News headlines would often have us believe that conservationists are inevitably locked in conflict with the people who live and work on the lands they seek to protect. Not so, across the western expanses of the United States, conservationists, ranchers, and forest workers are bucking preconceptions to establish common ground and join together to protect wide open spaces, diverse habitats, and working landscapes.
Featuring contributions from an impressive array of scientists, conservationists, scholars, ranchers, and foresters, Stitching the West Back Together explores that expanded, inclusive vision of environmentalism as it delves into the history and evolution of western land use policy and of the working landscapes themselves. Chapters include detailed case studies of efforts to promote both environmental and economic sustainability, with lessons learned; descriptions of emerging institutional frameworks for conserving Western working landscapes; and implications for best practices and policies crucial to the future of the West's working forests and rangelands. As economic and demographic forces threaten these lands with fragmentation and destruction, Stitching the West Back Together encourages a hopeful balance between production and conservation on the large, interconnected landscapes required for maintaining cultural and biological diversity over the long term.
"Stitching the West Back Together makes a powerful argument for the importance of private lands in biodiversity conservation and the interdependence of public and private lands in the sustainability of working landscapes, which in turn is inextricably linked with the conservation of biodiversity in the West. What is unique about this book is that it addresses the problem and the potential solutions together and in a holistic way, giving an honest and balanced overview. An exciting contribution to the collaborative conservation literature, this book provides hope, tools, and recommendations that will help advance the use of collaborative conservation in the western United States."
- Pelayo Alvarez, conservation program director, California Rangeland Conservation Coalition
"Substantial, useful, and accessible, this book gives novel voice to people who have been at the heart of collaborative initiatives, allowing them to tell their stories in a powerful way. It is also one of the rare books that brings together work in forests and rangelands. Compelling."
- Robin Reid, Center for Collaborative Conservation, Colorado State University
"Stitching the West Back Together is an excellent read and a highly important contribution. This book fills a glaring gap, helping us to understand the transformation of the West and the way we foster that transformation. Chapters from both non-academic practitioners as well as academics involved in on-the-ground conservation effectively connect theory and practice, and make this book exceptional. Stitching the West Back Together will be extremely useful for university faculty and students, rural communities and civic groups, public land managers, and private businesses in forestry, farming, and ranching. Not only does it chart the contours of a changing West, it provides the depth and detail needed to inspire real change and action."
- Laurie Yung, College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana
"In the magnificent, hard-pressed lands west of the Mississippi, the war to define good stewardship intensifies every year. Stitching the West Back Together offers, instead, a peace process: practical, community-based, and frequently inspiring. Can healthy terrain yield healthy profit? Almost certainly, according to these well-chosen case studies, which argue for a new public policy of interdependence and cooperation, fueled by redoubled respect for the history and ecology of this most difficult, subtle, and underappreciated of US regions."
- Anne Matthews, author of Where the Buffalo Roam: Restoring America's Great Plains
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Susan Charnley is a research social scientist at the USDA Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station. Thomas E. Sheridan is professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona and a research anthropologist at the university's Southwest Center, where Gary P. Nabhan is a research scientist.