Ecology Aldo Leopold
by
Curt Meine
  • LAST REVIEWED: 06 January 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 April 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199830060-0037

Introduction

Aldo Leopold (b. 1887–d. 1948) is best known as the author of the conservation classic A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There (Leopold 1949, cited under Books). The Almanac was the culminating contribution of a forty-year career that altered the course of conservation history. Born in Burlington, Iowa, Leopold was educated in local schools before graduating from the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey in 1905. He attended the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University and then the Yale Forest School. After graduating with a Master’s degree in 1909, Leopold began his career in the US Forest Service (USFS) in the newly established national forests of Arizona and New Mexico. Except for a brief stint as secretary of the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, Leopold spent the next fifteen years working for the USFS in the American Southwest, gaining recognition for innovative work in forest and range ecology, game protection, watershed management, wilderness advocacy, and forest administration. In 1924 he was reassigned to Madison, Wisconsin, to serve as assistant (later associate) director of the US Forest Products Laboratory. In 1928 Leopold left the US Forest Service to pursue his primary interest in the emerging field of game (later wildlife) management. For the next two years he conducted a series of game surveys across the upper Midwest under the auspices of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute. Leopold published the summary Report on a Game Survey of the North Central States in 1931, followed in 1933 by the first text in the field, Game Management. That same year he joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin as the first professor in the new field. He remained in this position for the remainder of his life, building the science and practice of wildlife ecology and management. His work, however, transcended his own specialty, as he brought the insights of ecology into natural resource management, while bolstering the philosophical and cultural foundations of a more integrated approach to conservation. Beginning in the late 1930s, his commitment to education and communication was expressed in the literary essays that would come together in A Sand County Almanac. His summary essay “The Land Ethic” in the Almanac provided a cornerstone for modern environmental philosophy. Leopold’s influence continues to be felt in fields from forestry and wildlife ecology to soil and water conservation and wilderness protection, and in such emergent interdisciplinary domains as restoration ecology, conservation biology, ecological economics, and community-based conservation.

General Overviews

The websites of the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the Barakatt 2010 in the Encyclopedia of Earth provide excellent introductions and in-depth content on Leopold and his work. The opening chapter of Flader 1994 summarizes his life and career. Meine 2010 is the first complete biography. Flader and Callicott 1991 includes an especially succinct summary of the core themes that Leopold explored and developed. Building on these works, Warren 2016 examines the evolution and integration of Leopold’s scientific, ethical, and literary interests.

  • Aldo Leopold Foundation.

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    The Aldo Leopold Foundation was established by the five children of Aldo and Estella Leopold in 1982. Its website contains extensive historical, archival, and bibliographic information on Leopold, with links to other major online sources.

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  • Barakatt, Cynthia. 2010. Aldo Leopold Collection. In The Encyclopedia of Earth. Edited by Craig Maier and Cutler J. Cleveland.

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    The online Encyclopedia of Earth is a free, expert-reviewed reference collection about the earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society. The Aldo Leopold Collection includes many of the citations and materials referenced in this article, as well as additional background information and links.

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  • Flader, Susan L. 1994. Thinking like a mountain: Aldo Leopold and the evolution of an ecological attitude toward deer, wolves, and forests. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Originally published in 1974, Flader’s study was the first book-length work on Leopold and an important early work in environmental history. Flader traces Leopold’s intellectual development through his expanding ecological understanding of the interactions among predator and prey populations with and within their larger ecological communities.

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  • Flader, Susan L., and J. Baird Callicott, eds. 1991. The river of the mother of god and other essays by Aldo Leopold. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    The introduction to this volume of essential Leopold writings is a helpful overview of the evolution of key intellectual, professional, and policy themes in Leopold’s writing and work.

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  • Meine, Curt. 2010. Aldo Leopold: His life and work. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Originally published in 1988, this was the first full biography of Leopold, placing his personal and professional development in the context of conservation and American history. It remains a standard work and entry point for those seeking deeper understanding of Leopold’s life and work.

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  • Warren, Julianne Lutz. 2016. Aldo Leopold’s odyssey: Rediscovering the author of A Sand County Almanac. Washington, DC: Island.

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    A thorough intellectual biography of Leopold, with a strong emphasis on the scientific and cultural influences on Leopold, his thought, and his writing. Originally published in 2006 under the author’s name Julianne Lutz Newton.

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Biographies and Biographical Resources

Biographical information on Leopold is organized and maintained in several archival collections. These have provided the materials for several biographies of Leopold. The five children of Aldo and Estella Leopold all became prominent scientists and conservationists in their own right, and their own careers and contributions have also drawn the interest of scholars. During his lifetime and among his peers, Leopold was respected as an original thinker, an effective advocate, an influential teacher, and an accomplished wordsmith. His contemporary impact is recorded in the many obituaries and reminiscences that appeared after this death. Several films and audio documentaries have also documented Leopold’s life, career, and influence.

Archival Resources

The documentary record of Aldo Leopold’s life and work is well preserved due to Leopold’s own meticulous recordkeeping, the diligence of his family and colleagues, the caretaking of the institutions he worked with, and the continuing attention of Leopold scholars. The primary repository is the Aldo Leopold Archives at the University of Wisconsin. Other materials can be found in the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives, the Records of the US Forest Service in the National Archives, and the New Mexico Commission of Public Records, State Records Center and Archives. Meine 2010 (cited under General Overviews) includes a comprehensive list of archival resources.

Biographies

Flader 1994 traces the emergence of Leopold’s ecological understanding through his evolving views on predator-prey relationships in ecosystems. Meine 2010 was the first full biography. Warren 2016 is a thorough intellectual biography, placing Leopold’s experience in the context of emerging concepts and syntheses in ecology and natural resource management. Lorbiecki 2016 is a popular illustrated biography.

  • Flader, Susan L. 1994. Thinking like a mountain: Aldo Leopold and the evolution of an ecological attitude toward deer, wolves, and forests. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Flader’s landmark study of Leopold’s changing views on predators, prey, and ecological dynamics was first published in 1974. It provided the foundation for subsequent Leopold scholarship and remains an essential resource.

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  • Lorbiecki, Marybeth. 2016. A fierce green fire: Aldo Leopold’s life and legacy. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    A popular illustrated biography that draws upon the work of Flader 1994 and Meine 2010. Lorbiecki also published a children’s biography, Of Things Natural, Wild, and Free: A Story about Aldo Leopold (1993). (Several other children’s books on Leopold have also been published.) Originally published in 1996 as Aldo Leopold: A Fierce Green Fire (Helena, MT: Falcon).

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  • Meine, Curt. 2010. Aldo Leopold: His life and work. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Meine’s biography was originally published in 1988, the year after the centennial of Leopold’s birth. The 2010 edition is slightly revised and includes a new introduction and a contributed appreciation by writer and conservationist Wendell Berry.

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  • Warren, Julianne Lutz. 2016. Aldo Leopold’s odyssey: Rediscovering the author of A Sand County Almanac. Washington, DC: Island.

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    Broader in intent than Flader 1994 and focused more closely on Leopold’s intellectual development than Meine 2010. Warren explores the many scientific, literary, and philosophical influences on Leopold’s conservation work and writing. Originally published in 2006.

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Leopold Family

The Aldo Leopold Archives (cited under Archival Resources) contain extensive material related to Aldo Leopold’s forebears and his immediate family, boyhood experience, and marriage to Estella Leopold. Aldo and Estella had five children, all of whom became prominent in their chosen fields: Starker (b. 1913–d. 1983), a wildlife ecologist; Luna (b. 1915–d. 2006), a hydrologist; Adelina (Nina) (b. 1917–d. 2011), a restoration ecologist; Carl (b. 1919–d. 2010), a botanist and plant physiologist; and Estella (b. 1927–), a paleobotanist. Carter 1980 is the best published profile of the Leopold siblings. The Aldo Leopold Foundation and the Encyclopedia of Earth also provide helpful overviews. Luna Leopold’s work is highlighted at the Virtual Luna Leopold Project and in Hunt and Meine 2012. Leopold 2016 is the most extensive collection of reminiscences by a Leopold family member.

Obituaries

The Aldo Leopold Archives (cited under Archival Resources) contain an extensive file of obituaries. Among his contemporaries, Aldo Leopold was highly regarded for his character, his diverse professional accomplishments, and his vision as a conservationist. Immediately after his death, obituaries celebrated these qualities. Errington 1948 and Etter 1988 remark presciently on Leopold’s lasting influence. Due to the posthumous publication of A Sand County Almanac (Leopold 1949, cited under Books), many reviews served as commentaries on Leopold’s life. Gannett 1949 and Derleth 1949 provide contrasting views of Leopold from national and local perspectives.

Personal Reminiscences

Over time, Leopold’s enduring influence prompted many colleagues to provide personal insights and professional assessments of his influence. Mann 1954 and Swift 1961 reflect on Leopold’s impact on their respective conservationist careers. Schoenfeld 1978 is a reflection by a student who later became a nationally active environmental journalist. McCabe 1987 records the memories of one of Leopold’s closest students. McCabe 1988 is a collection of essays by Leopold’s graduate students. See also Leopold 2016, cited under Leopold Family.

Films and Audio Documentaries

Leopold’s work and writings have been featured in several films and audio documentaries. Meyer 1980 highlights Leopold’s writings and explores his ideas through readings and interviews. Hott and Garey 2008 focuses on Leopold’s contributions to, and influence on, the wilderness protection movement. Dunsky, et al. 2011 is the first full-length documentary film to examine Leopold’s life and work and his ongoing impact in conservation and environmental stewardship. Voegeli 2005 is an early radio documentary that included the voices of many of Leopold’s family members and contemporaries. Paulson 2001 is an interview with three of the Leopold siblings. Loeffler 2011 is an exploration of the land ethic from varied personal and historical perspectives.

Bibliographies

Leopold published continually throughout his career on a broad array of topics in conservation science, philosophy, policy, and practice. His published works include more than three hundred items, including books, essays, scientific and popular articles, lectures, speeches, reports, book reviews, opinion pieces, and the occasional experiment in light verse. Leopold’s academic colleagues first prepared a list of his publications shortly after his death in April 1948. Over the decades Leopold family members, students, colleagues, and scholars elaborated the bibliography. The Aldo Leopold Archives (cited under Archival Resources) contain early versions of the bibliography (as well as an essentially complete collection of Leopold’s publications themselves). The comprehensive bibliography was included in Meine 2010 and in Flader and Callicott 1991. A complete and up-to-date bibliography can be found online in Barakatt 2010 (cited under General Overviews).

Primary Works

Aldo Leopold’s Bibliographies includes three books, more than three hundred published articles and essays, and several posthumous collections of his writings. Although Leopold gained wide readership and literary prominence for the lyrical essays in Leopold 1949 (cited under Books), during his lifetime he published pieces aimed mainly at his peers in conservation science and policy. These professional writings range across a wide array of conservation fields and interests, from his own core fields of forestry and wildlife ecology to agriculture, economics, education, and ethics.

Books

Leopold is best known for his book Leopold 1949. Leopold 1933 is not so well known among general readers but was greatly influential in the development of wildlife conservation. Even lesser known is Leopold 1931, a summary report of Leopold’s pioneering game surveys undertaken in the upper Midwest from 1928 to 1930.

  • Leopold, Aldo. 1931. Report on a game survey of the north central states. Madison, WI: Democrat.

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    The summary report of Leopold’s three years of game surveys in the states of the upper Midwest. Although primarily technical in nature, the volume reveals Leopold’s keen understanding of the dynamics of wildlife populations and landscapes.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1933. Game management. New York: Scribner.

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    The first text in the new field of game (later wildlife) management, it remained in wide use for decades after its publication. In it Leopold lays out the scientific foundations of game management, while also discussing the historical basis, policy needs, and philosophical orientation of the emerging field.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1949. A sand county almanac, and sketches here and there. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Leopold’s classic collection of natural history and conservation essays. Published posthumously, it has since been reissued in several paperback, expanded, and illustrated editions. The original edition reflects most closely Leopold’s vision for the volume.

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Collections

Many of Leopold’s most significant articles, lectures, commentaries, and journal accounts have been published in a series of posthumous collections. Leopold 1953 draws upon Leopold’s extensive outdoor journals and unpublished manuscripts. Flader and Callicott 1991 includes key pieces on a variety of conservation themes, representative of the breadth of the genres in which Leopold wrote. Brown and Carmony 1995 comprises important and representative articles focused on Leopold’s interest and experience in the American Southwest. Meine and Knight 1999 is a collection of selected quotations with commentaries by leading modern conservationists. Leopold 1999 focuses on Leopold’s writing on private land conservation and stewardship. Meine 2013 is a comprehensive collection that includes the entirety of Leopold 1949 (cited under Books), significant writings on ecology and conservation, and selected journals and correspondence.

  • Brown, David E., and Neil B. Carmony, eds. 1995. Aldo Leopold’s southwest. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press.

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    Brings together Leopold’s key writings on the American Southwest and northern Mexico. Carmony and Brown also provide insightful commentary and updates on Leopold’s understanding of landscape change in the region.

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  • Flader, Susan L., and J. Baird Callicott, eds. 1991. The river of the mother of god and other essays by Aldo Leopold. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Provides a varied selection of Leopold’s personal and professional writings and includes both previously published and unpublished items. The collection comprises many of the most significant items in Leopold’s bibliography while also demonstrating the breadth of genres in which Leopold wrote. Also includes a helpful introduction and the complete Leopold bibliography.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1999. For the health of the land: Previously unpublished essays and other writings by Aldo Leopold. Edited by J. Baird Callicott and Eric T. Freyfogle. Washington, DC: Island.

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    Draws especially on Leopold’s plentiful writings about private land and land stewardship. More so than other collections, it focuses on Leopold’s experience in the rural Midwest.

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  • Leopold, Luna B., ed. 1953. Round river: From the journals of Aldo Leopold. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Leopold’s son Luna edited this volume of selected journal entries and unpublished essays on conservation. Parts of this collection were also included in later paperback editions of A Sand County Almanac.

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  • Meine, Curt, ed. 2013. Aldo Leopold: A Sand County almanac and other writings on ecology and conservation. New York: Library of America.

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    Includes the entirety of A Sand County Almanac (with annotation) and a wide selection of essays, articles, journals, and selected correspondence. Also includes a detailed chronology of Leopold’s life.

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  • Meine, Curt, and Richard L. Knight, eds. 1999. The essential Aldo Leopold: Quotations and commentaries. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Organizes notable quotations from Leopold’s writing on twenty-one themes in three sections (“Conservation Science and Practice,” Conservation Policy,” and “Conservation and Culture”). Each chapter is accompanied by commentary from a distinguished scholar in that field.

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Key Themes

Aldo Leopold was unusual in the breadth of his concerns as a conservationist, scientist, and writer. His literary legacy reflects these wide-ranging but integrated interests and tracks their development in the conservation movement more generally. His several hundred published articles include important statements on a number of key themes and topics. Citations here include information on the original publication and the most accessible published version.

Forestry and Range Management

Forestry was Leopold’s first professional home and provided the foundation for his comprehensive conservation vision. That breath was readily apparent in even his earliest publications. Leopold 1913 records his commitment as a forester to conserve not just timber resources, but also the entire range of forest and rangeland benefits. Leopold 1924b was one of several early publications in which he pushes for a more active USFS role in addressing soil erosion problems. Leopold 1924a is his classic analysis of vegetation and watershed changes brought about by recent settlement and changes in grazing practices. Reflecting his increasing understanding of ecological dynamics, Leopold 1925 argues for more naturalistic approaches toward the stewardship of forests. Although his own professional interests would expand beyond forestry proper, he remained committed to the sensitive use and protection of forests throughout his life. Leopold 1942 illustrates that commitment in an important forest landscape of the upper Great Lakes.

Wilderness

Leopold had a lifelong passion for all wildlands. After joining the US Forest Service and witnessing the proliferation of roads and automobiles, he advocated for conserving wilderness for recreation, nonmotorized travel, and hunting. Leopold 1921 was an influential early plea to Leopold’s fellow foresters to take up the cause. His campaign intensified in the mid-1920s as he explored the cultural values of wilderness and made the case for its protection; Leopold 1925a and Leopold 1925b contain his message on wilderness preservation to public and professional audiences, respectively. Leopold 1935 is a pointed statement of the rationale for wilderness preservation. By the late 1930s Leopold was emphasizing the importance of wild landscapes as reference points for understanding ecological resilience and what he called “land health.” Leopold 1941 reflects this expanded set of values.

Wildlife Ecology and Management

Leopold was a key figure in the development of wildlife ecology and management in academic programs, state and national agencies, and nonprofit organizations. His earliest writings on the subject draw upon his own field experiences as a forester. In Leopold 1918 he applies principles from forestry to the management of game populations. Leopold 1925 captures game management on the cusp of its emergence as a distinct field. Leopold 1930 formalizes the new approach in policy. By the mid-1930s, the term wildlife was adopted and wildlife management had gained professional footing. Leopold continued to work at its forefront, arguing in Leopold 1936 for much greater attention to rare and threatened species. Leopold 1940 is an address that both looked back on the recent growth of wildlife ecology and defined the challenges before it.

Ecology (General)

Aldo Leopold’s career coincided with the maturing of ecology as a science. He recognized early the relevance of the new science, first to forestry, and ultimately to all fields of natural resource management. In Leopold 1934 he explores the insights that ecology offers into human impacts on the land and the potential for restoration. Leopold 1939 contains a comprehensive argument for the adoption of an ecological perspective in the various fields of applied resource management. Specific ecological concepts are woven throughout Leopold’s later scientific articles and literary essays. Highlighted here are publications on food webs (Leopold 1941), nutrient flows (Leopold 1942), and population irruptions (Leopold, et al. 1947). In 1947 Leopold was elected president of the Ecological Society of America. This coincided with his publication, in one of the field’s major journals, of Leopold and Jones 1947, a summary of Leopold’s dedicated long-term phenological studies in Wisconsin. The essay “Thinking Like a Mountain,” was first published in Leopold 1949, and it has become a literary touchstone especially for scientists focused on the study of trophic cascades.

  • Leopold, Aldo. 1934. The arboretum and the university. Parks and Recreation 18.2 (October): 59–60.

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    A landmark statement in the field of restoration ecology, based on Leopold’s dedicatory remarks for the University of Wisconsin Arboretum. Leopold proposes the insights of ecology and ecologically informed history be applied to the restoration of degraded biotic communities. Republished in Flader and Callicott 1991, pp. 209–211 (cited under General Overviews).

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1939. A biotic view of land. Journal of Forestry 37:727–730.

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    Delivered as an address to a joint meeting of the Society of American Foresters and the Ecological Society of America, this is Leopold’s summary statement of the significance of ecology for forestry and other resource management fields. Republished in Flader and Callicott 1991, pp. 266–273 (cited under General Overviews).

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1941. Lakes in relation to terrestrial life patterns. In A symposium on hydrobiology. Edited by James G. Needham, Paul B. Sears, and Aldo Leopold, 17–22. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Leopold’s focus in his own research and writing was terrestrial ecology. In this article Leopold explores the intrinsic connections between terrestrial and aquatic ecological communities.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1942. Odyssey. Audubon Magazine 44.3 (May–June): 133–135.

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    A popular essay in which Leopold explains the circulation of nutrients through ecological communities and the impacts of human activities on nutrient flow, soil, and water.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1949. Thinking like a mountain. In A Sand County Almanac. Edited by Aldo Leopold and Charles Walsh Schwartz, 129–133. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Among the best known of Leopold’s writings, the essay has been especially influential in stimulating new policies, research, and concepts involving predators, trophic cascades, and ecosystem management. See further citations in Ecology and Conservation Biology.

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  • Leopold, Aldo, and Sarah E. Jones. 1947. A phenological record for Sauk and Dane Counties, Wisconsin, 1935–1945. Ecological Monographs 17.1 (January): 81–122.

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    Leopold and his family kept detailed phenological records at their home in Madison, Wisconsin, and at their “shack” retreat in adjacent Sauk County. This summary interpretation of their phenological data now provides a critical baseline of information for continuing studies of the impact of climate change on plants and animals.

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  • Leopold, Aldo, Lyle K. Sowls, and David L. Spencer. 1947. A survey of over-populated deer ranges in the United States. Journal of Wildlife Management 11.2 (April): 162–177.

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    As both a scientist and a policymaker, Leopold became deeply enmeshed in controversial questions of deer ecology and management. In this paper Leopold and colleagues document the contemporary phenomenon of irruptive deer populations across the country.

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Agriculture and Private Lands

Leopold was devoted to issues of conservation on private lands, and especially the challenge of integrating conservation and agriculture. Leopold 1946 summarizes Leopold’s early interest in soil conservation on southwestern rangelands—a commitment he would carry back to the private farmlands of the upper Midwest in the next phase of his career. Leopold 1935 describes the innovative, whole-watershed approach that he helped guide in Coon Valley, Wisconsin, in the mid-1930s. That experience was one of several that also demonstrated the potential—and necessity—of community-based conservation on private lands. The significance of farmers and other private landowners in conservation is vividly summarized in Leopold 1939. Leopold 1945 manifests the deeper critique of modern trends in American agriculture that he began to articulate in the war years. Perhaps the fullest summation of his thoughts on this theme is in Leopold 1999.

  • Leopold, Aldo. 1935. Coon Valley: An adventure in cooperative conservation. American Forests 41.5 (May): 205–208.

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    Coon Valley, Wisconsin, was the site of the nation’s first watershed-scale soil and water conservation demonstration project. Leopold served as an advisor to the project and wrote this article describing its innovative approach to community-based conservation on private lands. Republished in Flader and Callicott 1991, pp. 218–223 (cited under General Overviews).

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1939. The farmer as a conservationist. American Forests 45.6 (June): 294–299, 316, 323.

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    Leopold’s years of working with Midwestern farmers on the conservation of soils, water, woodlands, and wildlife are distilled in this evocative essay. Republished in Flader and Callicott 1991, pp. 255–265 (cited under General Overviews).

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1945. The outlook for farm wildlife. Transactions of the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference 10:165–166.

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    With the welcome end of World War II on the horizon, Leopold speculates in this article on the changing status of agriculture, land use, and conservation in the postwar era. He presciently describes “the tremendous momentum of industrialization” in farming and its impact on wildlife. Republished in Flader and Callicott 1991, pp. 323–326 (cited under General Overviews).

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1946. Erosion as a menace to the social and economic future of the southwest. Journal of Forestry 44.9 (September): 627–633.

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    Originally written in 1922 but not published until 1946, this article draws on Leopold’s extensive field observations while serving with the US Forest Service in the American Southwest. Leopold’s concern over accelerated erosion processes in the region’s semiarid rangelands became the foundation for his lifelong attention to soil and water conservation.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1999. The land-health concept and conservation. In For the health of the land: Previously unpublished essays and other writings. Edited by J. Baird Callicott and Eric T. Freyfogle, 218–226. Washington, DC: Island.

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    Through the late 1930s and early 1940s Leopold’s vision of conservation increasingly focused on the concept and goal of “land health,” which he describes as “the capacity for self-renewal” in the land community as a whole. This essay, unpublished in his lifetime, is his most complete elaboration of the idea. Originally written in 1945.

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Conservation Policy and Economics

As an active player in conservation struggles, Leopold regularly examined the pragmatic implications of ecology for conservation policy and economics. Several threads run through these writings. Conservation inevitably involved complex relationships between public and private interests, and Leopold strove to harmonize them, as illustrated in Leopold 1934 and Leopold 1942a. Conservation also faced the challenge of seeking long-term goals in the face of constantly shifting economic and political winds. He describes such contemporary challenges in Leopold 1937. Even as the crisis of World War II eclipsed conservation concerns, it also raised new questions about the ultimate ends and means of conservation in a democratic society; in Leopold 1942b, he wrestles with those questions. Leopold 1991 is an important statement on fragmented versus integrated approaches to conservation, with strong implications for economics and policy.

  • Leopold, Aldo. 1934. Conservation economics. Journal of Forestry 32.5 (May): 537–544.

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    At the core of this article is Leopold’s pragmatic examination of the tension between public and private interests in the stewardship of commons resources. It reveals the impact of the Depression and the New Deal programs on Leopold’s conservation outlook. Republished in Flader and Callicott 1991, pp. 193–202 (cited under General Overviews).

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1937. Conservation blueprints. American Forests 43.12 (December): 596, 608.

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    Efforts to reorganize the federal government’s conservation agencies and departments prompted this pointed commentary on priorities in conservation administration.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1942a. The grizzly—A problem in land planning. Outdoor America 7.6 (April): 11–12.

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    Although Leopold often weighed in on broad themes in conservation policy, he also addressed specific and local concerns. Leopold here reviews the unique status and needs of the grizzly bear from a planning perspective.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1942b. Land-use and democracy. Audubon Magazine 44.5 (September–October): 259–265.

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    Written amid wartime, this article addresses the ethical obligations of landowners, producers, and consumers alike—and the limits and responsibilities of government—in achieving conservation goals. Republished in Flader and Callicott 1991, pp. 295–300 (cited under General Overviews).

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1991. Conservation: In whole or in part? In The river of the mother of god and other essays by Aldo Leopold. Edited by Susan L. Flader and J. Baird Callicott, 310–319. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Frustrated by the tendency in conservation to treat discrete “components” of land—soils, water, forests, wildlife—Leopold argues for a unified and integrated approach to the land. Originally prepared in 1944 for an internal report at the University of Wisconsin. Includes Leopold’s first developed discussion of his concept of “land health.”

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Conservation and Culture

For Leopold, ecology and conservation were not just professional pursuits, but essential to understanding our natural, cultural, and historical context, expanding our individual capacity for appreciation of the natural world and defining social well-being. His abiding interest in employing natural history and ecology to understand human history is displayed creatively in Leopold 1920, more pointedly in Leopold 1943, and more soberly (in light of world affairs) in Leopold 1944. Leopold saw education about ecological concepts and conservation challenges as vital to effective citizenship and personal development (Leopold 1937, Leopold 1942). Leopold 1938 is his most fully developed discussion of aesthetic quality in our relationships with land and the natural world.

Conservation and Ethics

Leopold’s essay “The Land Ethic” is widely regarded as a cornerstone of modern environmental ethics. The essay, completed in the summer of 1947, was the culminating expression of a theme that had drawn Leopold’s interest for decades. Leopold 1979 was the first sustained (though unpublished at the time of its writing) effort Leopold made to explore the “moral aspects” of conservation. His interest in the ethical underpinnings of conservation was implicit in much of his work and writing; with Leopold 1933, he began to more openly explore the subject. His growing concern with the indiscriminate application of fragmented and reductionist science to matters of land use and conservation is reflected in a series of draft essays, articles, and lectures, including Leopold 1991a, Leopold 1991b, and Leopold 1991c. This concern was both personal and professional, and he expressed it not only in his scientific and policy statements, but also in such literary works as Leopold 1949 and Leopold 1947b. Leopold 1947a is a forceful summary of his frustration over the absence of a coherent conservation ethic, an important precursor to “The Land Ethic.”

  • Leopold, Aldo. 1933. The conservation ethic. Journal of Forestry 31.6 (October): 634–643.

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    In this key publication Leopold argues for the “extension of ethics” from the human community to “man’s relationship with the land.” Discusses the implications of this extension for our understanding of human history, economics, and the conservation movement. Republished in Flader and Callicott 1991, pp. 181–192 (cited under General Overviews).

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1947a. The ecological conscience. Bulletin of the Garden Club of America 46 (September): 45–53.

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    Delivered as an address in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in July 1947. Leopold argues for weighing of ethical and aesthetic values against “economic provocation” in land-use practices and decisions. Republished in Flader and Callicott 1991, pp. 338–346 (cited under General Overviews).

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1947b. On a monument to the pigeon. In Silent wings: A memorial to the passenger pigeon. Edited by Walter E. Scott, 3–5. Madison: Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.

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    Leopold’s powerful evocation of the passenger pigeon as a vanquished ecological force and a symbol of unrestrained exploitation. Revised from an address delivered at the Wisconsin Ornithological Society meeting in Appleton, Wisconsin, in April 1946. Republished in Leopold 1949 (cited under Books), pp. 108–112.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1949. Thinking like a mountain. In A Sand County almanac. By Aldo Leopold, 129–133. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Leopold’s emerging ecological consciousness is reflected most poignantly in this landmark personal essay.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1979. Some fundamentals of conservation in the southwest. Environmental Ethics 1.2 (Summer): 131–141.

    DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics19791217Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Unpublished at the time Leopold drafted it in 1923, this essay includes his first sustained discussion of the moral aspects of conservation. Republished in Flader and Callicott 1991, pp. 86–97 (cited under General Overviews).

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1991a. Conservation: In whole or in part? In The river of the mother of god and other essays by Aldo Leopold. Edited by Susan L. Flader and J. Baird Callicott, 310–319. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Leopold’s fully developed argument for a more comprehensive and integrated approach to the conservation and health of the land as a whole, and not merely to the land’s constituent economic resources.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1991b. Engineering and conservation. In The river of the mother of god and other essays by Aldo Leopold. Edited by Susan L. Flader and J. Baird Callicott, 249–254. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Delivered as a lecture at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Engineering in 1938. Addressing students, Leopold argues for “the pooling of engineering and ecological skills” in the application of engineering’s tools.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1991c. Land pathology. In The river of the mother of god and other essays by Aldo Leopold. Edited by Susan L. Flader and J. Baird Callicott, 212–217. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Delivered as a lecture at the University of Wisconsin in 1935. Leopold discusses the intersection of public and private interest in land, and the importance of ecology, ethics, and aesthetics in mediating that relationship.

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International Conservation

Although Leopold’s international experience was limited, he enjoyed regular correspondence with colleagues around the world and gained critical perspective from his several trips abroad. Leopold and Ball 1931 reflects his fascination with cyclical biological phenomena, which transcend national boundaries. A pivotal trip to Germany in 1935 yielded Leopold 1936a, Leopold 1936b, and Leopold 1936c, which track a fundamental shift in Leopold’s approach to conservation. His observations from a 1936 trip to the Sierra Madre Occidental of northern Mexico are detailed in Leopold 1937. (Leopold’s experience in Mexico is also described in the “Chihuahua and Sonora” section of Leopold 1949, cited under Books.) World War II brought a broader international perspective to conservation; Leopold 1943 is one of many reflections on this emerging reality in his writing.

  • Leopold, Aldo. 1936a. Deer and Dauerwald in Germany. Part 1: History. Journal of Forestry 34.4 (April): 366–375.

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    The first part of a two-part article that was the primary product of Leopold’s examination of forestry and wildlife management in Germany. Documents the evolution of Germany’s resource management system that sought to maximize yields of timber and game but that risked undermining the resilience of Germany’s forest landscape.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1936b. Deer and Dauerwald in Germany. Part 2: Ecology and policy. Journal of Forestry 34.5 (May): 460–466.

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    This second part of Leopold’s two-part article on forestry and wildlife management in Germany. Focuses on the contemporary implications of resource management policies that threaten the long-term health of forests and wildlife populations.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1936c. Naturschutz in Germany. Bird-Lore 38.2 (March–April): 102–111.

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    In this overview of wildlife conservation in Germany, Leopold stresses the impacts of intensive resource management on nongame wildlife (e.g., rare species, predators, cavity-nesting birds), and he contrasts these with conservation efforts in the United States.

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1937. Conservationist in Mexico. American Forests 43.3 (March): 118–119, 146.

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    Leopold’s observations and reflections from his trips to northern Mexico. He contrasts conditions here with conditions north of the border and expresses his evolving views on the role of fire and predators, his interest in historic land uses of Native Americans, and his growing appreciation of the scientific value of wilderness. Republished in Flader and Callicott 1991, pp. 239–244 (cited under General Overviews).

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  • Leopold, Aldo. 1943. Review of Sherman Strong Hayden, the international protection of wild life. Geographical Review 33.2 (April): 340–341.

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    Hayden’s book assessed efforts to conserve wildlife through international policies and treaties. Leopold’s review conveys his appreciation of the tension between conservation and international development. He notes that the volume “will be an admirable factual spring-board for postwar efforts to untangle wildlife conservation.”

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  • Leopold, Aldo, and John N. Ball. 1931. British and American grouse cycles. Canadian Field Naturalist 45.7 (October): 162–167.

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    As a sportsman and scientist, Leopold had a lifelong fascination with regular fluctuations in wildlife populations. This gave him the opportunity to collaborate with field biologists and others interested in such phenomena globally, as in this article on grouse population cycles.

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Correspondence

Leopold wrote personal and professional letters throughout his life (although some periods of correspondence are better preserved than others). The Aldo Leopold Archives (cited under Archival Resources) hold the most extensive collection of letters. Leopold scholars have drawn upon the collection for many of the general and more focused studies cited under Biographies. The great majority of Leopold’s letters remain unpublished. Low 2011 draws on the extensive correspondence from Leopold’s time as a student at the Lawrenceville Preparatory School. Meine 2013 includes a section of selected correspondence.

A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There

Leopold’s collection of essays A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There (see Leopold 1949, cited under Books) has become one of the most influential texts in the history of ecology, conservation, and environmental thought. The book was published in the fall of 1949 to widespread critical acclaim. Sales were modest, if steady, until paperback editions appeared in 1966 and 1970 amid the rising environmental movement. A Sand County Almanac has since appeared in various editions and has been translated into twelve languages, including Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish. As the Almanac has taken its place among the classics of nature writing, it has become the subject itself of extensive scholarly and critical studies in environmental history and literature.

Background and History

The text of A Sand County Almanac was compiled and revised over a period of eight years, achieving its final structure and content only in the final months of Leopold’s life. Several publishers rejected the manuscript before Oxford University Press accepted it just one week before Leopold’s death on 21 April 1948. Drafts of many essays in the Almanac, and other materials related to the book’s background, are located in the Aldo Leopold Archives (cited under Archival Resources). Ribbens 1987 provides a detailed account of the compilation and evolution of the manuscript. Meine 2004 reviews the same history in relation especially to Leopold’s leadership role in wildlife conservation. Flader 2012 provides an account of the discovery of the locale of Leopold’s influential essay “Thinking Like a Mountain.”

  • Flader, Susan. 2012. Searching for Aldo Leopold’s green fire. Forest History Today 18.2: 26–34.

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    Recounts the discovery in 2009 of the site of the wolf-shooting incident that Leopold famously recounts in the essay “Thinking Like a Mountain.”

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  • Meine, Curt. 2004. Moving mountains. In Correction lines: Essays on land, Leopold, and conservation. Edited by Curt Meine, 148–160. Washington, DC: Island.

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    Reviews the development and publication of A Sand County Almanac in the context of contemporary conservation events and shifts in Leopold’s professional interests.

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  • Ribbens, Dennis. 1987. The making of A Sand County Almanac. In Companion to A Sand County Almanac: Interpretive and critical essays. Edited by J. Baird Callicott, 91–109. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Working with archival materials in the Aldo Leopold Papers, Ribbens provides a narrative account of the evolution of the text of A Sand County Almanac.

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Contemporary Reviews

A Sand County Almanac was widely reviewed at the time of its publication. Due to the circumstances of its posthumous publication, many reviews also served as commentaries on Leopold’s life and his contributions to conservation. While many reviewers treated Leopold’s book as a pleasant literary diversion into the natural world, others appreciated the more critical dimensions of Leopold’s conservation philosophy (Borland 1950). The authors of Hass 1949 and Devoe 1949 are among those who especially appreciated Leopold’s distinct voice in the Almanac. Dasmann 1967 is a later review by one the preeminent students of Leopold’s work. The Aldo Leopold Archives (cited under Archival Resources) include an extensive collection of book reviews.

  • Borland, Hal. 1950. The land is good. New York Times (16 July).

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    Borland, a prominent nature writer, describes the Almanac as “a trenchant book, full of beauty and vigor and bite, a fit testament from and monument to the man” (p. 10).

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  • Dasmann, Raymond F. 1967. A Sand County Almanac with other essays on conservation from Round River: A review. Quarterly Review of Biology 42.3: 417.

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    A review of the expanded 1966 edition by a leading conservationist biologist. Dasmann directs readers mainly to “the core of the book”: the philosophical essays “in which the now familiar terms ‘ecological conscience,’ ‘land ethic’ and ‘conservation esthetic’ are first defined and explored, and in which the significance of wilderness is examined.”

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  • Devoe, Alan. 1949. Review of A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. Commonwealth 51 (28 October): 77.

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    Devoe praises “this final testament” of Leopold, who was “not only an expert in forestry, ecology and game management, but an exceptionally sensitive and subtle appreciator and communicator of earth-values” (p. 3).

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  • Hass, Victor P. 1949. Critic wishes he’d written this volume. Chicago Tribune (25 December): 3.

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    Hass was among the more substantive original reviewers of A Sand County Almanac, noting that the book distilled “a lifetime of powerful thinking about conservation” and that Leopold defined the philosophical issues that future conservationists would need to confront.

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Analysis and Interpretation

A Sand County Almanac has generated regular commentary, criticism, and interpretation since its publication, especially with the emergence of interdisciplinary studies in environmental history, literature, ethics, and science. The author of Fritzell 1976 was among the first literary scholars to examine the text. Stegner 1985 uses the Almanac as a platform to discuss Leopold’s wider impact on American conservation and culture. Tallmadge 1987 interprets and positions the Almanac within the larger context of natural history writing. (These three essays are included in Callicott 1987.) Finch 1987 is a foreword published in the commemorative centennial edition of the Almanac. Nunnally 1988 expresses the growing appreciation of Leopold’s legacy as priorities and perspectives shifted within conservation and the environmental movement. Brower 2001 introduced a new photo-illustrated edition of the Almanac.

  • Brower, Kenneth. 2001. Introduction. In A Sand County almanac with essays on conservation. Edited by Aldo Leopold and Michael Sewell, 9–19. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Introduction to a photo-illustrated edition. Brower observes that the book’s influence has spread far beyond Wisconsin’s “Sand Counties” and that Leopold’s work in ecological restoration may be the most significant aspect of his legacy: “For the duration of our time on the planet . . . restoration will be the great task” (p. 9).

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  • Callicott, J. Baird, ed. 1987. Companion to A Sand County Almanac: Interpretive and critical essays. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Published in Leopold’s centennial year, this volume contains twelve original and previously published essays on the Almanac, Leopold, his intellectual foundations, and his impact. It also includes a previously unpublished foreword by Leopold to A Sand County Almanac manuscript.

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  • Finch, Robert. 1987. Introduction: The delights and dilemmas of A Sand County Almanac. In A Sand County almanac, and sketches here and there. Edited by Aldo Leopold and Charles Walsh Schwartz, 15–28. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    In introducing this centennial commemorative edition, Finch discerns certain qualities that account for the book’s enduring appeal: the depth and breadth of Leopold’s knowledge and his literary tone, “poetic sensibility” and the flow, structure, and interplay of the book’s parts. It stands, Finch concludes, “as a remarkably whole book.”

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  • Fritzell, Peter. 1976. Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac and the conflicts of ecological conscience. Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters 64:22–46.

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    Fritzell critically analyzes the text of the Almanac—“its overt argument, its many covert questions and counterarguments, the relationships among them, and the methods used to present them” (p. 23). Beneath the surface of Leopold’s lyrical expression, Fritzell identifies rich paradox and dualisms that in turn raise critical philosophical issues. Republished in Callicott 1987, pp. 128–153.

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  • Nunnally, Patrick. 1988. A mind at work: Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac. North Dakota Quarterly 56.3 (Summer): 79–86.

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    A thoughtful and self-critical examination of one reader’s changing perceptions, priorities, and appreciations in reading the Almanac.

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  • Stegner, Wallace. 1985. Living on our principal. Wilderness 48.168 (Spring): 5–21.

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    Stegner, a leading novelist and historian of the American West and conservation, regarded the Almanac as “one of the prophetic books” in American literature. His essay holds up the idea of a land ethic as an alternative to contemporary trends in land exploitation in the 1980s. Republished in Callicott 1987, pp. 233–245.

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  • Tallmadge, John. 1987. Anatomy of a classic. In Companion to A Sand County Almanac: Interpretive and critical essays. Edited by J. Baird Callicott, 110–127. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Much like Finch, Tallmadge identifies qualities that explain the Almanac’s continuing popularity: Leopold’s “peculiarly attractive style”; the values and personality of his narrative persona; the “thematic unity” of the book. The net effect is that the Almanac “fulfills our generic expectations in some respects while challenging them in others” (p. 114).

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“The Land Ethic”

The capstone essay of A Sand County Almanac is “The Land Ethic,” Leopold’s summary statement of an ecologically grounded ethic to inform and guide “individual responsibility for the health of the land.” Widely anthologized, the essay is the most quoted of Leopold’s writings and among the most cited texts in modern environmental studies and environmental ethics.

The Essay

The original publication is Leopold 1949. Leopold drafted “The Land Ethic” in July 1947, drawing on three of his most significant prior publications: Leopold 1933, Leopold 1939, and Leopold 1947. He extracted and carefully revised passages from these prior works, combining them with newly written material. The essay was then inserted into his evolving manuscript of Leopold 1949 (cited under Books).

Analysis and Criticism

“The Land Ethic” became a foundational text in environmental ethics as that field gained definition in the 1970s. Many of the earliest analyses and criticisms of Leopold’s essay appeared in the pages of the journal Callicott 1996, the first in the field, which began publishing in 1979. Leopold himself made no claims to being a formal philosopher or ethicist; Callicott 1987 provides a review of the philosophical background and foundations of the essential concepts in “The Land Ethic.” Callicott has continued to revisit and refine his interpretations of “The Land Ethic” in a series of publications (e.g., Callicott 1996), while many other ethicists have examined the essay through varied perspectives (e.g., Norton 1988, Rolston 2000, Warren 2004, Salwén 2014, Millstein 2015). See also the section Environmental Ethics. Leopold 2004 provides a personal interpretation of the durability of the ideas captured in “The Land Ethic.”

  • Callicott, J. Baird. 1987. The conceptual foundations of the land ethic. In Companion to A Sand County Almanac: Interpretive and critical essays. Edited by J. Baird Callicott, 186–217. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    By a leading philosophical interpreter and elaborator of Leopold. Callicott notes that, from the standpoint of formal philosophy, Leopold’s essay is “abbreviated, unfamiliar, and radical.” He then fills in the philosophical foundations beneath Leopold’s argument and confronts a series of objections to its core principles.

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  • Callicott, J. Baird. 1996. Do deconstructive ecology and sociobiology undermine Leopold’s land ethic? Environmental Ethics 18.4 (Winter): 353–372.

    DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics19961843Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Because Leopold’s statement of the land ethic was grounded in the ecological and social science of his time, it is susceptible to irrelevance as scientific information and organizing concepts have shifted. Callicott reviews these changes and reaffirms and updates the core ethical precepts of the land ethic.

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  • Environmental Ethics.

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    Founded in 1979, this was the first journal devoted to the subject. Analyses and critiques of Leopold and “The Land Ethic” have appeared regularly in its pages, contributed by not only philosophers and ethicists, but also theologians, historians, scientists, and resource managers.

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  • Leopold, A. Carl. 2004. Living with the land ethic. BioScience 54.2 (February): 149–154.

    DOI: 10.1641/0006-3568(2004)054[0149:LWTLE]2.0.CO;2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Leopold’s son Carl (see Leopold Family) reflects on the origins and development of the land ethic in an address to fellow scientists. Leopold views the land ethic both as a “new paradigm” grounded in personal experience and one of a proliferating “array of variations on the theme of environmental ethics” (p. 152).

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  • Millstein, Roberta L. 2015. Re-examining the Darwinian basis for Aldo Leopold’s land ethic. Ethics, Policy & Environment 18.3: 301–317.

    DOI: 10.1080/21550085.2015.1111617Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A critique of previous arguments that the land ethic, as framed by Leopold, finds roots in the Darwinian account of the evolutionary basis of ethics; arguing rather that Darwin’s influence comes through his proto-ecological view of natural systems

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  • Norton, Bryan G. 1988. The constancy of Leopold’s land ethic. Conservation Biology 2.1 (March): 93–102.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.1988.tb00338.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Unlike Callicott, Norton views the land ethic not as the expression of a deliberate shift in Leopold’s moral framework toward biocentrism but of his practical experience as a forester and wildlife manager. Norton sees this thread of long-term pragmatism connecting Leopold’s early and later expressions of a conservation ethic.

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  • Rolston, Holmes, III. 2000. The land ethic at the turn of the millennium. Biodiversity and Conservation 9.8 (August): 1045–1058.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1008918517655Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Rolston takes a position between Callicott and Norton, finding in the land ethic a “[vital] blending of anthropocentric and biocentric values,” and recognizing “ecosystem integrity and evolutionary dynamism at both scientific and philosophical levels” (p. 1045). Rolston further posits the need for an earth ethic that extends and fulfills the land ethic.

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  • Salwén, Håkan. 2014. The land ethic and the significance of the fascist objection. Ethics, Policy & Environment 17.2: 192–207.

    DOI: 10.1080/21550085.2014.926084Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Ethicists and non-ethicists have engaged in a long-standing debate over the charge that the land ethic, with its emphasis on collective well-being, leads to fascistic consequences. The author summarizes past interpretations and expresses continuing concerns about the “objection.”

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  • Warren, Karen. 2004. The philosophical foundation of a new land ethic. In The land ethic toolbox: Using ethics, emotion and spiritual values to advance American land conservation. Edited by Bob Perschel, 12–16. Washington, DC: Wilderness Society.

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    An effective and concise primer on the basic precepts and insights of the land ethic.

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Criticism and Commentary

During his life, Leopold earned a reputation within the conservation community as a broad and original thinker, a talented synthesizer of ideas, and a master wordsmith. That reputation was secured beyond his own lifetime as Leopold 1949 (cited under Books) became an essential text in conservation and environmental literature. In the 1980s and 1990s, priorities in conservation shifted, new interdisciplinary fields appeared, and Leopold’s other writings became more accessible. Scholars and lay readers alike found in his work the foundations of concepts—for example, ecological health, ecosystem services, community-based conservation, sustainability—that remain at the forefront of environmental thought and conservation practice. Several anthologies and special journal issues highlight Leopold’s writing, ideas, and experience. Conservation biologists, historians, economists, and other scholars have continued to examine and expand on Leopold’s work.

Anthologies and Journals

Several edited collections and special journal issues have examined Leopold’s life and work from varied disciplinary and thematic perspectives. The centennial of Leopold’s birth prompted the publication of two collections of scholarly essays and commentary, Callicott 1987 and Tanner 1995. Meine and Knight 1999 is a compilation of selected quotations, with expert commentary, on twenty-one different themes. The Wildlife Society Bulletin published a commemorative issue on Leopold and his legacy on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of A Sand County Almanac in Knight 1998. Many of the essays in that special issue were subsequently included in Knight and Riedel 2002. Van Horn and Caputi 2011 is a special issue of the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture.

  • Callicott, J. Baird, ed. 1987. Companion to A Sand County Almanac: Interpretive and critical essays. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Parts 3 (“The Upshot”) and 4 (“The Impact”) in this volume include six essays on Leopold’s intellectual foundations and his enduring influence in American culture and conservation—and increasingly in global environmental discussions.

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  • Knight, Richard L., ed. 1998. A Sand County Almanac and Aldo Leopold’s legacy. Wildlife Society Bulletin 26.4 (Winter).

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    A special commemorative feature marking the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of A Sand County Almanac. Includes an introduction and eleven essays by conservation biologists, philosophers, administrators, and planners.

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  • Knight, Richard L., and Susan Riedel. 2002. Aldo Leopold and the ecological conscience. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Includes thirteen essays on Leopold, conservation, and ethics by biologists, philosophers, historians, and educators.

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  • Meine, Curt, and Richard L. Knight. 1999. The essential Aldo Leopold: Quotations and commentaries. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Contains selected quotations from Leopold’s writing, organized into twenty-one chapters in three sections (“Conservation Science and Practice,” “Conservation Policy,” and “Conservation and Culture”). Each chapter is accompanied by a commentary from a leading scholar in that field.

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  • Tanner, Thomas. 1995. Aldo Leopold: The man and his legacy. 2d ed. Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society.

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    Originally published in 1987, this volume is the product of a conference at Iowa State University commemorating the centennial of Leopold’s birth. Includes thirteen essays in three sections (“The Man and His Legacy,” “Standing on His Shoulders,” and “From Burlington to Baraboo”) as well as introductions to the two prior editions.

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  • van Horn, Gavin, and Jane Caputi, eds. 2011. Special issue: Aldo Leopold: Ethical and spiritual dimensions. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture 5.4.

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    Devoted to the ethical and spiritual dimensions of Leopold’s work. Includes an introduction and six essays by ethicists and religious scholars, and a review of the documentary film Dunsky, et al. 2011 (cited under Films and Audio Documentaries). Article abstracts available online.

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Environmental Studies

Many scholars have reviewed Leopold’s impact in the context of broader historical, literary, and philosophical studies. Nash 1967 devotes a chapter to the significance of Leopold’s work and writing in the history of American wilderness and environmental philosophy. Worster 1994 examines more particularly the impact of Leopold on the emergence of an ecological worldview. Literary scholars have examined Leopold in comparative studies of nature writing (McClintock 1994, Paul 1992) and as a regional voice in the literature of the American Midwest (Barillas 2006). Minteer 2006 includes a significant chapter on Leopold as a key figure in the tradition of pragmatism in American conservation and environmentalism. Dicks 2014, Ortiz 2015, and Potter 2016 examine Leopold as an important exemplar of environmental rhetoric and imagery. Because Leopold creatively addressed core issues in the relationship between humans and nonhuman nature, his work has provoked novel reflections at the intersection of conservation and culture. Nabhan 1999 and Berthold 2004 address Leopold’s intent to bridge science and the arts through his writing and teaching.

  • Barillas, William D. 2006. The Midwestern pastoral: Place and landscape in literature of the American heartland. Athens, OH: Ohio Univ. Press.

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    Interprets Leopold as a Midwestern regional writer, reading him in the context of the region’s semiwild, mixed landscapes—and in contrast with Midwestern fiction writers.

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  • Berthold, Daniel. 2004. Aldo Leopold: In search of a poetic science. Human Ecology Review 11.3: 205–214.

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    Approaches Leopold’s writing in A Sand County Almanac as “experimentation with a form of poetic discourse that seeks to reimagine the nature of science.” The author discusses Leopold’s effort in his prose to overcome subject-object dualism, and to extend the conventional boundaries of perception in science.

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  • Dicks, Henry. 2014. Aldo Leopold and the ecological imaginary: The balance, the pyramid, and the round river. Environmental Philosophy 11.2: 175–209.

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    Examines the imagery Leopold employs in depicting human-land relationships, with particular attention to the salience of his “round river” metaphor.

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  • McClintock, James I. 1994. Nature’s kindred spirits: Aldo Leopold, Joseph Wood Krutch, Edward Abbey, Annie Dillard, and Gary Snyder. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Chapter 2 (pp. 23–45) of McClintock’s study is “Aldo Leopold: Mythmaker.” McClintock sees in Leopold’s language and persona “the power of the prophetic,” and a view of humans in nature that offers “hope for a better future grounded in Judeo-Christian and democratic ideals.”

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  • Minteer, Ben A. 2006. The landscape of reform: Civic pragmatism and environmental thought in America. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

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    Minteer challenges the standard dichotomous narrative of preservationists versus utilitarians in the development of American conservation and environmental thought, examining a pragmatic “third way” that includes Leopold. Chapter 5 (pp. 115–152) is “Aldo Leopold, Land Health, and the Public Interest.”

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  • Nabhan, Gary Paul. 1999. Between imagination and observation. In The essential Aldo Leopold: Quotations and commentaries. Edited by Curt Meine and Richard L. Knight, 269–270. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Discusses Leopold’s role in the evolution of natural history and nature writing—how Leopold’s writing “enabled the next generation of scientists to explore their poetic voices without apology” (p. 270).

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  • Nash, Roderick. 1967. Wilderness and the American mind. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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    The first edition of Nash’s classic study of the history of American attitudes toward wilderness. Chapter 11 (pp. 182–199) is “Aldo Leopold: Prophet.” Nash undertook this work as a PhD candidate in history at the University of Wisconsin. He was the first scholar to work with the Aldo Leopold Papers.

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  • Ortiz, Melba Vélez. 2015. A call to partnership, health, and pure fire: A vital vision of the future in Aldo Leopold’s “The Farmer as a Conservationist” address. In Green voices: Defending nature and the environment in American civic discourse. Edited by Richard D. Besel and Bernard K. Duffy, 93–110. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

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    Reviews Leopold’s “Farmer as a Conservationist” address as a case study in effective environmental rhetoric, successfully weaving together reasoned scientific argument and motivational passion.

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  • Paul, Sherman. 1992. For love of the world: Essays on nature writers. Iowa City: Univ. of Iowa Press.

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    Includes two chapters of commentary on Leopold: “The Husbandry of the Wild” and “Aldo Leopold’s Counter-Friction.” The first traces Leopold’s development as a writer; the second is a commentary on contemporary Leopold scholarship.

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  • Potter, Rebecca C. 2016. The biosemiotics of Aldo Leopold. Sign Systems Studies 44.1–2: 111–127.

    DOI: 10.12697/SSS.2016.44.1-2.07Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Compares and connects Leopold’s ecological and ethological descriptions in A Sand County Almanac with the work of pioneering German animal behaviorist Jakob von Uexküll.

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  • Worster, Donald. 1994. Nature’s economy: A history of ecological ideas. 2d ed. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    Leopold figures importantly in chapter 13 (pp. 258–290), “The Value of a Varmint.” Worster notes “incompatibilities” and “ambiguity” in Leopold’s definition of an ecologically informed land ethic. Worster would revisit his views on Leopold in his later volume The Wealth of Nature (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).

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Key Themes

Leopold’s exemplary ideas and writing continue to influence a wide array of disciplines and fields. His legacy as a conservation scientist, teacher, writer, advocate, and thinker remains relevant as we confront the complex cultural and environmental realities of the 21st century. The secondary literature on Leopold is extensive; the following themes are representative but not comprehensive.

Natural Resource Management

Leopold’s ideas continue to influence resource managers in the applied fields of forestry, fisheries and wildlife management, range management, and soil and water conservation. His integrated and interdisciplinary understanding of “the land,” and of human demands on it, underlies contemporary concepts of sustainability and resilience. Pister 1987 highlights Leopold’s attempt to overcome overspecialized, narrowly utilitarian, and short-term perspectives in resource management. Knight 1996 traces the connection between Leopold’s work and modern ecosystem management. Zeide 1998 and Callicott 1998 debate these broad changes in approach to resource management in the specific context of forestry.

  • Callicott, J. Baird. 1998. A critical examination of “another look at Leopold’s land ethic.” Journal of Forestry 96.1 (January): 20–26.

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    A rejoinder to Zeide 1998. The author detects an ulterior motive—“to discredit ecosystem management” as an emerging and competing paradigm for foresters—and refutes Zeide’s specific premises and objections. (Both articles are reprinted in Society of American Foresters 1998, cited under Environmental Ethics.)

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  • Knight, Richard L. 1996. Aldo Leopold, the land ethic, and ecosystem management. Journal of Wildlife Management 60.3 (July): 471–474.

    DOI: 10.2307/3802064Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The concept of ecosystem management emerged in the early 1990s as a response to more specialized, fragmented, and rigid models of resource management. Knight examines the roots of this more integrated approach in Leopold’s work.

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  • Pister, Edwin P. 1987. A pilgrim’s progress from group A to group B. In Companion to A Sand County Almanac: Interpretive and critical essays. Edited by J. Baird Callicott, 221–232. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    The author, a professional conservation biologist, recounts his personal, Leopold-informed transition from narrow utilitarian resource management to integrated land stewardship.

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  • Zeide, Boris. 1998. Another look at Leopold’s land ethic. Journal of Forestry 96.1 (January): 13–19.

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    The author finds Leopold’s land ethic—and the concept of ecosystem management that it undergirds—deeply flawed. An unwarranted emphasis on whole and integrated ecosystems, he argues, “leads to various inconsistencies and misinterpretations.”

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Ecology and Conservation Biology

Leopold’s influence as an early ecologist and forerunner of modern conservation biology came into sharper relief as concerns about human impacts on ecosystems shaped these fields. Historians and scientists alike have traced this influence. Noss 1998 argues that Leopold exemplified the integrated approach that defines conservation biology. Kohler 2011 and Waller and Flader 2010 both emphasize the importance of place-based research in Leopold’s ecological research. Modern ecologists, meanwhile, have returned to the sites and subjects of Leopold’s research to gain insight into historical ecological change. These include studies that revisit Leopold’s important early phenological work in Wisconsin (Bradley, et al. 1999), his assessments of trophic cascade effects (Binkley, et al. 2006; Ripple and Beschta 2005), and his views on the impact of exotic species (Simberloff 2012).

  • Binkley, Dan, Margaret Moore, William Romme, and Peter Brown. 2006. Was Aldo Leopold right about the Kaibab deer herd? Ecosystems 9.2 (March): 227–241.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10021-005-0100-zSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A revisiting of Leopold’s classic account of the role of predator extirpation in the irruption of the deer population on the Kaibab Plateau. While the authors note that “uncertainty remains within the overall story,” their study affirmed the basic dynamics of the episode.

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  • Bradley, Nina Leopold, A. Carl Leopold, John Ross, and Wellington Huffaker. 1999. Phenological changes reflect climate change in Wisconsin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 96.17 (17 August): 9701–9704.

    DOI: 10.1073/pnas.96.17.9701Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In 1947 Leopold published a summary account of findings from his phenological studies from 1935 to 1947. This study, comparing the historical records with more recent data, was among the first to use such information to show a significant effect of climate change in plant and animal responses. The first two authors are children of Aldo Leopold.

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  • Kohler, R. E. 2011. Paul Errington, Aldo Leopold, and wildlife ecology: Residential science. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 41.2 (Spring): 216–254.

    DOI: 10.1525/hsns.2011.41.2.216Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews the field studies and experience of Leopold and his colleague Errington as examples of “residential science,” that is, research deeply tied to place. Argues that “Errington’s ecology and Leopold’s ethic were shaped by their own residential trajectories.” Errington’s tribute (Errington 1948) to Leopold is cited under Obituaries.

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  • Noss, Reed. 1998. Aldo Leopold was a conservation biologist. Wildlife Society Bulletin 26.4 (Winter): 713–718.

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    Argues that the qualities that distinguished Leopold as a scientist and a conservationist are the same that led to, and are embraced by, the interdisciplinary field of conservation biology.

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  • Ripple, William J., and Robert L. Beschta. 2005. Linking wolves and plants: Aldo Leopold on trophic cascades. BioScience 55.7 (July): 613–621.

    DOI: 10.1641/0006-3568(2005)055[0613:LWAPAL]2.0.CO;2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews Leopold’s views on large carnivores and predation in the light of more recent studies of trophic cascade effects. The authors conclude that Leopold’s work “provided important and forward looking perspectives for understanding the role of large carnivores in affecting the status and functioning of ecosystems” (p. 8).

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  • Simberloff, Daniel. 2012. Integrity, stability, and beauty: Aldo Leopold’s evolving view of nonnative species. Environmental History 17.3 (July): 487–511.

    DOI: 10.1093/envhis/ems044Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines Leopold’s shifting views on introduced species and their implications for land health and biotic integrity. The author concludes that Leopold’s aversion to non-native species “can be interpreted as displaced nativism, but . . . more likely reflect aesthetic judgments and ecological concerns.” (p. 487).

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  • Waller, Donald M., and Susan L. Flader. 2010. Leopold’s legacy: An ecology of place. In The ecology of place: Contributions of place-based research to ecological understanding. Edited by Ian Billick and Mary V. Price, 40–62. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    Examines the importance of Leopold’s sense of place in his scientific and intellectual evolution. The authors see this theme reflected in Leopold’s ecological methodologies: “The comparison of different places, the use of history to analyze environmental change in a particular place, and the use of experiments” (p. 41).

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Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Since the 1980s scholars, scientists, and conservationists have given greater attention to the theme of sustainable agriculture and land stewardship in Leopold’s work. Meine 2012 reviews Leopold’s work and writing in this realm. Freyfogle 1998 explores the intersection of this theme with the institution of private property. Ross and Ross 1998, Hawkins 2002, Silbernagel and Silbernagel 2003, and Laubach 2014 revisit sites where Leopold worked that importantly shaped his views on land stewardship. Berkes, et al. 2012 examines Leopold’s concept of land health, which was central to his view of stewardship and sustainability.

  • Berkes, Fikret, Nancy C. Doubleday, and Graeme S. Cumming. 2012. Aldo Leopold’s land health from a resilience point of view: Self-renewal capacity of social-ecological systems. EcoHealth 9.3 (September): 278–287.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10393-012-0796-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A reconsideration of Leopold’s core concept of land health in the context of current concepts of resilience and coupled social-ecological systems. The authors see “a triangulation of productive use, self-renewal, and stewardship” that “remains both relevant and important for contemporary society” (p. 285).

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  • Freyfogle, Eric T. 1998. Bounded people, boundless lands: Envisioning a new land ethic. Washington, DC: Island.

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    Leopold’s work and writing figure prominently in this reconsideration of conservation and private property by a leading legal scholar.

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  • Hawkins, Arthur S. 2002. Return to Coon Valley. In The farm as natural habitat: Reconnecting food systems with ecosystems. Edited by Dana L. Jackson and Laura Jackson, 57–70. Washington, DC: Island.

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    Leopold served as advisor in the 1930s to the pioneering watershed rehabilitation work at Coon Valley, Wisconsin (see Leopold 1935, cited under Agriculture and Private Lands). Hawkins revisits Coon Valley and assesses the complex mix of vulnerability and resilience in the landscape.

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  • Laubach, Stephen A. 2014. Living a land ethic: A history of cooperative conservation on the Leopold Memorial Reserve. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    A history of the Leopold farm property, setting for the “shack” essays in Leopold 1949 (cited under Books), and cooperative efforts following Leopold’s death to protect and restore the surrounding landscape.

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  • Meine, Curt. 2012. The farmer as conservationist: Leopold on agriculture. In Aldo Leopold: The man and his legacy. 3d ed. Edited by Thomas Tanner, 39–52. Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society.

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    Highlights and reviews Leopold’s relatively underappreciated efforts to reconcile conservation and agriculture. Originally published in 1987.

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  • Ross, John, and Beth Ross. 1998. Prairie time: The Leopold reserve revisited. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Essays and photographs depicting the Leopold farm, setting for the “shack” essays in Leopold 1949 (cited under Books), and site of ongoing land restoration and stewardship.

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  • Silbernagel, Robert, and Janet Silbernagel. 2003. Tracking Aldo Leopold through Riley’s farmland: Remembering the Riley game cooperative. Wisconsin Magazine of History 86.4 (Summer): 34–45.

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    Retells the story of the southern Wisconsin landscape where Leopold worked with farmers in the 1930s and 1940s to enhance wildlife conditions.

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Wilderness

The wilderness protection movement, which Leopold helped to spearhead, culminated in the passing of the 1964 Wilderness Act (see Nash 1967, cited under Environmental Studies). Allin 2012 reviews Leopold’s pivotal role as a wilderness advocate. Oelschlaeger 1991 places Leopold’s wilderness ideas and advocacy in a broader historical context of the human experience of wild nature. During the 1990s, philosophers, historians, and scientists scrutinized and revised the concept of “wilderness,” often acknowledging Leopold for his prescience as well as his blind spots. Callicott and Nelson 1998 gathers many of the key commentaries (including several of Leopold’s original statements). Sutter 2002 builds upon and revises this scholarship, emphasizing the context of Leopold’s contemporary activism in the 1920s. Powell 2015 provides an example of recent continuation of the wilderness critique. The important connection between Leopold’s wilderness advocacy and his core concept of “land health” is developed in Warren 2016.

  • Allin, Craig W. 2012. The Leopold legacy and the American wilderness. In Aldo Leopold: The man and his legacy. 3d ed. Edited by Thomas Tanner, 25–38. Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society.

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    A concise account of Leopold’s contributions to the creation and development of the wilderness system in the United States. Originally published in 1987.

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  • Callicott, J. Baird, and Michael P. Nelson. 1998. The great new wilderness debate. Athens, GA: Univ. of Georgia Press.

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    The deconstruction and defense of wilderness ideas in the 1990s is reflected in this comprehensive collection. Includes two of Leopold’s essays and multiple references to Leopold among the other selected essays.

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  • Oelschlaeger, Max. 1991. The idea of wilderness: From prehistory to the age of ecology. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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    An interdisciplinary intellectual history of wilderness from the Paleolithic to the present. Chapter 7 (pp. 205–242), “Aldo Leopold and the Age of Ecology,” connects Leopold’s wilderness values and advocacy to his fully developed land ethic.

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  • Powell, Miles A. 2015. “Pestered with inhabitants”: Aldo Leopold, William Vogt, and more trouble with wilderness. Pacific Historical Review 84.2: 195–226.

    DOI: 10.1525/phr.2015.84.2.195Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contends that Leopold held a vision of unpeopled wilderness that implied and led to callous and misanthropic proposals for social policy.

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  • Sutter, Paul. 2002. Driven wild: How the fight against automobiles launched the modern wilderness movement. Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press.

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    Leopold is among the key figures whose work is profiled in this essential study of the wilderness protection movement in the interwar years. The author demonstrates the important impact of spreading roads and the rise of the automobile culture in stimulating political action to protect wildlands.

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  • Warren, Julianne Lutz. 2016. Aldo Leopold’s odyssey: Rediscovering the author of A Sand County Almanac. Washington, DC: Island.

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    Warren’s intellectual biography of Leopold carefully traces the connections among Leopold’s field experiences, his wilderness advocacy, his ecological science, and his integrative concept of land health. Originally published in 2006.

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Environmental Policy and Political Science

Leopold’s work and thought have been regularly cited by those interested in sustainability, community health, political reform, and the law—especially for those seeking to understand the historical foundations (and gaps) in modern environmental policy. The author of Yates 1978 was an early critique of Leopold’s political sensibility. By the late 1980s the deeper relevance of Leopold’s conservation philosophy was being highlighted by legal scholars (e.g., Freyfogle 1990, Karp 1988). Others (e.g., Flader 2003, Gabrielson and Cawley 2010, Matrazzo 2013) have focused on the theme of Leopold and citizenship. Cannavò 2012 explores the same theme in Leopold at the intersection of republicanism and environmentalism. Meine 2013 emphasizes the interplay in Leopold’s work among policy, science, and ethics. Berry 2013 is representative of an increasing interest in the extension of Leopold’s concept of a land ethic to include and embrace urban settings. Similarly, the land ethic has recently been increasingly cited and explored in connection with analysis of global health issues and public health policy (Carrick 2012, Goldberg and Patz 2015).

  • Berry, Melissa M. 2013. Thinking like a city: Grounding social-ecological resilience in an urban land ethic. Idaho Law Review 50:17–152.

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    Urges that cities be conceived as social-ecological systems to enhance their resilience, and that an urban land ethic be encouraged to connect urban dwellers with their social-ecological identity.

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  • Cannavò, Peter F. 2012. Ecological citizenship, time, and corruption: Aldo Leopold’s green republicanism. Environmental Politics 21.6 (November): 864–881.

    DOI: 10.1080/09644016.2012.683148Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines tensions in the political sources and implications of Leopold’s thought. The author concludes, however, that a full reading reveals that Leopold “avoids the pitfalls of his republican predecessors and articulates a more promising geography for civic virtue and participation” (p. 864).

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  • Carrick, Paul J. 2012. Aldo Leopold’s concept of land health: Implications for sound public health policy. In Human health and ecological integrity: Ethics, law, and human rights. Edited by Laura Westra, Colin Soskolne, and Donald Spady, 56–65. New York: Routledge.

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    Proposes that Leopold’s concept of land health connects a holistic understanding of humans and nature to core principles of public health policy at the center of today’s global health concerns.

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  • Flader, Susan. 2003. Building conservation on the land: Aldo Leopold and the tensions of professionalism and citizenship. In Reconstructing conservation: Finding common ground. Edited by Ben A. Minteer and Robert E. Manning, 115–132. Washington, DC: Island.

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    Follows the theme of citizenship across Leopold’s career, demonstrating a shift away from the centralized professionalism of the Progressive-era conservation movement and toward greater civic engagement and community-based approaches.

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  • Freyfogle, Eric T. 1990. The land ethic and pilgrim Leopold. Univ. of Colorado Law Review 61:217–256.

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    A general review of Leopold’s life, work, and legacy from a scholar of American culture and property law.

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  • Gabrielson, Teena, and R. McGreggor Cawley. 2010. Plain member and citizen: Aldo Leopold and environmental citizenship. Citizenship Studies 14.5 (October): 605–615.

    DOI: 10.1080/13621025.2010.506721Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Places Leopold within the growing literature of environmental citizenship. Leopold, the authors argue, “is both an advocate of the environment and a defender of democratic citizenship, [intertwining] these concepts such that one becomes essentially meaningless without the other.”

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  • Goldberg, Tony L., and Jonathan A. Patz. 2015. The need for a global health ethic. The Lancet 386.10007: 4–6.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60757-7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Proposes that Leopold’s vision of a land ethic can and should be extended to include contemporary global health challenges.

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  • Karp, James P. 1988. Aldo Leopold’s land ethic: Is an ecological conscience evolving in land development law? Environmental Law 19.4 (Summer): 737–749.

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    Reviews the essential elements of the land ethic and sees Leopold’s ideas becoming increasingly relevant in land law, that is, the common law of property or land use.

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  • Matrazzo, Stacey L. 2013. The Democratic Landscape: Envisioning Democracy through Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic. MA thesis, Rollins College.

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    Examines connections among land, Leopold’s framing of the land ethic, and democratic rights and responsibilities. Includes case studies of the land ethic as applied in the restoration of natural and more humanized landscapes.

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  • Meine, Curt. 2013. Aldo Leopold: Connecting conservation science, ethics, policy, and practice. In Linking ecology and ethics for a changing world: Values, philosophy, and action. Edited by Ricardo Rozzi, F. Stewart Chapin III, J. Baird Callicott, S. T. A. Pickett, Mary E. Power, Juan J. Armesto, and Roy H. May Jr., 173–184. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-7470-4_14Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that Leopold provides an important historical example of the dynamic interplay of ethics, policy, and science in the evolution of the conservation movement.

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  • Yates, Norris. 1978. The inadequate politics of Aldo Leopold. In Fifth Midwest Prairie Conference Proceedings: Iowa State Univ., Ames, August 22–24, 1876. Edited by David C. Glenn-Lewin and Roger Q. Landers, 219–221. Ames: Iowa State Univ.

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    Argues that Leopold was ineffective in realizing the land ethic in the political arena. Leopold, the author asserts, was unable to acknowledge that the attitudinal changes he advocated “would involve concomitant changes in the economic system and probably in the political infrastructure” (p. 220).

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Land Aesthetics

Leopold’s name is closely affiliated with the concept of the land ethic; less attention has been devoted to his congruent efforts to elaborate an ecologically informed land aesthetic. Callicott 2008 (first published in 1983) was the first to examine this theme formally from the perspective of environmental philosophy. Sayre 1991 discusses the significance of Leopold’s aesthetic through the lens of literary criticism. Rogers 2003 conversely employs Leopold in examining how literature shapes our ways of knowing nature. Gobster 1995 exemplifies the pragmatic influence of Leopold’s aesthetic in forestry and land management practices. Breakey and Breakey 2015 similarly highlights the potential of Leopold’s aesthetic criteria to inform more virtuous forms of tourism and recreation.

  • Breakey, Noreen M., and Hugh E. Breakey. 2015. Tourism and Aldo Leopold’s “cultural harvest”: Creating virtuous tourists as agents of sustainability. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 23.1: 85–103.

    DOI: 10.1080/09669582.2014.924954Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues for giving greater emphasis to Leopold’s concept of the land’s “cultural harvest,” and how such a concept can be employed to promote individual ethical development through conscientious tourism and other recreational activities.

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  • Callicott, J. Baird. 2008. Leopold’s land aesthetic. In Nature, aesthetics, and environmentalism: From beauty to duty. Edited by Allen Carlson and Sheila Lintott, 105–118. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    Describes the emergence and significance of Leopold’s sense of beauty and quality in nature, emphasizing the significance of ecology and evolutionary biology in informing his aesthetic development. First published in 1983 and anthologized several times since.

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  • Gobster, Paul H. 1995. Aldo Leopold’s ecological esthetic: Integrating esthetic and biodiversity values. Journal of Forestry 93.2 (February): 6–10.

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    Notes that Leopold saw an “intimate link between the beauty of the land and its ecological integrity” (p. 6). Yet this perspective can invite conflicts in land management. The article explores this in the context of forestry and demonstrates how disparate values can be creatively addressed and integrated.

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  • Rogers, Tim B. 2003. Revisioning our views of “nature” through an examination of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac. Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 10.2 (Summer): 47–73.

    DOI: 10.1093/isle/10.2.47Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Drawing on Leopold’s example, Rogers reflects upon the process of perception and communication of natural phenomena through literature.

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  • Sayre, Robert F. 1991. Aldo Leopold’s sentimentalism: “A refined taste in natural objects.” North Dakota Quarterly 58:112–125.

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    Reflects upon the connection between Leopold’s writing style and his aesthetic appreciation, and the significance of this connection in Leopold’s formulation of the land ethic.

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Education

Leopold’s significance for educators is reflected not only in his enduring presence on classroom reading lists, but also in the example he provides of critical interdisciplinary inquiry. Leopold scholars have noted this quality in his thinking and in his own pedagogy (e.g., Flader 1983, Theiss 2009). Meine 1999 examines the development of Leopold’s own instructional style and materials in his primary undergraduate course. Knapp 2005 sees Leopold as an originator of a still-emerging “pedagogy of place.”

Economics

Economists with an interdisciplinary perspective have begun to examine Leopold’s views on the economic forces that influence the behavior of individuals, the priorities of society, and the dynamics of landscapes. Snow 1999 reflects on the emergence of the interdisciplinary field of ecological economics. MacCleery 2000 highlights the theme of consumption and the land ethic. Shaw 2001 discusses the relevance of Leopold’s conservation economics to business law and ethics. Goodwin 2008 provides a thorough review of Leopold and economics in general. Kuper 2014 examines Leopold’s critique of anthropocentric economic worldviews. Lin 2014 and Lin and Fyles 2015 place Leopold more particularly in the context of modern ecological economics.

  • Goodwin, Crauford D. 2008. Ecologist meets economics: Aldo Leopold, 1887–1948. Journal of the History of Economic Thought 30.4 (December): 429–452.

    DOI: 10.1017/S1053837207000429Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Traces the evolution in Leopold’s economic outlook, from his early immersion in utilitarian economic thinking to his disillusionment “after finding it inadequate for dealing with the environmental issues that concerned him” (p. 429). Discusses Leopold’s alternative, “prescient” modes of economic analysis and their policy implications.

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  • Kuper, Savannah. 2014. Thoreau, Leopold, and Carson: Challenging capitalist conceptions of the natural environment. Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development 13.1: 267–284.

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    Examines criticisms of anthropocentricism as expressed by Henry David Thoreau in Walden (1854), Leopold in A Sand County Almanac (1949), and Rachel Carson in Silent Spring (1962).

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  • Lin, Qi Feng. 2014. Aldo Leopold’s unrealized proposals to rethink economics. Ecological Economics 108:104–114.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.10.018Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the background of Leopold’s economic outlook with a particular focus on Leopold as a precursor to modern ecological economics.

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  • Lin, Qi Feng, and James W. Fyles. 2015. Following in Aldo Leopold’s footsteps. In Ecological economics for the anthropocene: An emerging paradigm. Edited by Peter G. Brown and Peter Timmerman, 208–232. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    Explores Leopold’s role as an early thinker at the intersection of ecology and economics.

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  • MacCleery, Douglas W. 2000. Aldo Leopold’s land ethic: Is it only half a loaf? Journal of Forestry 98.10 (October): 5–7.

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    Argues that the land ethic remains limited and inadequate as long as it solely focused on the impacts of economic production on the land. Also argues that this must be connected to and balanced with a renewed focus on consumption patterns.

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  • Shaw, Bill. 2001. Economics and the environment: A “land ethic” critique of economic policy. Journal of Business Ethics 33.1 (September): 51–57.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1011951217459Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A reflection on the development of modern environmental policy and efforts to reconcile environmental consciousness and economic efficiency. This serves as a springboard to consideration of Leopold, the land ethic, and the limits and dynamics of natural and economic systems.

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  • Snow, Donald P. 1999. Do economists know about lupines? In The essential Aldo Leopold: Quotations and commentaries. Edited by Curt Meine and Richard L. Knight, 190–193. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Commentary on Leopold and economics from the perspective of a modern “ecology of economics.” Highlights the impact of contemporary “commercial determinism” on Leopold’s views, and his anticipation of recent efforts to define an economy that “mimics and seeks to learn from ecological processes.”

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Environmental Ethics

Leopold remains a foundational figure in the development of modern environmental ethics. Callicott 1989 and Callicott 1999 feature the essential essays of Leopold’s principal philosophical interpreter. Callicott 2013 is a comprehensive synthesis of the author’s scholarship and its foundations in Leopold’s work. Norton 1995 and Rolston 2015 present the contrasting views of two other leading ethicists deeply informed by Leopold’s thinking. Leopold has not always met with acceptance among academic ethicists; Henning 2016 argues for a reevaluation of Leopold in light of process philosophy associated with Alfred North Whitehead. Society of American Foresters 1998 was prompted by a pointed debate over the significance of Leopold and the land ethic in the field of forestry. Potter 1999 recalled the connection between Leopold’s formulation of the land ethic and the origins of the term bioethics. Özdağ 2013 represents two recent trends in interpretations of Leopold: his relevance to discussions of marine environmental ethics and in settings beyond primarily North America. See also Millstein 2015, cited under “The Land Ethic”: Analysis and Criticism.

Cross-Cultural and Religious Perspectives

Leopold’s land ethic has invited commentary and criticism from varied cultural perspectives. Scoville 2000 is illustrative of the attention Leopold has drawn from scholars working at the intersection of religious studies and ecology. Warren 2000 and Mallory 2001 make contrasting arguments about Leopold and the land ethic from the perspective of ecofeminist philosophy. Shilling 2009 contends that Leopold’s early experience in the multicultural environment of the American Southwest shaped his evolving conservation philosophy in important ways. By contrast, Longoria 2014 sees Leopold’s conservation paradigm as insensitive to the history of the region’s Mexican American and Chicana/o environmental legacy. Reynolds 2003 argues that the land ethic, as Leopold defined it, bears close resemblance to the Native Ojibwe worldview; Whyte 2012, conversely, cautions against overextending such comparisons. Cryer 2014 and Cryer 2015 address such questions through a review of Leopold’s early policy advocacy. Bush 2013 adds to the major emphases in contemporary theological discussions of the land ethic and its call for an expanded moral community.

  • Bush, Joseph E. 2013. Land ethic through a retrospective lens: Focusing and refocusing moral community. New Theology Review 26.2: 13–22.

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    Reviews continuing discussions of Leopold’s proposal for an expanded community of moral concern and proposes a typology for characterizing the primary foci of this ongoing discourse in ecotheology and ecological ethics.

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  • Cryer, Daniel A. 2014. A model citizen: Ethos, conservation, and the rhetorical construction of Aldo Leopold. PhD diss., Univ. of New Mexico, 2014.

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    A study of Leopold’s evolving ethos as revealed by his changing rhetorical strategies at different point in his career.

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  • Cryer, Daniel A. 2015. A contradictory ethos: Sportsman citizenship and native exclusion in Aldo Leopold’s Pine Cone. New Mexico Historical Review 90.4: 489–508.

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    Examines Leopold’s early public editorial and conservation advocacy work and what the work reveals of Leopold’s views on race and class in New Mexico.

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  • Longoria, Mario. 2014. Land, literature, and power in the southwestern United States: Aldo Leopold’s colonialist land ethics and the evolution of a postcolonial Chicana/o environmental politics and poetics. PhD diss., Univ. of Texas at San Antonio.

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    Criticizes Leopold’s Mexican and Southwest writings, arguing that his conservation paradigm is based on imperialist and racialized attitudes; and compares Leopold’s approach to land ethics to those of Mexican American and Chicana/o poets and prose writers.

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  • Mallory, Chaone. 2001. Acts of objectification and the repudiation of dominance: Leopold, ecofeminism, and the ecological narrative. Ethics and the Environment 6.2 (Autumn): 59–89.

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    Argues (counter to Warren 2000 and others) that Leopold’s work, however invaluable to environmental discourse, “may unwittingly promote an attitude of domination toward the nonhuman world.” Leopold’s hunting practice in seen as problematic, and “may . . . reinforce the very notions that have been revealed as damaging to the nature/culture relationship” (p. 59).

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  • Reynolds, Glenn C. 2003. A native American water ethic. In Wisconsin’s waters: A confluence of perspectives. Edited by Curt Meine, 143–161. Madison: Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.

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    Discusses the similarities and contrasts between the land ethic that Leopold defined and the traditional water ethic of the Sakaogon Ojibwe community in Wisconsin. The author draws upon his experience in providing legal counsel to the latter in their efforts to protect their home waters from a proposed sulphide mine.

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  • Scoville, Judith N. 2000. Leopold’s land ethic and ecotheology. Ecotheology: Journal of Religion, Nature and the Environment 8 (January): 58–70.

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    A call for those in the interdisciplinary field of ecotheology to “seriously engage [Leopold’s] thought.” Inquires into this relative lack of substantive and critical attention. (See, however, van Horn and Caputi 2011, cited under Anthologies and Journals, for further commentary that addresses this call.)

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  • Shilling, Dan. 2009. Aldo Leopold listens to the southwest. Journal of the Southwest 51.3 (Autumn): 317–350.

    DOI: 10.1353/jsw.2009.0019Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the influence of the American Southwest landscape, and the region’s tribal, Hispanic, and ranching cultures, on Leopold and the evolution of the land ethic.

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  • Warren, Karen. 2000. What is ecological about ecofeminist philosophy? Ecofeminist philosophy, ecosystem ecology, and Leopold’s land ethic. In Ecofeminist philosophy: A western perspective on what it is and why it matters. Edited by Karen Warren, 147–174. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

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    Calls for recognizing that there is “common ecological ground” where ecofeminist philosophy, ecosystems ecology, and Leopold’s land ethic meet, and that all may “learn from and benefit by” greater dialogue among them.

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  • Whyte, Kyle Powys. 2012. Indigenous North American ethics and Aldo Leopold’s land ethic: A critical view of comparison and collaboration. Social Science Research Network.

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    A response in part to Shilling 2009. Acknowledges the “well-intentioned” comparison of Leopold’s land ethic to North American tribal ethics but holds that such a comparison ought not to mask significant distinctions involving the meaning of social ties, history, and science. Suggests an alternative, more promising emphasis on intercultural collaboration.

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International Perspectives

Leopold’s experience outside the United States was limited, and commentary on his life and work outside the English language has been relatively sparse. However, the discussion of the broad relevance of his work continues to develop. Odin 1991 provides an example of this, in a landscape (Japan) that Leopold never visited. Leopold’s observations during his 1935 trip to Germany and adjacent Czechoslovakia have been reviewed by those concerned with sustainable forestry, wildlife management, and ecosystem management in central Europe (Schabel 2001, Wolfe and von Berg 1988). Similarly, Leopold’s two trips to Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental have provided modern conservation scholars with important insights into the human and natural dynamics of that region (Forbes 2004, Nabhan 1998). The author of Dasmann 2012 is one of many commentators who have seen Leopold’s expression of the land ethic as the basis for a global environmental ethic. See also Özdağ 2013, cited under Environmental Ethics.

  • Dasmann, Raymond F. 2012. The land ethic and the world scene. In Aldo Leopold: The man and his legacy. 3d ed. Edited by Thomas Tanner, 107–114. Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society.

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    Dasmann, a leading international conservation biologist, provides a global perspective on Leopold’s legacy. This article can now be read in historical perspective, as key concepts (inspired in part by Leopold), such as ecosystem management, community-based conservation, and landscape-scale approaches, were just then emerging.

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  • Forbes, William. 2004. Revisiting Aldo Leopold’s “perfect” land health conservation and development in Mexico’s Rio Gavilan. PhD diss., Univ. of North Texas.

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    A comprehensive study of historical environmental impacts, current ecological health, and ecological restoration potential in the Rio Gavilan watershed that Leopold visited in the 1930s. Includes a review of recent critiques of Leopold’s analysis of the area.

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  • Nabhan, Gary Paul. 1998. Sierra Madre upshot: Ecological and agriculture health. In Cultures of habitat: On nature, culture, and story. Edited by Gary Paul Nabhan, 43–56. Washington, DC: Counterpoint.

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    A naturalist and writer returns to the Sierra Madre Occidental landscape that Leopold visited and wrote about in the 1930s. Notable for its insights into ancient, historical, and modern human relationships to the land and the dynamics of ecological health in the region.

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  • Odin, Steve. 1991. The Japanese concept of nature in relation to the environmental ethics and conservation aesthetics of Aldo Leopold. Environmental Ethics 13.4 (Winter): 345–360.

    DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics199113434Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Compares Leopold’s ecological worldview with the concept of nature found in Japanese Buddhism. The author identifies strong points of convergence in the idea of extending ethics to include human-land relationships, and in grounding of the land ethic in a land aesthetic.

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  • Schabel, Hans G. 2001. Deer and Dauerwald in Germany: Any progress? Wildlife Society Bulletin 29.3 (Autumn): 888–898.

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    Recounts Leopold’s study in 1935 and describes the Dauerwald concept. Examines “the demise, dormancy, and revival” of the Dauerwald idea in Germany since Leopold’s visit.

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  • Wolfe, Michael L., and Friedrich-Christian von Berg. 1988. Deer and forestry in Germany: Half a century after Aldo Leopold. Journal of Forestry 86.5: 25–31.

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    Interprets Leopold’s observations and analysis of forestry and wildlife management in central Europe in the 1930s and applies these insights to consideration of contemporary resource management challenges.

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