into the history and evolution of Western land use policy and of the working landscapes themselves. Chapters include detailed case studies of efforts to promote both environmental and economic sustainability, with lessons learned; descriptions of emerging institutional frameworks for conserving Western working landscapes; and implications for best practices and policies crucial to the future of the West’s working forests and rangelands. As economic and demographic forces threaten these lands with fragmentation and destruction, this book encourages a hopeful balance between production and conservation on the large, interconnected landscapes required for maintaining cultural and biological diversity over the longterm.