Land ethic

A Land ethic is a philosophy that seeks to guide the actions when humans use or make changes to the land. The term was coined by Aldo Leopold (1887–1948) in his book A Sand County Almanac (1949). He wrote that there is a need for a “new ethic”, an “ethic dealing with human’s relation to land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it”.[1]Although Leopold is credited with coining this term, specific land ethics were in place prior to his writing Sand County Almanac. For example, Leopold himself defines and argues against an economic land ethic.

A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There is a 1949 non-fiction book by American ecologist, forester, and environmentalist Aldo Leopold. Describing the land around the author’s home in Sauk County, Wisconsin, the collection of essays advocate Leopold’s idea of a “land ethic“, or a responsible relationship existing between people and the land they inhabit. Edited and published by his son, Luna, a year after Leopold’s death, the book is considered a landmark in the American conservation movement.

The book has had over two million copies printed and has been translated into twelve languages.[1] It has informed and changed the environmental movement and stimulated a widespread interest in ecology as a science.

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