Aldo Leopold

When god-like Odysseus returned from the wars in Troy, hę hanged all on one ropc a dozen slavegirls of his Household w hora Iie suspccted of misbehavior during his absence. This hanging involved no question of propriety. The girls were property. The disposal of property was then, as nów, a matter of expediency, not of right and wrong. Concepts of right and wrong were not lacking from Odysseus' Greece: witness the fidelity of his ' wife through the long years before at last his blackprowed galleys c!ove the wine-dark seas fov home. The ethical structure of that day covered wives, but had not yet been extended to human chattels. During the three thousand years which have since elapsed, ethical criteria have been extended to many fields o f conduct, with corresponding shrinkages in those judged by expediency only. of co-operation. The ecologist calls these symbioses. Politics and economics arę adyanced symbioses in which the original free-for-atl competition has been replaced, in part, by co-operative mechanisms with an ethical content, The complesity of co-operatiye mechanisms has increased with population density, and with the cfiiciency of tcols. It was simpler, for example, to defme the anti-sociai uses.of sticks and the days of the mastodons than of bullets and billboards in the agę of motors. The first ethics dealt with the relation between individuals; the Mosaic Decalogue is an esample. Later accretions dealt with the relation between the individual and society. The Golden Rule tries to integrate the individual to society; democracy to integratc social organization to the individual. There is as yet no ethic dealing with man's relation to land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it. Land, like Odysseus1 slavegirls, is still property. The land-relation is still strictly economic, entailing privileges but not obiigations. The r::ter-sion of ethics to this third element in human cnvironment is, if I read the eridence correctly, an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity. It is the third step in a seąuence. The first two have already been taken. Individual minkers since the days of Ezekiel and Isaiah have asserted that the despoliation of land is not only inexpedient but wrong. Society, however, has not yet affirmed their belief. I regard the present con-

The Ethical Seąuence This extension of ethics, so far studied only by philosophers, is actually a process in ecological evolution. Its sequences may be described in ecological as well as in philosophical terms. An ethic, ecologically, is a limitation on freedom of action in the struggle for existence. An ethic, philosophically, is a differentiation of social from anti-social conduct. These arę two definitions of one thing. The thing has its origin in the tendency of interdependent individuals or groups to evolve modes

The Land Ethic servation moyement as the embryo of such an affirmation. An ethic may be regarded as a modę of guidance for meeting ecological situations so new or intricate, or involving such deferred reactions, that the path of social expediency is not discernible to the average individual. Animal instincts arę modes of guidance for the individual in meeting such situations. Ethics arę possibly a kind of community knows neither, and this is why his conquests eventually defeat themselves. In the biotic community, a parallel situation exists. Abraham knew exactly what the land was for: it was to drip milk and honey into Abraham's which we regard this assumption is inverse to the degree of'our education. The ordinary citizen today assumes that science knows what makes the community clock tick; the scientist is eąually surę chat hę does not. Hę knows that the biotic mechanism is so complex that its workings may never be fully understood. That mań is, in fact, only a niember of a biotic team is shown by an ecological interpretation of history. Many historical events, hitherto explained solely in terms of human enterprise, were actually biotic interactions between people and land. The characteristics of the land determined the facts quite as potently as the characteristics of the men who lived on it. Consider, for example, the settlement of the Mississippi valley. In the years following the Revothe native Indian, the French and English traders, and the American settlers. Historians wonder what would havc happened if the English at Detroit had thrown a little morę weight into the Indian side of those tipsy scales which decided the outcorrie of the colonial migration into the cane-lands of Kentucky. It is time nów to ponder the fact that the cane-lands, when subjected to the particular mixture of forces represented by the cow, plow, fire, and axe of the pioneer, became bluegrass. What if the plant succcssion inherent in this dark and. bloody ground • had, under the impact of these forces, given us some worthless sedge, shrub, or weed? Would Boone and Kenton have held out? Would there have been any overflow into Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri? Any Louisiana Purchase? Any transcontinental union of new states? Any Civil War? tory. We arę commonly told what the human actors in this drama tried to do, but we arę seldom told thac their success, or the .łąck of it, hung in large degree on the reaction of particular soils to the impact of the particular forces exerted by their occupancy. In the . case of Kentucky, we do not even know where the bluegrass came from - whether it is a native species, or a stowaway from Europę. Contrast the cane-lands with what hindsight tells us about the Southwest, where the pioneers were

The Community Concept
Ali ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependant parts. His instincts prompt him but his ethics prompt him also to coopcrate (perhaps in order that there may be a place to compete for). The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land. This sounds simple: do we not already sing our love for and obli galion to the land of the free and the home of the brave? Yes, but just what and whom do we love? Certainiy not the soil, which we arę sending helter-skelter downriver. Certainly not the waters, which we assume have no function except to turn turbines, float barges, and carry off sewage. Certainly not the plants, of which we exterminate whole communities without batting an eye. Certainly not the animals, of which we have already extirpated many of the largest and most beautiful species. A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these "resources," but it does a f firm their right to cominued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state. In short a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conąueror of the land-commnnity to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such. In human history, we have learned (I hope) that the conqueror role is eventua!ly self-defeating. Why? Because it is implicit in such a role that the conąueror knows, ex cathedra, just what makes the community clock tick, and just what and who is valuable, and what and ,who is worth>|ess, in community life. It always turns out that hę

Aldo Leopold eąually brave, resourceful, and persevering. The impact of occupancy here brought no bluegrass, or other plant fitted to withstand the bumps arid buffetings of hard use. This region, when grazed by livestock, reverted through a series of morę and morę worthless grasses, shrubs, and weeds to a condition of unstable eąuilibrium. Each recession of plant types bred erosion; each increment to erosion bred a further recession of plants. The result today is a progressive and mutual deterioration, not only of plants and soils, but of the animal community subsisting thereon. The early settlers did not expect this: on the cienegas of New Mexico some even cut ditches to hasten it. So subtle has been its progress that few residents of the region arę aware of it. It is ąuite invisible to the tourist who finds this wrecked landscape colorful and charming (as indeed it is, but ifbears scant resemblance to what itwasin 1848). This same landscape was "developed" once before, but with ąuite different results. The Pueblo Indians settled the Southwest in preColumbian times, but they happened not to be eąuipped with rangę livestock. Their civilization expired, but not because their land expired. In India, regions devoid of any sod-forming grass have been settled, apparently without wrecking the land, by the simple expedient of carrying the grass to the cow, rather than vice -yersa. (Was this the result of some deep wisdom, or was it just good luck? I do not know.) In short, tha plant succession steered the course of history; the pioneer simply demonstrated, for good or ill, what successions inhered in the land. Is history taught in this spirit? It will be, once the concept of land as a community really penetrates our intellectual life. It is difficult to give a fair summary of its content in brief form, but, as I understand it, the content is substantially this: obey the law, vote right, join some organizations, and practice what conservation is profitable on your own land; the government will do the rest. Is not this formuła too easy to accomplish anything worth-while? It defines no right or wrong, assigns no obligation, calls for no sacrifice, implies no change in the current philosophy of values. In respect of land-use, it urges only enlightened self-interest. Just how far will such education take us? An example will perhaps yield a partial answer. By 1930 it had become clear to all except the ecologically blind that southwestern Wisconsin's topsoil was slipping seaward. In 1933 the farmers were told that if they would adopt certain remedial practices for five years, the public would donate CCC labor to install them, plus the necessary machinery and materials. The offer was widely accepted, but the practices were widely forgotten when the five-year corttract period was up. The farmers cnntinued only rhoce practices that yielded an immediate and visible economic gain for themselves. This led to the idea that maybe farmers wbuld learn morę ąuickly if they themselves wrote th~ ' rules. Accordingly the Wisconsin'Legislature in 1937 passed the Soil Conśervation District Law. This said to farmers, in effect: We, the public, will furnish you free techmcal sernice and loan you speciaUzed machinery, if you will write your own rules for land-use. Each county may write its own rules, and these will have the force of law. Nearly all the counties promptly organized to accept the proffered help, but after a decade of operation, no coumy has yet wńtten a single rule. There has be n yisible progress m. such practices as stripcropping, pasture renovation, and soil liming, but none in fencing woodlots against grazing, and none in excluding plow and cow from steep ^lopes. The farmers, in short, have selected those remedial practices which were profitable anyhow, and igiiored those which were profitable to the com. munity, but not clearly profitable to themselves. When one asks why no rules have been written, one is told that the community is not yet ready to support them; education must precede rules. But the education actually in progress makes no mention of obligations to land over and above those dictated by self-interest. The net result is that we



The Ecoiogical Conscience
Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land. Despite nearly a century of propaganda, conservation still proceeds at a snaiPs pace; progrcss stiłl cońsists targely of ietterhead pieties anu convention oratory. On the back forty we still slip two steps backward for each forward stride. The usual answer to this dilemma is "morę conservation education." No one will debatę this, but is it certain that only the volume of education needs stepping up? Is something lacking in the content as well?

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The Land Ethic havc morę education but less soil, fewcr healthy \voods, and as many floods as in 1937. The puzzling aspect of such situations is that the existcnce of obligations ovcr and abovc self-interest is taken for.granted in such rural community enterprises as the betierment of roads, schools, churches, and baseball teams. Their existence is not taken for grantcd, nor as yct scriously discussed, in bettcring the bchavior of the water that falls on thc land, or in ihc preserving of the beauty or diversity o*~ thc farm kindscape. Land-use cthics arę still govcrned wholly uy cconomic self-intercst, just as social cthics were a century ago. To sum up: we asked thc farmer to do what hę convenicntly could to save his soil, and lic has done just that, and only that. Thc farmer who clcars the woods olf a 75 per cent Ł',jpc, turns his cows into the clearing, ;.iid dumps its rainfall, rocks, and soil into the community creek, is still {if otherwise dccent) a respccted mcmber of society. If hę puts limc on his fields and plants his crops on contour, hc is still cntitlcd to all the privilcges and emoluments of his Soil Consmation District. The District is a beautifut piece of social macliinery, but it is coughing along on rwo cylinders becausc we have been too timid, and too anxióus for quick success, to ti".i ;hc farmer the truć magnitudc of his obligations. Obligations have no mcaning without conscicnce, and thc problem we facc is ihe cstension of the social conscicnce iroiii pc&plc .o Sa>*>i. No important change in ethics was evcr intellectual emphasis, loyalities, affcctions, and convictions. Thc proof that conservation has not yct touchtd these foundations of conduct lics in ihe fact that philosophy and religion havc not yet heard of it. In our attempt to mąkę conscmtion casy, we havc madę it trivial. Substitmes for a Land ILthic When the logie of history hungcrs for bread and we hand out a stone, we arę at pains to cxplain how much thc stone rcsembles bread. I nów describe somc of thc stones which serve in lieu of a land ethic. . One basie \veakness in a conscrvation system based wholly on economic motivcs is that most members of thc land community have no cconom'ic value. Wildfiowcrs and songbirds arę examplcs. Of the 22,000 higher plants and animals native to Wisconsin, it is doubtful whcther morc than 5 per cent can be sold, fed, eatcn, or otherwise put to cconomic use. Yet these creatures arc members of the biotic community, and if (as l believe) its stability depends on its integrity, they arę entitlcd When one of these non-cconomic catcgories is threatcned, and if we happen to love it, we invent subterfuges to givc it cconomic impcrtance. At the beginning of the ccntury soiigsird: v. erę supposed to bc disappearing. Ornithologists jumpcd to thc rescue with somc distinctly shaky cvidence to the cffect that insects would eat us up if birds failed to control them. The evidence had to be economic ir. order to bcvalid. It is pifrnful to read these circumlocution<; today. We have no land ethic vet, but we havc at leasl drawn nearer thc point of admitting thyt birds should continue as a mattcr of biotic right, regardless of the prcsence or absence of cconomic advantage to us. A parallcl siiuation c\ists in respcct of predatory mammals, raptorial birds, and fish-cating birds. Time was whcn biologists somcwhat ovcr-worked the cvidence thai thcsc creatures preserve the !icalth of by killing wcaklings, or fhat rhcy ijontrol rodcnts for the farmer, or that .hey prey only on 'worthless' spccies. Herc again, thc cvidence had to be economic in order to bc valid. It is oply ;n reccnt years that >'•" hear the morc honest argument that predators arc members of the community, and that no special intercst has the right to cxtcrminate them for thc sake of a bcnefit, real or fancied, to itself. Unfortunatcly this enlightuned view is still in the talk stagc. In thc ficld thc extermination of predators goes merrily on: witness the impendmg erasurc of ihe timbcr wolf by fiat of Congress, thc Conscrvation Burcaus, and many state legislatures. Somc spccies of trees havc been 'read out of thc party' by cconomics-minded forestcrs because they grow too slowly, or havc too Iow a sale value to pay as timber crops: whitc cedar, lamarack, cypress, beech, and hemlock arę examples. In Europę, wherc forestr)' is ccologically morę advanced, the non-commercial trec species arę rccognized as members of ihe native forest community, to bc presemd as such, within reason. Morcovcr some (like beech) have been found to have a valuable function in buildingup soil fertility. Thc

Aldo Leopold interdependencc of the forest and its consiituent tree species, ground flora, and fauna is taken for grantcd. Łąck of cconomic value is sometimes a character nor only of species or groups, but of entire biotic communities: marshes, bogs, duncs, and 'desens' arę examples. Our formuła in such. cases is to refuges, monuments, or parks. The difficulty is that thesc communities arę usually interspersed with morę valuablc private Jands; thc govcrnment cannot possibly own or contral such scattcrcd parcels. Tlić net cffect is that we have relegated somc of them to ultimate extinction ovcr large areas. If the privatc owncr were ccologically minded, hę would be proud to bc the custodian of a reasonable proportion of such arcas, whicli add diversity and In somc instanccs, the assumcd łąck of profit in thcse 'waste' arcas has provcd to be wrong, but only after most of thcm had been done away with. The prcscnt scramblc to rcflood muskrat marshes is a casc in point. There is a clcar tcndency in American conservation to rclegate to government all necessary jobs that private landowners fail to pcrform. Govcrnmcnt owncrship, operation, subsidy, or rcgulation is nów widclj' prcvalcnt in forcstry, rangc managemcnt, soil and watershcd managcmcnt, park and wildcrncss conservation, fisheries management, and migratory bird management, with morę to comc. Most of this growth in governmcntal conscrvation is proper and logical, somc of it is incvitable. That I imply no disapproval of it is implicit in thc fact that I have spent most of my life working for it. Nevcrtheless the ąucstion arises: What is the ultimate magnitudc of thc cnterprisc? Will the tax base carry its cvcntual ramifications? At what point.will governmcnt,il • conservation, likc the mastodon, become handicapped by its own dimensions? The answer, if there is any, secms to be in a land ethic, or the private landowner. Industrial landowncrs and users, especially lumbcrmcn and stockmen, arę inclincd to wail long and loudly about the extension of govcrnment ownership and regulation to land, but (with notable cxceptions) they show little disposition to develop thc only visible alternativc: the voluntary practice of conservation on their own lands. When the private landowner is asked to perform some unprofitable act for the good of the community, hę today asscnts only with outstrctchcd palm. If thc act costs him cash this is fair and proper, but whcn it costs only foreihoughr, open-mindcdness, or time, the issue is at least debatablc. The overwhelming growth of land-use subsidies in rcccnt ycars must be ascribcd, in large pan, to thc goyernment's own agencies for conscrvation education: the land bureaus, thc agricultural colleges, and the e.\tension scmces. As far as I can dctcct, no cthical obligation toward land is taught in thesc . institutions. To sum up: a system of conservation based solely on cconomic sclf-intcrcst is hopelcssly lopsidcd. It tends to ignore, and thus evcntually to eliminatc, many clements in thc land community that łąck commcrcial valuc, but that arc (as far as we know) cssential to its healthy functioning. It assumcs, falsely, I think, that the economic parts of the biotic clock will function without the uneconomic parts. It tends to rclegate to govcrnment many functions cvcntually too large, too complex, or too widely dispersed to bc performcd by government. Ań cthical obligation on the part of the private owncr is thc only visible remedy for thcse situations.

The Land Pyramid Ań ethic to supplement and guide the economic rclation to land presupposes the esistcnce of some mcntal imagc of land as a biotic mcchanism. We can be ethical only in relation to something we can sce, feel, understand, lovc, or otherwise havc faith

cducation is 'thc balancc of naturę.' For rcasons too lengthy to detail herc, this figurę of speech fails to describe accurately what little we know about the land mcchanism. A mucli truer image is the one employed in ccology: the biotic pyrarnid. I shall first sketch thc pyramid as a symbol of land, and later devclop some of its implications in terms of land-use. Plants absorb encrgy from the suń. This energy flows through a circuit callcd the biota, which may be representcd by a pyramid consisting of layers. The bottom layer is thc soil. A plant layer rests on the soil, an insect layer on the plants, a bird and rodent layer on the insects, and so on up through various animal groups to the apex layer, which consists of the larger carnivores.

The Land Etnie The species of a laycr arc alike not in wherc they camc from, or in what thcy look Hkc, but rather in \vhai they cat. Each successivc laycr dcpcnds on chosc below it for food and oftcn for olher scrvices, those above. Procccding upward, each successive laycr decrcases in numcrical abundancc. Thus, for cvery carnivore there arę hundreds of his prey, thousands of thcir prcy, millions of insccts, uncountablc plants. The pyramidnl form of thc system reflccts this numerical progression from apex to basc. Man sharcs an intermediate layer \vith thc bears, raccoons, and sąuirrels which cat both meat and vegetablcs. The lines of dependency for food and other services arę called food chains. Thus soif-oakconveried to soil-corn-cow-farmer. Each species, inctuding ourselvcs, is a link in many chains. The deer cats a hundred plants other rhan oak, and thc cow a hundred plants other than corn. Both, then, langle of chains so complex as to secm.disordcrly, yetthestabilityof t hę system proves i t tobeahighly organizcd structurc. Its functioning depends on the co-operatibn and compctition of its divcrsc parts. In thc bcginning, thc pyramid of life was Iow and sąuat; the food chains short and simplc. Evolution has added layer after layer, link after link. Man is one of thousands of accrctions to thc height us many doubts, but it has givcn us at least one certainty: thc trend of evolulion is to elaboratc and diversify the biota. Land, then, is not mercly soil; it is n foumain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants, and animals. Food chains arę thc livjng channels which conduct encrgy upward; denth and decay return it to thc soil. The circuit is not closcd; some cnergy is dissipated in dccay, some is added by absorption from the air, some is storcd m soils, pcats, and long-lived forests; but it is a sustained circuit, like a slowly augmentcd rcvolving fund of life. There is always a net loss by downhill wasłr, but this is normally smali and offset by thc decay of rocks. It is depositcd in the ocean and, in thc course of geological timc, raiscd to form ncw lands and new pyramids. i The Yelocity and character of thc upward flow j. pf energy depend on the complex structure of thc £ plant and animal community, much as thc upward flow of sap in a trec depends on its complej; ccllular organization. Without this complcxity, normal circulation would prcsumably not occur. Structure rneans thc characteristic numbcrs, ns \vell as the characteristic kinds and functions, of the component species. This interdcpendcnce between the cornplcx structure of the land and its smooth functioning as an energy unii is one of its basie attributcs. When a changc occurs in one part of the circuit, many other parts must adjust thcmsclves to it. Change does not nccessarily obstruct or divcrt thc flow of cnergy; evolution is a long series of sclf-induccd changes, the net result of which has been to elaborate the flow mechanism and to lengthen the circuit. Evolutionary changes, howcvcr, arę usually slow and local. Man's invention of tools has cnabled him to mąkę changes of unprecedented violcnce, rapidiry, and scope. One change is in the composition of floras and faunas. Thc largcr predators arę lopped off thc apex of thc pyramid; food chains, for the first time in history, become shorter rather than longcr. Domesticated species from other lands arę substituted for wild oncs, and wild ones arc rnovcd to new hahitats. In this \vorld-widc pooling of faunas and floras, some species get out ofbounds as pests and diseascs, othcrs arę cxtinguished. Such cffects arę scldom intcnded, or forcseen; .they represent unprcdictcd and oftcn untraceable rcadjustmcńtś in thc structurc. Agricultural scicncc is largely a race between thc cmergcncc of ncw pcsts and thc emergcnce of new techniąucs for their control. Another changc touchcs the flow of energy through plants and animals and its return to the soil. Fertility is thc ability of soil to rcceivc, storę, 1 and rclease cnerg) . Agriculture, by overdTafts on thc soil, or by too radical a suhstitution of domestic for native species in the superstructurc, may derangc thc channels of flow or deplete storage. Soils depleted of thcir storage, or of thc organie matter which anchors it, wash away faster than they form. Waters, like soil, arc part of the cnergy circuit. Industry, by polluting \vaters or obstructing them \vith dams, may excludc the plants and animals nccessary to Vccp energy in circulatipn. Transportation brings about another basie changc: the plants or animals grown in one region arc no\v consumcd and returncd to thc soil in another. Transportation taps the energy stored in rocks, and in the air, and uses it elscwhcre; thus we

fertilize the garden with nitrogen gleancd by tlić guano birds from the fishes of seas on the other side of the Eąuator. Thus the formcrly localized and self-contained circuits arę pooled on a worldwidc scalę. The proccss of altering the pyramid for humań occupation rcleases stored encrgy, and this often gives rise, during the pioneering period, to a deceptive exuberancc of plant and animal lifc, both wild and tamę. Thesc releascs of biotic capital tend to becloud or postponc the pcnalties of violencc. This thumbnail skctch of land as an cncrgy cireuit conveys three basie ideas: (1) That land is not merely soil. (2) That the nativc plants and animals kept the encrgy circuit open; others may or may not. (3) That man-made changes arc of a diffcrcnt order than cvolutionary changes, and have effccts morę eomprehensiye than is intcnded

tlić effcct of advanced wastage. In the United States the degree of disorganization varies locally; it is worst in the Southwest, the Ozarks, and parts of the South, and least in New England and the Northwest. Bertcr land-uscs may still arrest ii in the less advanced regions. In parts of Mexico, South America, Soudi Africa, and Australia a vic~ Icnt and accelerating wastage is in progress, but I cannot assess the prospects. This almost world-wide display of disorganizaanimal, cxccpt that it never culminatcs in complete disorganization or death. The land recovers, but at some rcduced lcvel of complexity, and with a reduccd carrying capacity for people, plants, and animals. Many biotas currently regarded as 'lands of opportunity' arę in fact alrcady subsisting on cxploitative agriculture, i.e. they have already CKceeded thcir sustained carrying capacity. Most of South America is overpopulated in this sense. In arid regions we attempt to offset the process of wastage by rcclamation, but it is only too evident that the prospectivc longcvity of reclamation projccts is often short. In our own West, the bcst of them may not !ast a century. The combincd cvidcnce of history and ccology sccrns to support one generał dcduction: the less violent the mnnmade changes, ihc greatcr the probability of succcssful rcadjustment in the pyramid. Yiolence, in tum, varics with human population density; a dense population reąuires a morę violent convcrsion. In this respcct, North America has a bettcr chancc for permanence than Europę, if shc can contrive to limit licr density. This dcduction runs coimtcr to our current philosophy which assumcs that because a smali indefinite increase will enrich it indefinitely. Ecology knows of no density relationship that holds for indefmitely wide limiis. Al! gains from density arę subject to a law of diminishing returns. Whatcvcr may be the cąuation for men and land, it is improbnble that we as yet know all its tcrms. Recent discovcries in minerał and \ reveal unsuspected depcndencics i up-circuit: substanccs incrcdibly minutę quantities of ce determine the value of soils to pla , of plants to animals. What of the down-circuit What of the vanishing specics, ihc prescrvation of which we nów regard as an esthctic Iuxury? Thcy helpcd build the soil; in what unsuspected ways may they be esscntial to its maintenancc? Profcssor Wcavcr

These ideas, collectively, raise two basie issues: Can the land adjust itself to the ncw order? Can the dcsired alterations be accompKshcd with less yióience? Biotas seem to differ in thcir capacity to sustain rioleni conversion. Western Europę, for cxample, carries a far different pyramid than Caesar found have bccome mcadows or plow-land; many new plants and animals arc introduced, some of which escapc as pcsts; ihc remaining natives arę grcatly changcd in distribunon and abundancc. Yct the soil is still Uiere and, with the help of importcd nutrients, still fertile; the watcrs flow normally; the new structure seems to function and to persist. There is no visible stoppage or derangemcnt of the circuit. Western Europę, thcii, has a rcsistant biota. Its inncr proccsses arc tough, clastic, rcsistant to strain. No mattcr how violent the alterations, the pyramid, so far, has dcvcloped some ncw modus vivendi which prcservcs its habitability for mań, and for most of the othcr natiyes. Japan seems to present another instancc of radical convcrsion without disorganization. Most other civitizcd regions, and some as yer barely touchcd by civilization, display various stages of disorganization, varying from initial and North Africa diagnosis is confuscd by climatic changes, which may have been either the cause or

The Land Ethic proposes that we use prairie flowers 10 reflocculate thc wasting soils of the dust bowl; who knows for what purpose crancs and condors, otters and grizzlies may somc day be used? raritics, likc trumpetcr swan and whooping crane? Can managcment principlcs bc extcndcd to wildflowers? Herę agaln it is clear to me that we have the same A-B,cleavage as in forestry. In the larger field of agriculture I am less competcnt to speak, but thcre seem to be somcwhat parallel cleavages. Scientific agriculture was actively developing before ecolog>- was born, hence a slower pcnetration of ccologica! conccpts might be expected. Moreovcr the farmer, by the very naturę of his tcchniques, must modify thc biota morę radically than the foresler or the wildlife manager. Nevertheless, there arc many discontents in agriculture which 'seem to add up to a new vision of 'biotic farming.1 Pcrhaps the most important of thcse is thc ncw cvidence that poundage or tonnagc is no measure of the food-value of farm crops; the products of fertile soil may be qualitativcly as wcll as quantitativcly superior. We can bolster poundage from dcplctcd soils by pouring on importcd fcrtility, bm we arę not necessarily bolstering food-value. The possiblc ultimate ramifications of this idea arę so immense rhat I must lcavc thcir exposition to abler pens. Thc discontent that labcls itself 'organie farming,' while bearing somc of thc earmarks of a cult, is ncyertheless biotic in its direction, particularly in its insistence on thc imporlance of soil flora and fauna. The ccological fundamcntals of agriculture arc just as poorly known to ihc public as in othcr fields of land-use. For examplc, fcw'cducated people realizc that thc mar v cło us advanc.cs i n tcchniąue madę during rccent decadcs arc improvcmcnts in the pump, rather than thc wcll. Acrc for acre, thcy have barcly sufficed to offset thc sinking level of fertility. In all of thcse cleavagcs, we sec repcated the same basie paradoxcs: mań thc conąueror wrsus mań the biotic citizen; scicncc the sharpener of his sword versns sciencc thc scarch-light on his univcrse; land the slave and servant remis land the collective organism. Robinson's injunction to Tristram may wcll hę appliecl, at this juncture, to Homo saptfiii as a species in gcological dmę: Whether you will or not You arę a King, Tristram, for you arę one Of the timc-tested fcw that leave the world, Whcn thcy arę gone, not the same place it was. Mark what you lcavc.

Land Health and the A-B Cleavage
A land cthic, then, reflects the esistence of an ecological conscicnce, and this in tum rcflccts a convicrion of individual responsibility for the health of the land. Health \s the capacity of the land for self-rencwal. Conscrvation is our effort to understand and prcserve this capacity. Conscrvationists arę notorious for thcir dissensions/Superficially thesc secm to add up to mcrc oinfusion, but a morę careful scrutiny reveals a single pianę of cleavagc common to tnany spccializcd fields. In each field one group (A) regards thc land as soil, and its function as commodity-production; another group (B) rcgards thc land as a biota, and its function as something broader. How much broader is admittcdly in a state of doubt and confusion. In my own field, forestry, group A is ąuitc content to grow irces like cabbages, with cellulose as the basie forcst commodity. Ir feels no inhibition against violencc; its idcology is agronomie. Group B, on the othcr hand, secs forestry as fundamentally different from agronomy because it employs naiural spccics, and manages a natural

principle. It worrics on biocic as \vell as economic grounds about the loss of species likc chestnut, and the thrcatencd loss of the whitc pincs. It worries about a whole series of sccondary forest functions: wildlife, recrcation; watcrshcds, wildcrness arcas. To my mind, Group B fccls the stlrrings ecological consciencc. In thc wildlife field, a parallel cleavagc exists. For Group A thc basie commodities arę sport and meat; the yardsticks of production arc ciphers of take in pheasamsandtrout.Artificialpropagationisaccept-; able as a pcrrnanent as \vcll as a temporary rccourse if its unit costs pcrmit. Group B, on thc othcr hand, worrics about a wholc series of biotic side-issucs. What is the cost in prcdators of producing a gamę crop? Should we have furthcr recourse to exotics? How can managcment restorc the shrinking species, likc prairie grousc, already hopeless as shootable • gamę? How can managcment restore the threatened

The Outlook
It is inconceivable to me chat an cthical rclation to land can exist without lovc, rcspcct, and admiration for land, and a high rcgard for its value. By merę economic value; I mean valuc in thc philosophical sensc. Pcrhaps the most serious obstacle impcding the cvolution of a land cthic is the fact rhat our cducational and economic system is hcadcd away from, land. Your truć modern is scparated from the land by many middlemcn, and by innumcrable physical gadgets. Hę had no vi tal relation to it; to him it is the space bctween cities on which crops grow. Turn him loosc for a day on the land, and if the spot does not happen to be a golf links or a 'scenie' area, hę is borcd stiff. If crops could be raised by hydroponics instead of farming, it would suit him very well. Synthetic substitutes for wood, leather, wool, and other natura! land products suit him better than the originals. In short, land is something lic has 'outgrown.' Almost cąually serious as an obstacle to a land cthic is the attitudc of thc farmer for whom the land is still an adversary, or a taskmastcr that keeps him in slavery. Thcorctically, thc mcchanization of farming ought to nit the farmcr's chains, but whethcr it rcally does is debatable. One of the requis!tes for an ccological comprehension of land is an undcrstnndingofccology, and this is by no mcans co-extcnsivc with 'education'; in fact, much higher education seems delibcrately to avoid ecological concepts. An understanding of ccology does not neccssarily originatc in courses bearing ecological labcls; it is ąuite as likely to be labeled gcograpliy, botany, agronomy, history, or cconomics. This is as it should bc, but \vhatcver thc label, ecological training is scarcc. The casc for a land ethic would appcar hopeless but for the minority which is in obvious rcvolt against these 'modern 1 trends. The 'kcy-log' which must be moved to releasc thc evolutionary process for an cthic is simply this: quit thinking about decent land-use as solely an

economic problem. Examine cach ąucstion in tcrms of what is ethically and csthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient. A thing is right whcn it tcnds to prcserve thc intcgrity, stability, and bcauty of thc biotic community. It is wrong wlien it tends othcrwisc. It of course gocs without saying that economic feasibility limits the tcther of what can or cannot be donc for land. It always has and it always will. The fallacy the economic detcrminists have tied around our collective neck, and which we nów need to cast off, is the belief that economics detcrmines all landuse. This is simply not true. An innumcrable host of actions and attitudes, comprising pcrhaps the bulk of all land rdations, is determined by the land-users' tastcs and prcdilcctions, rathcr than by his purse. Thc bulk of a!l land rclations hinges on invc5tments of time, forcthought, skill, and fflith rather than on invesimcnts of cash. As a land-uscr thinketh, so is hę. I havc purposcly prcscntcd the land utnie as a product of social cYolution because nothing so important as an ethic is ever 'written.' Only the most supcrficial student of history supposes that Moses 'wrote' the Decalogue; it 'evolvcd in the

say tcntativc because cvolution never stops. The cvolution of a land ethic is an intcllcctual as wcll as emorional process. Conservation is paved with good intentions which prove to be futile, or even dangerous, because they arę devóid of critical understanding cither of thc land, or of economic land-use. I think it is a truisrn that as the ethical frontier advances from thc individual to the community, its intellectuaf contcnt incrcases. The mechanism of operation is thc same for any ethic: social approbation for right actions: social disapproval for wrong actions. By and largc, our prescnt problem is one of attitudes and implcmcnts. We arę remodeling the Alhambra with a steamshovel, and we arę proud of our yardage. We shall hardly rclinquish the shovel, which after all has many good points, but we arę in need of gentlcr and morę objective criteria for its successful use.