This is a turbulent time for the conservation of America's natural and cultural heritage. From the current assaults on environmental protection to the threats of climate change, biodiversity loss, and disparity of environmental justice, the challenges facing the conservation movement are both immediate and long term. In this time of uncertainty, we need a clear and compelling guide for the future of conservation in America, a declaration to inspire the next generation of conservation leaders. This is that guide – what the authors describe as "a chart for rough water".
Written by the first scientist appointed as science advisor to the director of the National Park Service and the eighteenth director of the National Park Service, this is a candid, passionate, and ultimately hopeful book. The authors describe a unified vision of conservation that binds nature protection, historical preservation, sustainability, public health, civil rights and social justice, and science into common cause – and offer real-world strategies for progress. To be read, pondered, debated, and often revisited, The Future of Conservation in America is destined to be a touchstone for the conservation movement in the decades ahead.
Gary E. Machlis is university professor of environmental sustainability at Clemson University and former science advisor to the director of the National Park Service. He is coeditor of Science, Conservation, and National Parks, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
Jonathan B. Jarvis served for forty years with the National Park Service as ranger, biologist, superintendent, regional director, and was its eighteenth director from 2009 to 2017.
"I learned from my early days exploring the forests and waters of Georgia and my years in Washington, DC, that conservation is an American value that needs replenishment by each new generation. There are growing dangers to our most precious civic possessions: the air we breathe; the water we drink; and the land that sustains us. Divisive politics distract us from these common interests. The Future of Conservation in America calls for an enlightened vision for the future. The authors draw from a combined eighty years of public service in conservation and science to chart a course for a new generation of conservation action and leadership."
– President Jimmy Carter
"The Future of Conservation in America is a call to action by two of the professional leaders most qualified to write it. The ongoing populist assaults on America's parks and wildlands is nothing less than a threat to a key part of our culture. Still worse, its effects will be irreversible. With authority and passion, the authors present an outline of the necessary defensive action to be undertaken now."
– E. O. Wilson
"A personal reflection based on science and firsthand experience, a primer on how we can engage and be present in the service of life with all its complexities; how natural histories embedded in America's diverse landscapes can illuminate our diverse cultural histories."
– Terry Tempest Williams, from the foreword