Sales Information Death and Life of Monterey Bay
Trim Size: 6 x 9 Pages: 224 Copyright: 2012
A Story of Revival Stephen Palumbi and Carolyn Sotka ISBN
Paperback 978-1-61091-190-0 $ 17.95 Hardcover 978-1-59726-435-8 $ 26.95
DiscounW Island Press Trade Island Press Trade
Season Fall 2012 Fall 2010
Bookstore Categories NATURE / Oceans & Seas NATURE / Oceans & Seas
Michael Rigsby, Editor, A Natural History of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey Bay Aquarium Press, 1999
Stephen R. Palumbi, The Evolution Explosion: How Humans Cause Rapid Evolutionary Change, W. W. Norton & Company, 2002
Jerry Emory, The Monterey Bay Shoreline Guide, University of California Press, 1999, $15.95 pb.
Sales Handle The remarkable story of how ordinary citizens brought Monterey Bay back to life
What is this book about? Anyone who has ever stood on the shores of Monterey Bay, watching the rolling ocean waves and frolicking otters, knows it is a unique place. But even residents on this idyllic California coast may not realize its full history. Monterey began as a natural paradise, but became the poster child for industrial devastation in John Steinbeck's Cannery Row. It is a remarkable story of life, death, and revival-told here in all its stunning color and bleak grays. The Death and Life of Monterey Bay begins in the eighteenth century when Spanish and French explorers encountered a rocky shoreline brimming with life. A century and a half later, many of the sea creatures had disappeared, replaced by sardine canneries that sickened residents with their stench but kept the money flowing. When the fish ran out and the climate turned, the factories emptied and the community crumbled. But today, both Monterey's economy and wildlife are resplendent. How did it happen? The answer is deceptively simple: through the extraordinary acts of ordinary people. The Death and Life of Monterey Bay is the biography of a place, but also of the residents who reclaimed it. Monterey is thriving because of an eccentric mayor who wasn't afraid to use pistols, axes, or the force of law to protect her coasts. It is because of fishermen who love their livelihood, scientists who are fascinated by the sea's mysteries, and philanthropists and community leaders willing to invest in a world-class aquarium. The shores of Monterey Bay revived because of human passion—passion that enlivens every page of this hopeful book.
Selling Points — The first book to capture the full natural and human history of Monterey Bay — A rare environmental success story that shows the resilience of the Bay ecosystem — Provides insights into well known figures like John Steinbeck as well as compelling, but little known, personalities like Julia Platt — A keepsake for tourists (including the millions who visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium each year) and residents alike
intr od uc ti on Chapter 1
part i: The Rui n Chapter 2
The First California Gold Rush: Otters
Whale Bones in Treasure Bay
Abalone Shells and China Point
part ii: The Bo t t om Chapter 5
Dr. Mayor Julia Platt
The Power of One: Julia Fights the Canneries
Chapter 7 Ed Ricketts, Ecology and the Philosophy
of Tide Pools Dust Bowl of the Sea: The Canneries Collapse
part iii: Th e Re cov e ry Chapter 9
The Otter Returns
Kelp, Seals, and Seabirds Rise Again
The Century to Come
About the Authors
unkered down in a small rented motorboat, the members of the 1935 City Council of Pacific Grove, California were dismayed to see the weather worsening. They were already nearly out of sight of land, beyond the boundaries of Monterey Bay, and some of them were starting to feel queasy. Cajoled into this particular boat by the mayor of Pacific Grove, doctor of marine zoology Julia Platt, they couldn’t muster the nerve to protest very loudly. After all, Mayor Platt had just died and was along only for the boat ride. Yet, even in death, wrapped in canvas and covered in flowers, Julia was still very much in charge. Twelve miles offshore was the stipulation in Julia’s will, 12 miles until her canvas-wrapped body could be cast into the deep. Tradition in 1935 decreed that the Pacific Grove City Council act as pallbearers for a former mayor. No one had ever demanded a burial at sea before, and neither tradition nor small-town pride would allow the City 3
The Death and Life of Monterey Bay
Council to demur with honor. So Julia focused the town’s entire attention once more on the dark and rolling ocean and moved the city council just the way she wanted: to protect the sea. The sea called for help. The ocean that swirled around the jutting rocks of Pacific Grove was no longer healthy. Swirling in the wake of Julia’s boat were the typical waifs of the coastal seas: bits of kelp, jellyfish, seafoam churned nearly airborne by the waves. However, the kelp plants lay thin and spare, and the foam spumed an oily yellow that smelled of decay. Even the soaring seabirds gulped fish entrails and fought over discarded fish heads from the nearby canneries. It was the low point in the health of Monterey Bay. But Julia Platt had left a legacy that could help repair the health of the bay. Few of her pallbearers appreciated fully what she had accomplished in the last years of her life, but her schemes eventually proved to be the kernel of recovery for this wounded shore. As the waves grew higher and the seasick council grew greener and greener, the motorboat hearse passed over Julia’s final, clever gift to her town. Below their boat on its way out of the bay lay the undersea lands of two unique realms that Julia had created: two marine parks that protected the life of the coastline with a fervor and a permanence unequaled anywhere else on the California coast. Their invention was as much a political milestone as it was a biological revolution. In 2012, the view of Monterey Bay from Julia Platt’s former living room window shows a scene completely different from the one that greeted Julia in the 1930s. The living room today is filled with a bustling bed-and-breakfast crowd, enjoying the stunning scenery of the Pacific Grove shore during elegant breakfasts or wine-sipping afternoons. Warm days bring families to the beach at Lovers Point across the street. Almost every morning sees a cadre of scuba divers, suiting up in the parking lot and lugging tanks and cameras toward the kelp forest. When the wind picks up and the waves roll around the point, surfers and boogie boarders appear. All this is watched by a constant stream of walkers, bikers, and dog walkers, threading the bike path
between Julia’s house and the shore. The visitors thoroughly enjoy the environment, its sheer beauty, and its shine of health. Why is this place so beautiful, so full of wildlife and suffused with the clean tang of the sea? Most of the visitors to Julia’s town of Pacific Grove, or to Monterey next door, assume it has always been this way. Little do they know how recently the bay suffered an industrial blight that wrecked the ecology and the economy. Few of them realize how recently the wonderful tourist shores of Lovers Point stood polluted and abandoned—how bad they looked in 1935, the year of Julia’s death. Had it existed when westerners came permanently to Monterey in 1769, Julia’s window would have chronicled a steady ruin of Monterey Bay since that time. It would have seen the merchants and hunters turning one wild species after another into a market commodity that was plucked off the shore for profit. French explorer Jean-François de la Pérouse was paying a courtesy call at the Spanish capital Monterey in 1786, when he remarked on the wonderful creatures he saw there: sea otters. He knew the Russians were making a fortune selling otter pelts to the rich Chinese aristocracy. Odd, he thought, that the Spanish do not do the same. And soon they did. A whale was worth a pound or two of pure gold in 1854, and J. P. Davenport used exploding lances to deliver them to shore-based vats of boiling oil. In the late 1800s, abalone brought a whole Chinese village to the Pacific Grove shore, complete with lacy incense, smugglers, and the customs of the Celestial Empire. Fourteen million seabird eggs, gathered on coastal islands, went down the gullets of the Gold Rush prospectors, fueling their hunt for treasure but destroying seabird populations. From the 1910s to 1940s, a new canning industry was driven to unheard-of size on the strength of the sardines of Monterey. Every one of these enterprises collapsed in the ashes of its own greed; first the otters, then the whales, birds, abalone, and sardines were exploited until they were largely gone. As the exploitation of Monterey grew, its natural rugged beauty still called to literary masters and poets. Robert Louis Stevenson
The Death and Life of Monterey Bay
crafted Treasure Island from the granite bones of the Monterey Peninsula. Robinson Jeffers built an Ezmerelda Tower to his lady love and inspired the poets of the 1900s. In the 1930s, three friends barricaded themselves against a staid church society in Julia’s town of Pacific Grove: John Steinbeck, Joseph Campbell, and Ed Ricketts spawned a hundred riotous parties and created a raucous philosophy of friendship that led the literature and philosophy of its day. Julia’s window looked out over this frenzy like a grouchy neighbor eyeing a wild party. And in her last years, the Monterey Bay called for help. Julia couldn’t keep herself from striving against the continual onslaught and destruction. She predicted the doom that the canneries would bring and tried to slow their growth. But she was pushed aside by the economic might of the biggest fishery anyone had ever seen. Thwarted in her campaign to save all of Monterey Bay, she conceived a stealthy legacy that would wait quietly until it was needed and until the world was ready for it. She created for her town and her bay two small protected areas, marine gardens for the future. They eventually paid off in a legacy of ecological rebirth, but only after the bay passed through the worst decades of its environmental life.
Good News Good environmental news is hard to come by these days. Yet when people look out at Monterey Bay today they are seeing an ocean environment that is functioning better than it has been for more than 200 years. It is not perfect, and it faces stunning challenges still, but it has more of the working elements of a healthy ecosystem than it had had in Julia’s time, and even for the century before her. It didn’t happen by accident, the recovery of Monterey Bay. And it depended on a few turns of good luck. But it also depended on a set of pioneers with a clear vision of the bay they wanted to leave to future generations. Along the way, the success of Monterey lays out some lessons for possible successes elsewhere. But even if no other bay will ever have exactly this story, the fact that a local shore, the place
that generations have called home, has been driven to the depths of ecological ruin and has recovered—this shows that the pathway of recovery from ruin exists, and it is a possibility for places that anyone else calls home.
Sales Information Agile City
Trim Size: 6 x 9 Pages: 290 Copyright: 2012
Building Well-being and Wealth in an Era of Climate Change James Russell ISBN
Paperback 978-1-59726-725-0 $ 17.95
Island Press Short
Island Press Short
978-1-59726-724-3 $ 35.00
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning Spring 2011 ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning Fall 2012
Clive Doucet, Urban Meltdown, New Society Press, 2007, $17.95 pb. Christopher B. Leinberger, The Option of Urbanism, Island Press, 2007, $25.00 pb. Copies sold: 4,294. Peter Newman, Timothy Beatley, and Heather Boyer, Resilient Cities, Island Press, 2008, $30.00 pb. Copies sold: 2,283.
Sales Handle Practical ways to prepare for climate change now
What is this book about? In a very short time America has realized that global warming poses real challenges to the nation's future. The Agile City engages the fundamental question: what to do about it? Journalist and urban analyst James S. Russell argues that we'll more quickly slow global warming—and blunt its effects—by retrofitting cities, suburbs, and towns. The Agile City shows that change undertaken at the building and community level can reach carbon-reduction goals rapidly. Rapidly improving building techniques can readily cut carbon emissions by half, and some can get to zero. Agility, Russell argues, also means learning to adapt to the effects of climate change, which means redesigning the obsolete ways real estate is financed; housing subsidies are distributed; transportation is provided; and water is obtained, distributed and disposed of. These engines of growth have become increasingly more dysfunctional both economically and environmentally. The Agile City highlights tactics that create multiplier effects, showing how ecologically-driven change can shore-up economic opportunity, can make more productive workplaces, and can help revive neglected communities. Being able to look at multiple effects and multiple benefits of political choices and private investments is essential to assuring wealth and well-being in the future.
Selling Points — One of the first books about sustainable architecture, planning, and design written primarily for both general and professional readers. — Provides clear explanations for why retrofitting cities, communities, and buildings can reduce greenhouse gas emissions more quickly and more cost-effectively than expensive alternative energy investments or complex tax solutions. — James Russell is a renowned journalist and registered architect who has been writing extensively about cities, architecture, and environmental design for more than twenty years. He teaches at the City College of New York and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Island Press
Prologue: Carbon-neutral Now |
INTRODUCTION: THE CONCRETE METROPOLIS
PA R T 1 1
S P E C U L AT I O N
A NEW LAND ETHOS
PA R T 2
C L I M AT E C H A N G E OF
R E PA I R I N G
DYSFUNCTIONAL GROWTH MACHINE
R E A L E S TAT E : F I N A N C I N G A G I L E G R O W T H
R E - E N G I N E E R I N G T R A N S P O R TAT I O N
W AT E R W A R S
x | CONTENTS
MEGABURBS: THE UNACKNOWLEDGED METROPOLIS
PA R T 3
AGILE URBAN FUTURES
BUILDING ADAPTIVE PLACES
C R E AT I N G T W E N T Y - F I R S T - C E N T U R Y C O M M U N I T Y
10 G R E E N G R O W S
BUILD CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
I NTRODUCTION The Concrete Metropolis in a Dynamic Era
n a very short time the United States has realized that global warming poses real challenges to the nation’s future. The Agile City engages the fundamental question of what to do about it. The big talk is of “alternative energy”: hydrogen-powered cars and biofuels; clean coal, reinvented nuclear, and elaborate, yet-to-be-perfected means to store huge amounts of carbon while we figure out what to do with it. Advocates hope to plug one or more of these clean technologies into the grid and declare the problem solved. Though appealing, these are speculative technologies that demand enormous investment and that can work only with very large subsidies. They have large environmental effects we ignore at our peril, and they may not even prove viable. As Kroon Hall and Dockside Green show, we can achieve carbon neutrality today in buildings and communities with efficiency measures that are already proven and with a dollop of renewable energy. We can retrofit our communities to drastically reduce the amount of driving we need to do, and therefore reduce transportation carbon emissions, one of the two largest sources of greenhouse gases in our economy (the other is buildings). Rethinking construction and our communities has additional benefits. The word agile appears in this book’s title because we must adapt our lives to a world that climate change is altering before our eyes. Clean energy alone is not enough. We face disruptions of weather patterns and agriculture, acidifying seas, storms, floods, and droughts. Given the irreversible warming already set in motion, we’ll have to keep changing. In other words, we’ll need to develop an urban culture of agility.
2 | THE AGILE CITY
Unlike high-tech alternative energy technologies, The Agile City focuses on reducing emissions and coping with climate-change effects. In much of the global warming debate, energy efficiency is treated almost condescendingly, as something nice to do but of marginal usefulness. The Agile City shows that change undertaken at the building and community levels can reach carbon-reduction goals rapidly, perhaps much quicker and at lower cost than shoving the economy into carbon submission with a disruptive range of carbon taxes (then waiting for markets to sort out the problem) or praying that a big-technology silver bullet will save us and avoid our personal inconvenience. It may be that we must ultimately resort to high-tech alternative energy, nuclear, biofuels, and every conservation measure, as many experts argue. Others say it hardly matters what Americans do if the big and growing emitters— such as China—don’t take steps to drastically cut the carbon they pour into the atmosphere. But why shouldn’t we exploit the rich potential of conservation as fast as possible? Why should other countries take action in the absence of a serious US commitment? At this writing, the United States is the world laggard, unable to move ahead on commonsense conservation strategies that don’t cost much. Comparatively speaking, conservation and adaptation are the lowhanging fruit. Adapting buildings and communities not only promises rapid progress in reducing America’s carbon footprint but also offers numerous other benefits that tax gimmicks and massive alternative-energy investments can’t match. Adapting to the future is as much about changing hidebound attitudes and examining underlying assumptions as it is about technology and policy. The Agile City helps the reader identify changes that make large impacts at low costs. We’ll be wise to think about habitual development patterns, brain-dead regulatory regimes, and obsolete incentives built in by tax policy. Fixing them can be frustrating: we have to fight political battles about them, steer rigid bureaucracies in new directions, collaborate with those who are used to guarding turf. But the real costs of these kinds of changes are actually small—and the benefits large—not just in terms of the environment but because we’ll be tuning communities to realize broader aspirations: to build wealth more responsively and to make places that are pleasing to live in. Many strategies are low-tech and low cost (such as making bicycles a bigger part of our lives), and others offer handsome paybacks on investment—but only if we confront ingrained habit about what we build and how we pay for it.
INTRODUCTION | 3
Why Buildings? The structures that we live and work in generate almost 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions—and buildings tend to use the dirtiest energy: electricity generated from coal.1 About 35 percent of the nation’s assets are invested in real estate and infrastructure, and we’re adding up to 2 percent a year to that base. Every square foot built by conventional means is already obsolete—and may have to be remodeled or abandoned in just a few years. Waiting to take action will prove costly.2 A wide variety of tested tactics exist today to dramatically reduce the impacts of buildings on the environment, from oldfashioned awnings to new ways to light buildings with the sun and ventilate them with breezes. We’re just leaving them on the table. Why Communities? Rather than devote enormous amounts of time and treasure to build SUVs that get fifty miles per gallon on the way to the discount superstore thirty miles away, The Agile City argues that intelligently designing our towns could reduce that trip to a few miles or eliminate it entirely. That’s just one way that building (and upgrading) communities can dramatically reduce the land we plow under, the energy we consume, and the aggravation we endure in the course of daily tasks. Why Buildings and Communities? Environment-enhancing investments pay back more quickly when building strategies are coordinated with neighborhood layouts and urban networks. For example, a group of buildings can amortize the up-front costs of a shared geothermal well much more quickly than sinking wells for each structure. Thinking about the design of an entire city block at once, rather than one building at a time, means that every room in each building can be flooded with daylight so that few rooms need to rely on electric lights. Or, one structure can shade another from the heat of the afternoon sun. Cities can be remade to cope with the greater frequency of flooding, drought, forest fires, and wildfires, rather than await the enormous costs of catastrophe. Coping with climate change cannot be compartmentalized when the urban places we share face so many other challenges. Good jobs have involved
4 | THE AGILE CITY
steadily longer and more congested commutes to affordable neighborhoods. Housing costs rise while communities decline and schools struggle. Fastgrowing places deliver more traffic than opportunity. Broadly speaking, The Agile City shows how communities can develop the capacity to adapt to circumstance—whatever those circumstances may be. Real progress can be made only if tactics that engage global warming offer collateral benefits, as many do. If we focus on arranging related urban functions close together, we multiply benefits. Think about locating a hospital not on just any old empty piece of land but close to doctors and labs and aligned to key transit routes. Then many staffers can get to work, patients can get care, and service businesses can access customers without driving. In this way, we reduce traffic, pollution, energy, time wasted, and the need for huge parking lots all at once. Is Undertaking Large-scale Change Worth It? We’ll shiver under layers of organic-wool sweaters living colorless lives confined to our dimly lit homes, say the skeptics, as we sabotage our economy by struggling to get to jobs in speed-limited biofueled buses. The skeptics have rarely done their homework. On the other hand, advocates often seem to turn every purchasing decision and lifestyle choice into a moral dilemma—for example, paper or plastic, which is worse? If we layer on rules and taxes and command lifestyle choices in a single-minded drive toward carbon neutrality, we could well damage our economy and fuel a backlash instead of an evolution toward sustainability. We won’t recognize the true potential of sustainability by analyzing it in today’s narrow economic terms, by describing economic paybacks for energy conservation, for example, solely in terms of electricity costs avoided at current prices. Saving energy does save money, while also reducing greenhouse gases and other kinds of air pollution. It also reduces the strain on electricity-delivery infrastructure. It cuts the amount of energy we must import, thereby reducing the nation’s payment imbalance. It presses energy prices downward by freeing supply, and it reduces the power of global-energy oligopolies. Those benefits can be more difficult to calculate but are no less real. It is clear that alternatives—including business as usual—offer far less useful paybacks. The Agile City reveals tactics that create such multiplier effects, which means that ecologically driven change can shore up economic opportunity, make more productive workplaces, and help revive neglected communities. These are not Pollyanna blandishments. Being able to look at multiple effects and multiple
INTRODUCTION | 5
benefits of political choices and private investments is essential to ensuring wealth and well-being in the future.
A ROADMAP In part 1, The Agile City considers land, our attitudes toward it, and our methods of dividing it up and building on it for human use. Coming to terms with climate change means that people must proactively make choices about what is built where. That’s a culture change for Americans, who have long seen land, and what’s done with it, as equating freedom. And that has meant that America has passively left the making of cities in the hands of owners and speculators. Communities have already become deeply unhappy about the simplistic choices they seem to face: Accept the increasingly destructive consequences of growth through the heedless accumulation of individual investments? Or, try to recognize community values by entwining development with an increasingly complex, costly, and often ineffective regulatory apparatus? The Agile City shows how to get beyond those simplistic, lose-lose dualities by engaging America’s conflicting but deeply held values relating to the role of private property in society. New ideas about ownership help us come to terms with environmental issues without losing the freedom of action that old ideas were supposed to preserve. Ignoring what the future portends will only make land conflicts wrenchingly difficult to resolve—as they proved to be after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, when disaster relief too often meant rebuilding in unsafe places. Concepts of ownership evolved in the past as the United States transformed itself from a small-town agrarian nation to a big-city, industrial powerhouse. We can learn from that history as we renegotiate our relationship to land. As chapter 2 will show, the needed conversation has already begun. In precious landscapes all over the United States, people are uniting oncewarring constituencies as they sensitively integrate human activities into more resilient environments, from played-out ranches in the Rocky Mountain West to eroding coastal beaches everywhere. Barriers aplenty obstruct a future that must value innovation, adaptability, and diverse scales of economic endeavor. But many are cultural and political, not financial or technical. Communities cannot dynamically adapt to the future if the drivers of wealth and growth are at cross purposes—as they are in America. We may work in a factory or keyboard on a computer, but it is the city itself that is the field of
6 | THE AGILE CITY
growth and wealth creation. Cities thrive or stagnate by the way real estate is financed, by the way housing subsidies are distributed, by the way transportation is provided, and by the way water is obtained, distributed, and disposed of. Part 2 shows how these “growth machine” forces powerfully and dysfunctionally shape communities, and how this fragmented, unintegrated assortment of stimuli fails. Growth machine distortions caused suburbia to go viral, creating the megaburb, a new kind of city that only looks suburban but integrates cities, suburbs, and semirural exurbs. (Since all these places are now urban, even if low density, The Agile City refers to them as cities.) Megaburbs metastasized on a model of supposedly affordable urban growth that demanded families move to newer communities ever farther out, locking in a land-hungry, energyintensive lifestyle of vast driving distances between Oz-like suburban downtowns. Though our suburban conurbations may create great wealth and contain many communities that seek to preserve closeness to nature, these politically fragmented landscapes have few tools to act in concert to further their interests. Growth machine forces tend to suburbanize country idylls while sapping denser, otherwise desirable older towns and cities of vitality. Megaburbs, however, may prove more adaptable than we yet know, since they encompass so much space that’s wasted or ignored. After all, global warming is only one reason we need to understand better how our communities get created—why some grow and others stagnate. Many of us find ourselves increasingly ready to move out of cities that seem always headed in the wrong direction: more congested, more expensive, farther from the fields and forests promised by the suburban dream, with too many hours stuck in a car and taxes always rising. American cities today grow and change reactively—and they take mystifying new forms because we haven’t taken the future in hand. Part 3 considers the kinds of places an agile growth machine could create. Homes, workplaces, and public places not only can reduce their impact on the planet but can do so by updating traditional technologies, such as the lowly yet versatile window shutter. Buildings and neighborhoods can evocatively express the uniqueness of their places and climates: harvesting natural sources of sun, daylight, shade, fresh air, and cooling to do what we’ve spent a couple of generations engineering expensive and complex mechanical systems to do. As building design and construction rapidly evolves (no man-to-the-moon effort necessary), the United States can transcend its habit of making cities al-
INTRODUCTION | 7
most entirely as an assemblage of ventures that leave no room for any value other than profit. The Agile City is not a call for faith-based greening. Rather than pile on too many do-gooder agendas, it shows how to build well-being and wealth at the same time. Along the way, this generation can pass on its best values, as past generations whose buildings we venerate have, and enrich the places we share rather than simply aggrandize who each of us thinks we are. Adaptation is an urgent cause in some communities: climate-change effects like flooding and coastal erosion already threaten their survival. Such communities face wrenching choices, but even less vulnerable cities and towns are recognizing that today’s diffuse, low-density, one-size-fits-all development model no longer works. Diversifying development patterns—creating a range of densities—is becoming necessary for economic success in a more closely integrated world, and it can go hand in hand with reducing environmental impact. Linking communities at a variety of densities with suitable transportation, for example, diversifies economic potential while reducing dependency on driving. Economic engines, such as universities, medical research centers, and suburban downtowns, already find they need to cluster more, thriving near high-density residential neighborhoods. High-intensity business and residential cores work better when they’re walkable, bikable, and well served by transit. Intensifying transportation modes (roads, commuter rail, high-speed rail, and enhanced freight rail) along natural movement corridors will reduce congestion and carbon emissions while linking more people, more businesses, and more customers. In this way, cities will also create the scale and diversity needed to compete in a global economy of megacities. We’ll create incentives to rebuild overlooked swaths of cities and suburbs that have been ignored, rather than mortgage our future on energy-intense communities, built to last only one generation, that are flung into new landscapes that we can no longer afford to maintain. Cities as diverse as Portland (Oregon), Vancouver (British Columbia), and Berlin show how to harvest public consensus and individual leadership to comprehensively nurture adaptive development and urban revitalization—forging a contemporary identity that merges business and citizen commitment. We’ll find more efficiencies by planning our communities at the metropolitan and metro-region scale—matching the scale of economic exchange and environmental potential today. We’ll need to rapidly foster innovation and to mainstream winning ideas; for example, the US Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system has already
8 | THE AGILE CITY
become a widely emulated model for crowd-sourcing innovation at the building and community scale. It’s just one way to create agility in the seemingly immutable “permanent” communities we make. While many states have been creating green-technology incentives, the national political debate has long been locked into false choices. The presumption too often goes unchallenged that carbon taxes or mobility taxes will simply deprive people of income. Properly designed, of course, they will shift incentives and disincentives to encourage investments that are more productive environmentally and economically. That’s how we begin to create both an environmental and an economic ethos of dynamism that’s entrepreneurial, receptive to the new, and perpetually adaptable. That’s what America’s supposedly loosely regulated and individualist land ethos is supposed to provide but doesn’t, except in landscapes beyond the urban edge that are affordable only because of distortions introduced by the growth machine. But “loose-fit” urban conditions— ample developable property, easy access, and the most minimal regulations necessary—can be, and need to be, created in mature places as well as on empty land. The Agile City shows how to create the urban-planning equivalent of open-source computer code. An agile, loose-fit city will deploy regulations straightforwardly, balancing them with incentives. Rules will reward performance (energy, water, and emissions saved) rather than prescribing what lightbulbs we’ll use and what cars we’ll drive. The mortgage meltdown that began in 2007 should have brought an end to bubble economics—desperate means to jump-start sluggish economies by bribing consumers (through subsidies and tax gimmicks) to buy more stuff made from artificially cheap resources that are becoming scarcer and more costly as they get exploited beyond recovery, from forests to fisheries, from oil to copper. The Great Recession, the collapse of global natural systems, and the rapidly increasing development of huge nations such as India and China require us to ask where genuinely sustainable wealth and well-being will come from. To a surprising extent, chapter 10 argues, wealth may well flow from green investments. Many green measures offer unique economic values that conventional accounting tends to miss. Few anticipated that cleaning the nation’s air and water in the 1970s would restore enormous real estate value to cities, rural places, and coastlines. Skillfully designed green investments often boost well-being while repairing natural systems, which gross domestic product (GDP) fails to measure. Capturing these advantages can make restoring the natural workings of nature vital to the bottom line.
Let Them Eat Shrimp
Trim Size: 6 x 9 Pages: 200 Copyright: 2012
The Tragic Disappearance of the Rainforests of the Sea Kennedy Warne ISBN
Paperback 978-1-59726-334-4 $ 17.95
Island Press Trade
Island Press Trade
978-1-59726-683-3 $ 25.95
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection Spring 2011 NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection Fall 2012
Gary Paul Nabhan, Where Our Food Comes From, Island Press, 2008, $22.95 pb. Laura A. Ogden, Swamplife: People, Gators, and Mangroves Entangled in the Everglades, University of Minnesota Press, 2011, $22.50 pb. Ellen Prager, Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Oceans' Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter, University of Chicago Press, 2011, $15.00 pb.
Sales Handle The compelling untold story of priceless forests and insatiable industries
What is this book about? What's the connection between a platter of jumbo shrimp at your local restaurant and murdered fishermen in Honduras, impoverished women in Ecuador, and disastrous hurricanes along America's Gulf coast? Mangroves, natural storm barriers, home to innumerable exotic creatures-from crab-eating vipers to man-eating tigers-and provide food and livelihoods to millions of coastal dwellers. Now they are being destroyed to make way for shrimp farming and other coastal development. For those who stand in the way of these industries, the consequences can be deadly. In Let Them Eat Shrimp, Kennedy Warne takes readers into the muddy battle zone that is the mangrove forest. A tangle of snaking roots and twisted trunks, mangroves are often dismissed as foul wastelands. In fact, they are supermarkets of the sea, providing shellfish, crabs, honey, timber, and charcoal to coastal communities from Florida to South America to New Zealand. Generations have built their lives around mangroves and consider these swamps sacred. To shrimp farmers and land developers, mangroves simply represent a good investment. The tidal land on which they stand often has no title, so with a nod and wink from a compliant official, it can be turned from a public resource to a private possession. The forests are bulldozed, their traditional users dispossessed. The true price of shrimp farming and other coastal development has gone largely unheralded in the U.S. media. A longtime journalist, Warne captures the insatiability of these industries and the magic of the mangroves in a vivid account will make every reader pause before ordering the shrimp.
Selling Points — A fascinating narrative for general readers on the social, economic, and ecological importance of mangroves — Includes vivid storytelling and on-the-ground reporting by the author — Appeals to readers interested in a variety of subjects: developing nations, social justice, climate change, food production, ecology, etc.
Contents Preface Introduction
Tigers in the Aisles
Pink Gold and a Blue Revolution
The Old Man and the Mud Crab
The Cockle Gatherers of Tambillo
A Just Fight
Candy and the Magic Forest
The Carbon Sleuth
The Road to Manzanar
Under the Mango Tree
A City and Its Mangroves
A Mangroveâ€™s Worth
Introduction We suppose it is the foul odor and the impenetrable quality of the mangrove roots which gives one a feeling of dislike for these salt-water-eating bushes. We sat quietly and watched the moving life in the forests of the roots, and it seemed to us that there was stealthy murder everywhere. On the surf-swept rocks it was a fierce and hungry and joyous killing, committed with energy and ferocity. But here it was like stalking, quiet murder. The roots gave off clicking sounds, and the odor was disgusting. We felt that we were watching something horrible. No one likes the mangroves. Raúl said that in La Paz no one loved them at all. —John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez
y Steinbeck’s accounting, Weedon Island, in Florida’s Tampa Bay, might once have been one of the foulest places on earth. An apparent wasteland in which nothing but mangroves grew, it resisted improvement. But in the bustling optimism of post–World War II America, no land or person was beyond redemption. A rehabilitative program was undertaken. Weedon Island was sliced up as part of a statewide mosquito-eradication effort. Trenches were dug to improve the flow of water from the bay through the mangroves, giving fish better access to the wetland. The more fish there were, the more mosquito larvae they would eat. In xiv
a 1958 photo the island looks like a checkerboard, with each line a saltwater ditch. But like so many ideas that involve human alteration of the landscape, there were unintended consequences, and for mangroves they were all negative. The spoil from the ditches was simply mounded alongside them, creating a network of dikes that were a few feet higher than the surrounding ground. Since the tide never covered these mounds, they were colonized by invasive species such as Brazilian pepper and casuarina pine, which subsequently spread through the wetland. The dikes and ditches also interfered with the natural surface flow of water—the slow, percolative trickling across the sediment that is the mangrove swamp’s circulation system. An estimated 14 percent of Tampa Bay’s wetlands died as a result of these earthworks. Grand wetland-improvement schemes also left their mark on other parts of Florida. In the 1960s, canals were dug and roads constructed in the watershed north of the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge as part of a 230-square-kilometer (89-square-mile) real estate development known as Golden Gate Estates. The project was to be the biggest subdivision in America. It was designed in two parts, northern and southern. The northern tract was built; then the southern part went up for sale. Seventeen thousand people bought land in South Golden Gate. They were all suckered. South Golden Gate has been called one of the classic swampland-in-Florida scams. It’s become a standard joke: “If you believe that, well, I’ve got some swampland in Florida I’d like to sell you.” South Golden Gate was that swampland, where, for years, real estate sharks showed gullible buyers the lots in the dry season, closing the deals before the land became flooded in the wet. Few houses were ever built, of course. The site became a haven of fugitives, poachers, and drug runners. Is it any wonder that wetlands—but especially mangroves—get a bad rap? To anyone who hasn’t explored them, mangroves are little more than impenetrable coastal thickets that cling to the edge of
Let Them Eat Shrimp
solid land and block access to the ocean. Just an obstacle and a nuisance. Which is why, not just in the development-crazed state of Florida but on coastlines around the world, they have been uprooted, torched, and bulldozed so that the land can be put to better uses. Mangroves are sacrificed for salt pans, aquaculture ponds, housing developments, port facilities, tourist resorts, golf courses, roads, and farms. And they die from a thousand lesser cuts: oil spills, chemical pollution, sediment overload, disruption of their delicate water balance. Keepers of the dismal statistics of nature’s decline say that in the past four decades, between a third and a half of the world’s mangrove forests have been laid waste. These saltwater rainforests are now one of the most rapidly disappearing ecosystems on the planet. They are critically endangered or approaching extinction in 26 out of the 120 countries that have them. The outlook for the next half century and beyond is no brighter. In addition to the existing threats, there looms a potentially more disastrous problem: rising sea levels. Standing as they do at the land’s frontiers, mangroves will be the first terrestrial forests to face the encroaching tides. Spreading inland in sync with rising seas will not be an option in many places, for human development behind the mangrove fringe has cut off the line of retreat. Mangrove forests have become hemmed in on all sides, and the walls are closing in. These are hard times for trees that are used to hardship. Consider where they live: rooted in the land and bathed periodically by the tides, they occupy a death zone of desiccating heat, airless mud, and salt concentrations that would kill an ordinary plant within hours. But through a suite of adaptations—snorkel-like breathing roots, a desalination system in their roots, props and buttresses to hold the trunk upright in the soft sediment, seeds that fall from the branches as ready-sprouted propagules—these botanical amphibians have mastered the art of survival in an extreme environment. They don’t just survive, they flourish. The forests they form are among the most productive and biologically complex ecosystems on
earth. With one foot in the terrestrial world and one in the marine, mangroves support life in both realms. They provide roosting sites for birds and attachment sites for shellfish; hunting grounds for snakes and crocodiles and nurseries for fish; a food source for monkeys, deer, and tree-climbing crabs—and even kangaroos—and a nectar source for bats and honeybees. In addition, they are breakwaters and land stabilizers of vulnerable coastlines, nutrient providers for marine ecosystems such as seagrass meadows and coral reefs, and a major contributor to the global carbon balance. And they provide homes, resources, work, and physical protection for hundreds of millions of coastal people. Mangroves do not belong to any single plant family. They are less a lineage than a lifestyle. Their ecological niche is populated with some 70 species from 24 families. Among them are a palm, a hibiscus, a holly, two plumbagos, three acanthuses, a dozen legumes, a fern, and a myrtle. These sultans of salt range from prostrate shrubs to 40-meter (130-foot) timber trees. Though they reach their apogee in Southeast Asia, their distribution spans the globe. Most live within twenty-five degrees of the equator, but a few especially robust species have adapted to temperate climates, and one lives as far from the tropic sun as New Zealand. Dispersed as they are across the globe, mangrove forests share one thing in common: they are among the most overlooked and abused ecosystems on earth. Why should this be the case, when they support such a wealth of species, perform so many services to the environment, and are relied upon by so many people? Why, as Steinbeck put it, are they so unloved? Put simply, because they are misunderstood. Instead of being seen as wetlands of international importance, they are regarded as wastelands of no importance. They still evoke the old “swampland in Florida” prejudice. This book aims to set the record straight. It explores the exceptional beauty of these ecosystems, identifies the drivers of their destruction, and shows how we might return them to a state of health.
Let Them Eat Shrimp
Most importantly, it presents the human face of the mangrove forest. It celebrates the traditions that have evolved in mangrove communities and bears witness to the struggle those communities face as development interests claim a dwindling natural resource. In these pages you will come to know the worth of a mangrove and the value of the rainforests of the sea.
Sales Information Corporation 2020
Trim Size: 6 x 9 Pages: 320 Copyright: 2012
Transforming Business for Tomorrow's World Pavan Sukhdev ISBN Hardcover
978-1-61091-238-9 $ 29.95
DiscounW Island Press Trade
Joel Balkan, The Corporation, Free Press, 2005, $15.00 pb. William Greider, The Soul of Capitalism, Simon & Schuster, 2003, $15.00 pb. Majorie Kelley, The Divine Right of Capital, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2001, $15 pb.
Season Fall 2012
Bookstore Categories BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development/Sustainable Development
Sales Handle A sweeping and original plan for reforming business-as-usual to create a new economy of permanence
What is this book about? Corporations today produce most of our GDP and provide most of our jobs, but have little incentive to reduce impacts on the environment and society. If we could start over, we might design the global economy in a way that values changes in social and environmental capital as well as economic growth. Instead, the status quo is weakening society, the economy, and the environment. We need to provide business, government, and civic leaders with a roadmap to advance the economy to fit our present and future needs. The free market has become the rallying cry of the corporation, despite threats that impact all of us, such as pollution, disease and social unrest. Traditionally dismissed as externalities not worth considering, environmental and societal impacts are quickly turning into real costs to corporations and the economy, as seen inhuman health impacts, resource scarcity, pollution, and economic volatility. Business as usual will not be a viable option for long. We aren’t stuck with this dysfunctional corporate model, but business needs a new DNA if it is to enact the comprehensive approach we need. In this provocative book, Pavan Sukhdev lays out a sweeping new vision for tomorrow’s corporation: one that will increase human wellbeing and social equity, decrease environmental risks and ecological losses, and still generate profit. Through a combination of internal changes in corporate governance and external regulations and policies, Corporation 2020 can become a reality in the next decade—and it must, argues Sukhdev, if we are to avert catastrophic social imbalance and ecological harm.
Selling Points — A controversial plan for remaking the corporation that provides answers to the questions arising from the participants of Occupy Wall Street to the boardrooms of corporations looking to create sustainable, prosperous models of doing business. — The book is a key element in a global media campaign to present this vision and the steps for achieving it. Island Press and Pavan Sukhdev will be conducting, with national media attention, high-profile events, and sponsored activities with key corporations. — Pavan Sukhdev is a global thought leader and innovator in creating a sustainable and just future. As a former investment banker with Deutsche Bank, he brings unique credibility to the subject, valuing what corporations bring to society and understanding where they are failing it.
Corporation 2020 Table of Contents Introduction Chapter 1: The Legal History of the Corporation Chapter 2: The Great Alignment: 1945-2000 Chapter 3: Corporation 1920 Chapter 4: The True Measures of the Corporation Chapter 5: Ending Externalities Chapter 6: Accountable Advertising Chapter 7: Limiting Financial Leverage Chapter 8: Resource Taxation Chapter 9: The New DNA of Business Chapter 10: The World of Corporation 2020 Notes Index
Introduction If you search the net for the words “I’d like my life back”, you will find a video 1 of Tony Hayward, the former CEO of BP. His remarks—not a great example of corporate diplomacy—made headlines everywhere on May 30, 2010, just a month after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Hayward, apparently, was trying to placate the inhabitants of Venice, Louisiana, who had been affected by the spill. What is noteworthy is not Hayward’s lack of success in placating his audience, but rather, the context from which his remarks arose. Just a year before, Hayward had said that “a duty of care” was the key driver 2 in his professional life. While readily admitting to BP’s history of safety disasters in Texas, Alaska’s Prudoe Bay, and elsewhere, he declared that he had tried ever since his appointment as CEO in 2006 to re-focus BP on improving safety, while emphasizing that their primary purpose was to meet shareholder expectations, not to save the world. Scarcely a year later, he was responding to a safety failure of tragic proportions—the largest accidental oil spill in history 3. As a result, BP’s share price had collapsed, wiping out $70 billion of shareholder wealth in less than a month and a half. 4 After the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Hayward had another agenda: damage control. He took issue with findings by at least three separate and independent scientific teams that vast plumes of oil measuring up to 22 miles long were lurking below the surface of the sea. BP’s own studies, he claimed, had found no evidence of such a phenomenon. 5 He also had to answer questions being raised about decisions at the Deepwater Horizon site just days before the blow-out, suggesting that BP managers had not selected the safest option. 6 Was Hayward at fault as a CEO because his company failed to deliver on the first of his stated priorities, operational safety, and he had presided over the worst ever drop in its shareholders’ wealth?
BP had broken no laws, nor had they led the way in asking for regulatory relaxations 7 for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, as some US companies had done. And yet, BP’s “footprint” on the Gulf of Mexico was immense—biodiversity lost, beaches destroyed, oyster and sea fisheries damaged, and naturebased leisure and tourism and local livelihoods disrupted—an overall environmental cost calculated by one group of researchers to be as high as $34 billion to $670 billion.8 The incident led to BP establishing a $20 billion claims fund. 9 These are all giant problems, but beyond them, BP’s future as a company was at risk in the wake of public anger about the oil spill. So on May 30, Hayward was doing what any CEO does when his company causes a social problem: trying to contain damage to BP’s reputation and retain its social licence to operate. Even on this count, however, BP’s performance got in the way. BP’s environmental impact assessment (EIA), a prerequisite for obtaining rights to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, appeared to be a shoddy example of “cut-and-paste” from an earlier EIA. It listed the conservation of the walrus, a mammal only found in the Arctic, as one of BP’s objectives. It also suggested Professor Peter Lutz, an expert on the impacts of oil spills on sea turtles, as a “go to” person in case of an emergency, although the venerable scientist had died in 2005. In “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, Lewis Carroll’s famous rhyme from Through the Looking Glass, the two fictitious beings in the title lead a troupe of oysters on an aimless expedition around a beach before devouring them. BP’s sloppy EIA brought forth, in addition to its two fictitious beings, destroyed beaches and oyster fisheries along the Gulf of Mexico, and a corporate culture that did not respond to its own CEO’s first priority. It also set the stage for operational decisions that had just cost society billions of dollars and its shareholders around $70 billion, not to mention a CEO who made matters worse with numerous public relations gaffes. All this from a company that had spent an estimated $200 million on a global advertising campaign about BP being “Beyond Petroleum.” 10 2
On what kind of imaginary expedition was BP leading an outraged world? Is this what today’s multinational mega-corporations are all about?
A year later … A year later, at the end of May 2011, over twenty Nobel laureates were gathered together in Stockholm 11 to apply their exceptional minds to the world’s greatest challenges and to prepare a communiqué for Rio+20, a major environmental conference which was just a year away. To launch their discussions, they held a mock trial of Humanity, in which the plaintiff was Planet Earth, and the charge was serious damage inflicted to it by the defendant. Over the next couple of hours, Humanity was taken through the grinder. Counsel for the defence tried valiantly to defend his client, but with little success. The Nobel laureates who had been nominated as “judges” finally ended the trial, and declared Humanity guilty on most counts. They proposed several remedies, including a 1,000 year period of community service! Enjoyable though this mock-trial was as a humorous start to serious proceedings, it left some worrying undertones hanging heavy in the air. Was Humanity actually capable of changing its ways, let alone willing to change them? If not, then why not? Was there something pathological about humanity’s suicidal intransigence? And was it already too late to even bother about discussing the issue? I attended this event as an expert witness on the “green economy” and the invisible economics of nature. My only submitted observation on these proceedings was that they were infructuous, because Council for the plaintiff had failed to call to the box Humanity’s invisible co-defendant, the Corporation, which had been the main economic agent for Humanity during its 60-odd years of alleged misdemeanour towards Planet Earth. Just a year after BP’s staggering oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico,
perhaps the single largest and most talked-about misdemeanour to Planet Earth in the recent past, why was the Corporation entirely missing from this mock trial conducted by twenty Nobel laureates?
The Invisible Foot and its Visible Footprint In 1759, the moral philosopher Adam Smith 12 described the market as having an “invisible hand” 13 that steered the economy and achieved well-being—some combination of the market forces of selfinterest, competition, supply, and demand. One of the main criticisms of his “invisible hand” 14 hypothesis explaining why selfish market behaviour apparently delivered social benefits is that it ignores the very significant social costs that businesses pass on to the wider world, their so-called “negative externalities.” Indeed, if market forces are the market’s “invisible hand”, then the corporation, the economy’s main agent and the market’s main player, might perhaps be called an “invisible foot.” For what would be the impulse of those four market forces that Adam Smith refers to, in the absence of the corporation? Without today’s corporations, most supply would either not be produced or it would be produced inefficiently. Much demand, which is today spurred by corporate advertising, would just be missing. Market competition without its most aggressive agents would be stunted at best, and of course, self-interest would be diluted by social purpose, this fourth outcome being perhaps not such a disastrous problem! But the reality is that the corporation, in all its profit-seeking, externality-churning glory, is very much the cornerstone of today’s economy. Indeed, it is the sheer size of its externalities that is making this “invisible foot” recognizable through its very large and visible “footprint.” The costs to society of corporations doing “business as usual” are well known. These include damage to health and natural environments from pollution and toxic waste discharge and the economic costs and poverty implications of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions. They also include many 4
non-environmental impacts, such as the loss of livelihoods as local businesses are gradually replaced by worldwide corporate supply chains and distribution networks, or the public health costs of cigarette smoking. 15 Indeed, among the most transformative impacts of the corporation are two huge and pervasive categories of negative externalities. The first is to our environmental and ecological commons through unconstrained green house gas emissions, excessive waste generation, and excessive use of energy, land and freshwater. The second is to human health through polluting residues, mismanaged waste, and manufacturing or promoting the use of harmful products. A recent study 16 estimated the environmental and ecological externalities of the top 3,000 listed companies as close to $2.15 trillion and estimated that the private sector overall has undisclosed costs to society of over $4 trillion—in other words, “business as usual” is already costing human society an estimated 6 percent of global GDP every year. The corporation has two large positive externalities as well. 17 Corporations offer skills training that builds earnings potential or “human capital” for employees. It enables the creation of new relationships and new communities that build “social capital” amongst employees, suppliers and customers. My contention in this book is that all material externalities deserve measurement, disclosure, and management—be they negative or positive. They are the increasingly visible “footprint” of today’s corporation. The multi-billion dollar footprint that BP left on the ecosystems, communities, and economy of the Gulf of Mexico is just one example, albeit a powerful and visible one, of the billions of dollars of negative externalities that many corporations rack up every year. On the other hand, some corporations create huge positive externalities. One, Infosys, 18 creates valuable job skills for hundreds of thousands of young Indians. Another, Natura, 19 builds greater economic security and improved family and social status for the million housewives who are its sales agents in Latin America. 5
With such a large visible contribution to economic development and growth, and with at least four significant and large invisible impacts, today’s corporation is perhaps the most important institution in modern society. There are good questions about it and its role in the world, however, that deserve answers. What defines today’s corporation? When and how was it born? What drives its singular success and pervasiveness? What are the problems associated with it, and how can society solve them? Today’s corporation is something of an anachronism, the result of a long history of development which began in ancient India and Rome, continued in medieval Europe, and culminated in nineteenth century America and England. However, most of the development of today’s corporation happened during a packed century beginning in the early 1820’s, and stopped early in the twentieth century. These hundred years achieved limitations on shareholder liability, established corporate personhood, and unshackled the corporation’s operations from restrictions on time, place, and purpose, enabling the corporation to engage in any business, anywhere, for as long as its shareholders desired. These hundred years also freed the corporation from social purpose, and established the primacy of profits as the corporation’s raison d’etre. A landmark judgement in the US (Dodge vs Ford, 1919) affirmed that the purpose of the corporation was indeed its own self-interest. By 1920 therefore, the corporate form had crystallized as the corporation we recognize today, and for the purposes of this book, I shall refer to today’s corporate entity as “Corporation 1920”. The key drivers of Corporation 1920’s success are demand creation and expansion, product innovation, and low-cost production. It is characterised by its multi-national presence, and its ability and success at employing large-scale and international “price arbitrage” in every aspect of its operations. It arbitrages raw material costs by sourcing cheaply from resource-rich, ill-governed developing countries in Africa and Asia, or from Australia. It arbitrages labor costs by using labor from 6
cheap, populous developing countries in Asia to expand its manufacturing capacities. It arbitrages foreign direct investment benefits 20 from source countries, and investment subsidies from development-hungry destination countries keen to grow their manufacturing and services sectors. Last, but not least, it arbitrages demand from rich consumer markets (particularly western demand for branded consumer goods) by branding and selling goods at hefty premiums that translate to substantial profit margins. As technology is forever evolving, the successful corporation needs to grow turnover at a rate fast enough to cover the costs of product obsolescence (through technology innovation and rapidly changing products - as we see with cars, cell phones, and laptops). Indeed, the most successful corporate models (such as Apple) actually build obsolescence into their product and marketing strategies. The successful corporation also needs to grow volume to counter competitive losses of margins (such as air travel in real terms, microchips, etc.). Corporation 1920’s basic mantra is “more is better”. It needs and feeds that other central mantra of today’s dominant economic model, “GDP growth”. Corporation 1920 has four defining characteristics. First, determined pursuit of size and scale, seeking market dominance. Second, aggressive lobbying for regulatory and competitive advantages. Third, a large advertising budget free of ethical chains to influence consumer demand, often creating entirely new demand by playing on human insecurities and “turning wants into needs” 21 which can only be satisfied by new products. And finally, aggressive use of borrowed funds to “leverage” the investment that shareholders have made in their corporation. Leverage, advertising, and lobbying often combine to drive size, and create positive feedback loops. Size in turn creates cost efficiencies and economies of scale which can deliver more competitive
pricing that in turn lead to more sales. In their quest for growth, even if none of the excess, misuse or abuse that is prone to happen befalls lobbying, advertising and leverage, the collateral damage inflicted by corporations on society is not small. This damage typically leads to three exclusions. The exclusion of small and medium-sized companies through lack of access to leverage, the exclusion of poor consumers from public goods alternatives to manufactured and marketed private goods, and the exclusion of competing new products (especially clean-tech or green alternatives) by a stranglehold on media and distribution networks. Joel Bakan in his book The Corporation 22 presents today’s corporation as a psychopath— devoid of moral compass, relentless in the pursuit of power and profits, a “cost externalizing machine .” Not all commentators are as damning of today’s corporation, but several have taken issue with the corporation’s focus on shareholder interests to the exclusion of other stakeholders 23, with its enormous and growing environmental and social cost externalities, 24 and with its tendency towards unethical conduct (including bribery, inducement, lobbying by connected parties, irresponsible advertising, and public misrepresentation, among a long list of scandals). All this is justified to achieve business advantage and higher short-term returns. It is a moot point whether the average corporation shows more than the average human tendency for unethical behaviour. There is no study that argues that corporations transact to higher ethical standards than individuals. On the contrary, there are mountains of evidence of the distancing or subjugation of individuals’ normal moral compass when they act on behalf of their soulless, corporate employer. Whistle-blowers in many industries have been effective because they are the exception and not the norm. They are mostly people who at some stage in their work-life have become unable to bear the disjointedness of their personal response with their professional response to a situation that requires an ethical stand be taken. 8
Elinor Ostrom, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize 25 in Economics for her work on the significance of community-based management of common pool resources (CPRs), in conversation described 26 the Corporation as a CPR owned by a community of shareholders. But it does not appear to be managed even to their advantage, given the long-term and reputational costs of most corporate misconduct. Hence, perhaps Corporation 1920 would be best described as a dysfunctional CPR? This is a particularly worrisome thought when one considers that the archetype of today’s corporation operates across dozens of national boundaries, through thousands of employees, hundreds of suppliers, and serves perhaps millions of people as their customers. Should there be any room for dysfunctionality at all in the design of the corporation?
Tilting the Field Corporate proponents of a green economy, low-carbon growth, and other economic recipes that target the goals of sustainable development are often frustrated by market entry barriers and hostile economic policies, unhelpful laws and taxes, and perverse subsidies. Public policies, public investment, taxes, subsidies, and laws are sometimes collectively referred to as “enabling conditions” 27that could, if properly calibrated, provide fertile ground for “green” business strategies to take root. Instead, they usually face market barriers put up by large incumbents, they are confronted with consumer resistance to greener products, and they experience the frustrating power of enormous subsidies supporting the opposite economic model, the incumbent “business-as-usual” model, or so-called “brown economy.” For example, fossil fuel subsidies add up to an estimated USD $650 billion per year globally, or about 1 percent of global GDP. 28 Subsidies for fisheries—mainly ocean fisheries—represent almost a third of the total value of fish caught in the oceans. Agricultural subsidies worldwide are over a tenth of total 9
agricultural output. 29 It is hardly surprising, therefore, that renewable energy, sustainable fishery, and ecologically-friendly agriculture have a hard time competing with their brown economy alternatives. Country after country shows up examples of tax exemptions, import duties, export incentives, and a plethora of subsidies that favour a status-quo brown economy. The question begs to be asked, how did the football field in so many sectors of the economy get that tilted, and how did corporations have a role to play in achieving such outcomes? A globally tilted playing field with around one trillion dollars per annum of subsidies favouring a business-as-usual model over greener alternatives is, by definition, anything but a free market. Ironically however, an almost religious fervour for free markets has become the cornerstone of the public narrative told by corporations, and amplified through advertising campaigns, PR firms, lobbyists, and even shareholders. For example, US corporations activate shareholders across multiple voting districts to flood the offices of Congressional representatives with phone calls against â€œlegislation against the free market.â€? But the free market they seek to preserve is most often the status quo market, and their large spending to lobby politicians is fundamentally a reflection of the value that the status-quo represents to their bottom lines. Indeed, managing the regulatory landscape is among the most cost-efficient ways by which a corporation can sustain its dominance. Corporate lobbying is a pervasive and potent tool to interact with the regulatory process in a way that tilts the football field further in their favour, or alternatively, prevents change in the status quo. Often, such change might have helped foster a healthier balance between private risks, private gains, public risks and public interests. Although lobbying is part of the operational toolkit for almost all large companies, it is particularly so for those operating in realms of public trust, including oil, gas, coal, and other extractive
industries. And as it happens, these corporations are also among the world’s corporate behemoths: of the world’s ten most profitable companies, four sell energy products and three base global operations in the United States. 30 It is not difficult to see why lobbying is such an attractive proposition for corporations seeking market dominance and profits, whether through new competitive advantage or by preserving status quo. But why does it deliver its punch with such apparent ease into the political world? No doubt party political funding matters, and (in some countries more than others) corruption in politics and government adds to the success of lobbyists. But that is not the case in every nation. Checks and balances are quite strong in most democracies, and the risks of exposure are real and politically costly, and yet, in every capital city from Washington to Wellington, corporate lobbying and influence is visible and successful. The most pervasive reason for the ease with which corporate lobbying reaches into political decision-making is that the Corporation today is the most important and pervasive institution in political economy. The private sector delivers nearly 60% of GDP worldwide, 31 employs 70% of workers, 32 and corporate taxes comprise a significant slice of government revenues. 33 In other words, the report card of today’s politicians and their “grades” on the subjects of GDP growth, employment, and deficit management are largely written by corporations. Small wonder, therefore, that politicians today are so beholden to the corporation, and are constantly looking over their shoulders to check if this or that policy change might harm the profitability of some business sector. The last thing they want is that voters read a “fail” grade on their report card, preventing them from getting another term. Small wonder too that “crony capitalism,” the too-close relationship of mutual favours between businessmen and government officials is so ubiquitous,34 no matter whether we look at Latin America pre-crisis 1970’s, the Asia pre-crisis in 1997, or the USA pre-crisis in 2007. 35 The revolving door 36 between the 11
US Treasury and Wall Street was just the crowning refinement of this crony capitalism and it has had a deep impact on the financial and economic history of our times, especially the financial crisis of 2008 and the economic recession that followed.
Corporation 2020 Tellus Institute’s “Corporation 20/20” 37 is an international, multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to develop and disseminate a vision and pathway for the 21st century corporation in which social purpose moves from the periphery to the heart of the organization. In a 2007 position paper “Corporate Design: The Missing Business and Public Policy Issue of Our Time”, 38 the authors remark that “business leaders operate today inside a corporate design largely inherited from the 19th century, with ownership and governing structures put in place during the horse & buggy era”. It sees the challenge of creating a new kind of corporation as “the design challenge of the 21st century”. This book reflects many of the concerns raised by the Corporation 20/20 project, and proposes a composite solution to the problem of corporate design. It argues that endogenous changes will not suffice, notwithstanding exceptional leadership from some corporations, and that exogenous changes with the collaboration of governments, businesses, media, and civil society will be required to make a new design arise from the old. It contends 39 that a safe timeline for these changes (taxation reforms, leverage limits, externalities disclosure and advertising standards) to be introduced into policy frameworks and business practices is probably the next ten years, rather than the next fifty or a hundred years. A new DNA of the corporation must begin to make its presence felt in the global economy by 2020, by which time we shall be dangerously close to many planetary boundaries or will have actually exceeded them. 2050 or 2100 scenarios that are still reflected in UN climate negotiations and economic literature on the subject are too far off to be of any relevance. This is why the new corporation is
termed “Corporation 2020” in this book. And there is an increasing convergence of opinion that vision, action, and timelines must converge; “20/20” and “2020” are therefore two sides of the same coin.
The New DNA that Business Needs This book makes the case that Corporation 1920 has had its day. What are the attributes that today’s corporation needs to evolve so that not only the corporate form but also the future of mankind on our only home, planet earth, is secured? What kind of corporate agent, in other words, does society and the economy need today to forge an “economy of permanence,” 40 also known as a green economy 41 or a sustaining economy42, one which increases human well being, increases social equity, decreases environmental risks, and decreases ecological scarcities? A new DNA for the corporation needs to have numerous strands, but our focus will be the four key strands that are likely to make the most difference: corporate goal alignment with society, the corporation as community, the corporation as institute, and the corporation as a capital factory. As early as the early 1900’s, Henry Ford was aligning his company’s goals with society: he wanted every American farmer and his wife to have mobility and he wanted the farmer to grow his own fuel – ethanol from corn, fruit, and almost any biomass. Natura in Brazil prides itself in a community which is anchored on the company’s relationship with over a million housewives who sell the Natura ‘story’ and through that to sell their cosmetics and personal products. Infosys in India built the largest corporate university ever, and trains over thirty thousand young software professionals every year – Infosys is as much a corporation as it is a training institute. Creating social capital (like Natura) and human capital (like Infosys) are activities that are very valuable to society at large – not just to the company. In Japan, over fifty large corporations maintain natural forests as their contribution to the society where they do business. It the thesis of this book that such activities will make the corporation of the future a veritable
“capital factory” – not just creating one line or category of capital (financial profit) but a whole array of capitals – physical, social, human and natural – and not just for itself, but also (in the form of positive externalities) for society at large. This behaviour at the ‘micro’ level will make way for a very different world at the ‘macro’ level, the world of Corporation 2020. We are not compelled to live with the risks and costs of Corporation 1920 as the main agent of our economy and the most significant institution of our times. We can instead collaborate to create an environment for the success of a new species of corporation. Corporations, like biological species in a dynamic environment, respond to external stimuli which in their case include policies and prices. They adapt and evolve, with the strongest and fittest surviving over time. Changing external conditions such that the input costs of natural and social resources converging with their true value to society would enable a Darwinian process by which corporations that are able to best adapt in this efficient environment survive and facilitate the creation of more such businesses. In the long run, therefore, the social benefits and social costs of corporations’ activities would be reflected in their accounts as much as possible, thus realigning the corporations’ profits with society’s gains.
The World of Corporation 2020 Today’s enabling conditions favour the DNA of Corporation 1920 and engender a brown economy. For our survival and success in Earth’s biosphere, tomorrow’s enabling conditions will have to be at least neutral if not explicitly supportive of Corporation 2020, which will become the dominant agent in a global green economy. So what would this ‘brave new world’ look like, both for these corporations and the economies they would dominate ? The operating environment for corporations would have changed. Perverse subsidies would have been reduced, taxes reformed, new incentives added, public procurement “greened” and public 14
investments focussed on public wealth—especially ecological infrastructure. Private ownership and free markets would no longer be considered the panacea for all ills. Public ownership of the commons and community ownership of common pool resources would be understood as economic reality, and not disparaged as “market failure”. And the private sector would actually benefit from this improved understanding. Just as trusted corporations today are contracted to deliver public services such as waste management or road maintenance, so also they would win contracts to manage common pool resources and public reserves such as forests, wetlands, or coral reefs on behalf of and to the dictates of their host societies and communities. Financial leverage would be limited by regulations which align corporate interests better with societal goals such as economic stability. At present, this task is left largely to investors, with fund managers becoming the unlikely conscience-keepers of society. Capital adequacy requirements would be introduced for corporations above a certain size—at present, they apply only to banks and financial institutions. The idea that car companies, utilities, insurers, and mortgage originators can also be “too big to fail” would be accompanied by its logical corollary, that public capital is either invested in or is being put at risk by these corporations, so they must also conform to prudential capital management standards just as banks are required to do. “Selling good, not good selling” would become the norm rather than the exception. The legal status of an advertisement would no longer be a place to hide. Today, an advertisement is an unactionable inducement ( or an “invitation to treat” in Common Law), and not an offer, so in law there is no automatic recourse to misleading advertising, and specific product laws or sectoral laws or rules have to be introduced, such as with advertising for cigarette smoking. Lessons learned in the context of the tobacco industry would be used to map wider solutions. Advertising would become accountable, and ethics in advertising would no longer be an option. 15
A new capitalism would prevail in the world of Corporation 2020, one recognizing and rewarding the creation of natural, social, human as well as traditional physical and financial capital. Growth by becoming more complex—rather than just bigger—would be an underpinning principle of the emerging Green Economy. Innovation as a driver for growth and employment would increase in importance. We can only manage what we measure, thus national capital stock (not just value-added turnover) would become central to measuring national economic performance. International projects such as ‘Beyond GDP’ and ‘WAVES’ would have provided the launching pad for a system of national accounting that recognizes and accounts for natural capital - its invisible benefit flows as well as its unaccounted loss or degradation. Fiscal gap management would not be affected by a switch to resource taxation for extractive industries, but it would motivate much greater resource efficiency. Likewise, for non-extractive but green house gas emitting industries, taxing these “bads” would gradually replace corporate taxes. Near-term Green Economy forecasts for labor losses 43 would take place, but well managed transitions would lead to many more and satisfying green jobs within a decade. Economics and politics would finally be aligned. On all counts—innovation, decent jobs, wealth, systemic risks, and income distribution—Corporation 2020 would gradually build up a successful and ‘green’ macroeconomy. The time to begin is now.
Trim Size: 6 x 9 Pages: 412 Copyright: 2012
A Naturalist's Journeys on the Roof of the World George Schaller ISBN Hardcover
978-1-61091-172-6 $ 29.95
DiscounW Island Press Trade
Competing Titles Alan Rabinowitz, Life in the Valley of Death, Island Press, 2007, $26.00, paper William Stolzenburg, Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators, Bloomsbury, 2009, $16.00, paper
Season Fall 2012
Bookstore Categories NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
Previous Works The Year of the Gorilla, The Last Panda, Tibet’s Hidden Wilderness, and The Serengeti Lion: A Study of Predator-Prey Relations (National Book Award winner).
Rick Ridgeway, The Big Open: On Foot Across Tibet's Chang Tang, National Geographic, 2004, $26.00, cloth
Sales Handle An engaging portrait of wildlife and culture in the Tibetan wilderness from the world’s preeminent field biologist
What is this book about? George Schaller has spent much of his life traversing wild and isolated places in his quest to understand and conserve threatened species—from mountain gorillas in the Virunga to snow leopards in the Himalaya. Throughout his career, Schaller has spent more time in Tibet than anywhere else, devoting over thirty years to the region's unique wildlife, culture, and landscapes. Tibet Wild is Schaller’s account of three decades of exploration in the remote stretches of Tibet. As human development accelerated, Schaller watched the clash between wildlife and people become more common—and more destructive. What began as a scientific endeavor became a mission: to work with local communities, regional leaders, and national governments to protect the ecological richness and culture of the Tibetan Plateau. Whether tracking brown bears, penning fables about the tiny pika, or promoting a groundbreaking conservation preserve, Schaller has pursued his goal with persistence and good humor. Tibet Wild is an intimate journey through the wilderness of Tibet, guided by the careful gaze and unwavering passion of a life-long naturalist.
Selling Points — An important new book from preeminent field biologist and National Book Award-winning author George Schaller — The first book to detail Schaller's work in Tibet and Western China, over 30 years of his career — Provides an inside look at the life and work of a field biologist in one of the most remote, wild, and magnificent regions of the world
Contents Introduction Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14
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A Covenant with Chiru 15 Riddle of the Calving Ground 29 The Longest Walk 43 A Deadly Fashion 67 A Gift to the Spirit 95 The Good Pika 109 Chang Tang Traverse 125 Feral Naturalist 167 Two Mountains and a River 201 Into the Hidden Land 227 Tibetan Wild Sheep Scandal 259 Wild Icon of the Pamirs 273 A Bear in the House 311 The Snow Leopard 325
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or nearly four decades my wife, Kay, and I have lived on North America’s East Coast beside a forest of maple and pine. Our house is a converted barn once used to stall cattle and dry tobacco. One half of the house consists of a huge, high room with the original barn beams still in place. It is our living room and the loft in it is lined with bookshelves crammed with travelogues, memoirs, histories, and expedition accounts about countries in which I have worked. But mainly it is a room of artifacts, of casual items acquired for their beauty, interest, or merely because they resonate in our hearts, each a memento of exploration and desire. Wooden masks from the Congo and Nepal hang on a wall, as does a Masai shield of buffalo hide from Tanzania. A Dayak headhunting knife from Sarawak is suspended from a beam beside an intricately woven basket from Laos used for collecting edible plants, land crabs, and other items for a meal. A shelf holds a stone adze from Brazil, a chunk of dinosaur bone from Mongolia, and a walrus tusk from Alaska with scrimshaw of seals and a polar bear. Against a wall stands a carved wooden chest from Pakistan’s Swat Valley. A brass bucket from Afghanistan holds firewood, and there is a lamp with a bronze base from India, and a photograph of Marco Polo sheep that reminds me of my studies in Tajikistan. Of all the countries in which I’ve worked, I spent far more years on projects in China than anywhere else. In 1980, I was invited to join a team of Chinese scientists in a four-year study of giant pandas, 1
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2 Tibet Wild a venture arranged by World Wildlife Fund. After the conclusion of that project, I began field research on the high Tibetan Plateau of western China, and I continue with it still, drawn to the luminous landscape, the wildlife, and the Tibetan culture. Tibetan rugs cover the floor of our room. A large thangka, a scroll painting of Tara, the deity of loving kindness and compassion, covers part of one wall. Seven lacquered tsampa bowls, lovely in shape and design, used for storing barley flour, cover one table. On a shelf rests a prayer wheel, a tiny temple bell with crystalline sound, a cup for butter tea, and an incense box with two carved snow lions, their turquoise manes flowing, reminding us of Tibet’s snowy mountains. A large blackand-white photograph, taken over a hundred years ago, shows the Potala, the Dalai Lama’s former home, on its hill overlooking fields and mountains beyond Lhasa. The Tibetan Plateau has infected me, particularly the Chang Tang, the great northern plain. Chang Tang. The name enchants. It conjures a vision of totemic loneliness, of space, silence, and desolation, a place nowhere intimate—yet that is part of its beauty. Even years before my first visit, I had long wanted to explore its secrets and, intrigued by the accounts of early Western travelers, I traced and retraced their journeys with a finger on a map. The Chang Tang was forbidden to foreigners, devoid of roads, and almost uninhabited; its inaccessibility enhanced its allure. In 1984 I finally had the opportunity to penetrate its vastness, an area which covers not just the northern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region, but also western Qinghai Province, and the southern rim of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. By 2011, I had made twenty-six journeys to the Chang Tang for a total of about forty-one months, not counting wildlife surveys I’ve also made in eastern Tibet and the Pamir Mountains of southwest China. Though drawn to remote and little-known places by inclination, I also knew that the Chang Tang in northern Tibet and other parts of the Tibetan Plateau harbored a variety of large mammals, none of them studied, their lives still a mystery.Years of political turmoil had decimated China’s wildlife, as I had noted during the panda study, and I wondered about the current status of various other species. Mainly I wondered how certain species of the Tibetan Plateau had fared.
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Introductionâ€ƒâ€‚3 I wanted to delve into the lives of the Tibetan antelope (or chiru), the Tibetan wild ass (or kiang), the wild yak, and other members of the unique mammal community on these uplands. Initially the State Forestry Administration (called the Ministry of Forestry at the time) in Beijing suggested that I survey the distribution of snow leopard. This I did, but soon my attention shifted to chiru. The species intrigued me with its wanderings, here today and gone tomorrow. To know about the movements of an animal is a first step in protecting it. Little did I realize how many years it would require, at what cost in comfort and funds, and how many miles of uninhabited terrain we would have to traverse to obtain even a general idea of the chiruâ€™s migratory patterns. I approached the project as a scientist, more specifically as a biologist focused on conservation.This involved collecting facts, many of them, because they are the only reliable tool of science, and it is upon facts that conservation must ultimately be based. I do not mistake numbers and measurements and statistical detail for meaning, but I hoped to collect enough scattered facts to discover from them certain patterns and principles which underlie the Chang Tang ecosystem. But nothing remains static, neither a wildlife population nor a culture, and I knew my efforts would represent just a moment in time, a record of something that no one has seen before and never would again. My information offers the landscape an historical baseline, drawn over a three-decade period from which others working in the future can reclaim the past and compare it to their present. Because the Tibetan Plateau is being rapidly affected by climate change, the accumulation of such basic knowledge has now become especially timely and urgent. To learn as much as possible about chiru became a personal quest, almost an indulgence, and it gave direction and coherence to much of my work on the Tibetan Plateau. To save one of the last great migrations of a hoofed animal in Asia, surpassed in number only by the million Mongolian gazelles on the eastern steppes of Mongolia, is important for itself, as well as to China and the world. And no one else at the time had devoted themselves to the task. By happy coincidence the chiru offered me an opportunity to explore terrain which few had ever seen and at the same time to study a
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The Tibetan Plateau in China and the adjacent countries where our wildlife conservation work was done.
Introduction 5 little-known species. I am less a modern field biologist devoted to technology and statistics than a nineteenth-century naturalist who with pencil and paper describes nature in detail, though with little desire to collect specimens, as was then in vogue; instead I strive to observe species and protect them. To become familiar with an area that is still healthy, productive, and diverse, one still unspoiled by humankind, has a special appeal. It is not a matter of surveying the last orangutans in Sarawak or searching for saola in Laos, as I have done, but of conserving vigorous populations of all animal and plant species in an ecosystem. Conservation has in recent decades focused on rain forests with their great diversity of species, whereas attention to rangelands, which cover 40 percent of the earth’s land surface, has languished.Yet rangelands too display biological treasures in beauty, variety, and uniqueness. The Serengeti savanna or Mongolian steppe offers an unsurpassed sense of place; it invites a feeling of empathy for the landscape, including the pastoral cultures, of the people who dwell there. Here in the Chang Tang was a neglected area of over 300,000 square miles, a third of them uninhabited, an area twice the size of California, or the size of France and Italy combined. Here one could address the conflicting demands of conservation, development, and the livelihood of its pastoral people, and here conservation would not need to be confined to a protected area of modest size but could involve a vast landscape, one larger than many countries. Good management options persisted and solutions to problems could be applied based on solid science, sound policy, and local support, drawing on the knowledge, interests, and participation of the area’s communities. Changes in the Chang Tang, already underway in the 1980s when I first visited, have been accelerating with more roads, more households, more livestock, and more fences, which, together with new land-use policies, have had a major impact on the land and its wildlife. As economic conditions have improved, most families have settled into permanent houses instead of nomadic tents, and have exchanged horses for motorcycles. Livestock is often kept in fenced private plots instead of herded on communal pastures, leading to overgrazing and hindering the movement of wildlife. The conservation goal now, as before, is to manage the rangelands, livestock,
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6 Tibet Wild and wildlife in dynamic stability, to maintain ecological wholeness. Changes over recent decades have made this more difficult. My perceptions and actions have had to change as well. As the human population grows there as elsewhere, one has to confront the necessity of limits, of regulating the use of the landscape. Some parts should be wholly protected, closed to human intrusion, where plants and animals can seek their destiny. Much of the northern Chang Tang is such a place, one still mostly devoid of people, and it requires such full protection. Other parts need to be managed in cooperation with the local communities, limiting livestock to sustainable numbers, managing wildlife to reduce conflict, strictly regulating development, and the like. When I now return to the Chang Tang, I can still see the past in the present because relatively little land has so far been degraded by human action. My mission, indeed my passion, is to help the Chang Tang endure for decades and centuries to come in all its variety and beauty through careful, intelligent management. My dream is that communities will learn to treasure and manage their environment for no reason other than to keep it healthy and beautiful. How can I graft my knowledge and feelings onto the beliefs, emotions, and traditions of others? As His Holiness the Dalai Lama said: “Ultimately, the decision to save the environment must come from the human heart.” The Buddhist religion stresses love and compassion toward all living beings, and this predisposes its followers to be receptive to an environmental message, more there than elsewhere. Humans seem to have a kind of mental glaucoma as they obsessively destroy nature, tearing it apart, even while seeing the ever-increasing damage that threatens their future. Conservation remains an ideological and psychological minefield through which everyone who hopes to preserve something must blunder. Nevertheless I see progress on the Tibetan Plateau and keep a positive spirit. Conservation is a long journey, not a destination, something to which my years in and around the Chang Tang can attest. Chinese expeditions had done important initial work by making lists of species and plotting their distribution, but my Han Chinese and Tibetan coworkers and I came with a different agenda. We came not just to learn but also to inform and inspire, to reveal the richness
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Introduction 7 of the Chang Tang and other places in this region of the world. We became witnesses who tried to alert those around us to what was being lost. We promoted the establishment of nature reserves, more accurately termed conservation areas because pastoralists with their livestock live in most of them. Much of the Chang Tang area is now officially protected in such nature reserves, a glowing achievement for China. We alerted the government to the mass slaughter of chiru for their fine wool in 1990, and this has led to much better protection of the species. Above all, the environment of the Tibetan Plateau has become a major concern of the government at all levels, of nongovernmental organizations, and of many communities. I had only a small part in this, but I have been an admiring observer, and have remained active in further conservation efforts there. “But what has been has been, and I have had my hour,” wrote the seventeenth-century poet John Dryden. Indeed I have. But I hate to acknowledge this. I cannot resist returning to the solitude of these vast uplands. With each expedition, I slough off my past like a snake skin and live in a new moment. Marooned in mind and spirit, I have no idea when my work there will end; I continue to plan new projects. But like all good ventures it will end someday without heroics. In recent years, I have neglected to publish much on our work. There have been occasional scientific papers and popular articles, mostly in Chinese publications such as Acta Zoologica Sinica and China’s Tibet. My two most recent books are the popular Tibet’s Hidden Wilderness (1997) and the scientific Wildlife of the Tibetan Steppe (1998), both also available in Chinese translation. But so much has been learned since then. I have made annual trips to China, to the Chang Tang, to southeast Tibet, and to the Pamir mountains of western China and adjoining countries. This book, built on these explorations, is part observation and part evocation. Eight of the fourteen chapters deal with the Chang Tang, a number of them devoted primarily to chiru. By the mid1990s, when I wrote my previous books, I had failed to find any calving grounds of the migratory chiru populations, a principal goal and a critical one in their conservation. Ultimately we reached two of them, and the travails of travel and the exultation of finding the
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8 Tibet Wild newborns deserve accounts. In these chapters, I have tried to bring out not just the discoveries and excitements of field work, but also what happens in the day-to-day course of our work. I thus emphasize some of the difficulties, of vehicles bogging down in July mud time after time and digging them out at 16,000 feet, of snow storms in summer, of winter temperatures in a frost-encrusted tent at –30°F, and the daily tedium of moving camp for weeks on end. I could only view my Tibetan, Han, and Uygur companions on the various journeys with respect for their fortitude and dedication under such conditions. A struggle for conservation all too often confronts greed, and so it was with the chiru, whose fine wool, when woven into shahtoosh shawls, had by the late 1980s become a fashion statement of the world’s wealthy. The slaughter of this species and its consequent decline, the developing effort to protect it, and its subsequent slow recovery, is a tale of desecration and redemption. My chapter on this shows how a species’ circumstances can almost overnight change from seeming security to being threatened with extinction. It is a lesson that nothing is ever safe, that if a country treasures something it must monitor and guard it continually. Of the 150 or so mammal species on the Tibetan Plateau, I studied the chiru in greatest detail. I had also wanted to make more observations on the rare wild yak, the ancestor of the abundant domestic yak; to me the presence of wild yaks sanctifies the Chang Tang as wilderness. But chiru drove me on, either to places where yaks have been exterminated or to habitat unfavorable to them. I have, however, written here about three other species of the Chang Tang.The small and endearing pika, whose presence is so vital to the ecosystem yet is being widely poisoned, is the subject of one chapter. Another is on the powerful and uncommon Tibetan brown bear, which has come into increasing conflict with humans. And a third chapter is on the snow leopard, ever present but seldom revealing itself, whose enigmatic presence has haunted me over the decades. We have also conducted wildlife surveys in the southeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau. With its maze of forested mountains and the world’s deepest canyon, eastern Tibet is wholly different from the Chang Tang, and it fascinated me by its contrasts. There I
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Introductionâ€ƒâ€‚9 experienced the close attentions of leeches in the humid warmth and learned about the hidden land of Pemako, sacred in Buddhist geography. We trekked through the region on two lengthy trips to check on the status of wildlife and evaluate it as a possible reserve. An uncommon animal on the Tibetan Plateau is the Tibetan argali sheep. I saw it seldom and learned little about its life but much about its death. Trophy hunters have an inane desire to kill rams with the longest possible horns, and I tell a story, in which I played but a minor part, of what happened when four American hunters returned home with their trophies: it turns into a cautionary tale, a sordid saga of sloppy science, deception, and political intrigue that damages the credibility of various persons and institutions. The Tibetan Plateau is often considered the Roof of the World, and the Pamirs to the west are, in effect, its veranda. The precipitous terrain of the Karakoram and Kunlun mountains between the Tibetan Plateau and the Pamirs has affected the distribution of wildlife. The snow leopard ranges throughout these mountains and Tibetan people once did, too. Kiang, chiru, and Tibetan gazelle failed to reach the Pamirs.Tibetan argali inhabit the Tibetan Plateau, whereas a unique argali subspecies, the Marco Polo sheep, lives in the Pamirs. This magnificent animal, the grandest of all wild sheep, roams across several international borders. To protect and manage it requires cooperation between Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and China, something best achieved by the creation of a four-country International Peace Park or Trans-Frontier Conservation Area. My efforts to promote this goal after working in each of the four countries, some of them politically volatile, provide me still with some useful lessons, above all about patience and persistence above all.
For a naturalist there is conflict between a life of comfort, companionship, and security at home, and one of hardship among mountains and plains. Observing undisturbed Marco Polo sheep fills me with delight, and waves of pleasure surge through me. Hearing that a government has protected an area that I had recommended
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10â€ƒâ€‚Tibet Wild is a balm to the soul, giving meaning to my life. But I renounce so much by seeking wildernessâ€”a settled life, friends, and contact with those I love. There is usually no one other than my wife, Kay, in the field in whom I can truly confide during days of adversity. For years my family was with me in the field: first only Kay in the Congo, then also our two children in India, Tanzania, and Pakistan, and, when these had grown up, only Kay again in China and Mongolia. She was not just my coworker and one who greatly enjoyed camp life, but she also edited my manuscripts (including this one), raised our two sons of whom I am immensely proud, and contributed in innumerable other ways. But Kay did not join me on most of the journeys described in this book, except in my heart, because her health did not permit it. I missed having her with me, always helping, encouraging, renewing my excitement in the work, and sharing memories. When separated for long, lLove is the only bridge connecting us during lengthy separations. There is the knowledge that my return is awaited, a gift of happiness from someone who is part of myself. Each of us carries a different burden of hardship when separated. Nevertheless our lives keep going, round and round, together and apart, a mandala of love and compassion. The various projects described in the chapters that follow have depended on many persons and institutions for support since the mid-1990s, and with deepest gratitude I acknowledge their generous assistance. Most are in China, the focus of this book, and I owe that nation an immense debt for hosting me so generously over the years. I particularly would like to mention the splendid cooperation of director Abu and Drolma Yangzom in the Forestry Department, Tibet Autonomous Region; of director Li Sandan and Zhang Li1 in the Forestry Department, Qinghai Province; and of director Zhu Fude and Shi Jun of the Forestry Department, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. I also refer to my work in a number of other countries, particularly those bordering China, among them Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Mongolia,Vietnam, and Laos. I thank all countries collectively, and extend my special 1. Throughout this book, Han Chinese names are given in their traditional manner with the family name first and then the given name.
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Introduction 11 appreciation to the many individuals, from herder to farmer and from government official to scientist, who so graciously extended their hospitality to us. Most of the individuals who took direct part in our journeys since the mid-1990s are mentioned in the text. The support of three institutions has been critical. For over half a century I have been affiliated with the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York; WCS also has an office in Beijing directed by Xie Yan. William Conway and John Robinson, among others at WCS, gave me the freedom to fulfill my dreams in the world’s wilderness, doing work on behalf of conservation that enriched my life. In 2008 I also joined Panthera, a nongovernmental organization devoted to the conservation of the world’s wild cats that is directed by Alan Rabinowitz, an old field colleague of mine. I have in addition an adjunct position with the Center of Nature and Society at Peking University in Beijing, which is directed by Lu Zhi. All research in China was done with the full cooperation of the State Forestry Administration in Beijing. The Tibet Plateau Institute of Biology and the Tibetan Academy of Agricultural and Animal Sciences in Lhasa also provided fruitful collaboration. The project has in recent years depended for any success on various foundations and individual donors, and I am deeply indebted to all for their faith in our efforts. Among these are the Liz ClaiborneArt Ortenberg Foundation, the Armand Erpf Fund, the Judith McBean Foundation, the Patagonia Company, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Hoch Charitable Lead Trust, and the National Geographic Society. The European Union-China Biodiversity Programme, through the Wildlife Conservation Society, funded a project in Tibet in which I took part. Edith McBean, Anne Pattee, and Darlene Anderson, among others, also helped us generously. Three individuals each accompanied me on several journeys, and they deserve special mention for their valuable contribution to the projects, as well as for their companionship dedication, adaptability, and tenacity, often under most difficult conditions. Kang Aili, a coworker on six of my trips during the past decade, is affiliated with the Wildlife Conservation Society–China office and coordinates its field program in western China with great ability and persistence.
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12 Tibet Wild Lu Zhi, director of both Peking University’s Center for Nature and Society and the Shan Shui Conservation Center, a nongovernmental organization, has with initiative and deep insight established several community conservation projects on the Tibetan Plateau. We worked together on two trips in the Chang Tang and two in southeast Tibet, and she also supervises the Tibetan brown bear program. Beth Wald, a photographer, added outstanding value to two expeditions in Afghanistan and two in Tajikistan by documenting the mountains, wildlife, and local people in glorious detail, something that greatly helped to promote our work. and raise awareness of these areas. With exceptional editorial skill, insight, and interest, Jonathan Cobb meticulously edited the manuscript on behalf of Island Press, and I owe him a great debt of gratitude for improving it so much. I also(stet) extend my deep appreciation to Kathy Zeller for preparing the maps, and to Michael Fleming for superbly copy editing the manuscript. Most persons who contributed to my conservation efforts are mentioned in the text, but, in addition, I thank Luke Hunter, David Wattles, Rebecca Martin, Margarita Trujillo, Lisanne Petracca, Sun Shan, and Donna Xiao. This is a personal book of science, conservation, and exploration based on my observations, experiences, and feelings. Sometimes I sound churlish and at other times exhilarated. My companions would no doubt write somewhat different accounts. But I want to stress that we worked as congenial teams. No matter what tribulations confronted us, we surmounted them and returned in good health, with solid information, and with many bonds of friendship intact. George Schaller Roxbury, Connecticut December 22, 2011
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Sales Information River Notes
Trim Size: 5.5x8.25 Pages: 176 Copyright: 2012
A Natural and Human History of the Colorado Wade Davis ISBN Hardcover
978-1-61091-361-4 $ 22.95
DiscounW Island Press Trade
Season Fall 2012
Bookstore Categories NATURE / Rivers
Jonathan Waterman, Running Dry: A Journey from Source to Sea Down the Colorado River, National Geographic, 2010, $26.00, paper
Into the Silence, Knopf, 2011, $32.50 hc.
James Lawrence Powell, Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the Future of Water in the West, University of California Press, 2011, $18.95, paper
Light at the Edge of the World, Douglas & McIntyre, 2007, $14.95 pb.
Marc Reisner, Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Penguin, 1993, $18.00, paper
Shadows in the Sun, Island Press, 2010, $21.95 pb.
The Serpent and the Rainbow, Touchstone, 1997, $15.00 pb.
Sales Handle A striking and powerful account of human exploration and the destruction of America’s most iconic river
What is this book about? Plugged by no fewer than twenty-five dams, the Colorado is the world’s most regulated river, providing most of the water supply of Las Vegas, Tucson, and San Diego, and much of the power and water of Los Angeles and Phoenix. If the river ceased flowing, it would soon be necessary to abandon many of the largest cities in the West. The Colorado is indeed a river of life, which makes it all the more tragic that when it approaches the sea, it has been reduced to a toxic trickle, its delta dry and deserted. In a blend of history, science, and personal observation, acclaimed author Wade Davis tells the story of America’s Nile, from its legendary history to the human intervention that has left it transformed and near exhaustion. The story of the Colorado River is the human quest for progress and its inevitable if unintended effects—and an opportunity to learn from past mistakes and foster the rebirth of America’s most iconic waterway. A beautifully told story of historical adventure and natural beauty, River Notes is a fascinating journey down the river and through mankind’s complicated and destructive relationship with one of its greatest natural resources.
Selling Points — Wade Davis is a bestselling author and acclaimed writer on environmental issues. His book Into the Silence sold more than 60,000 copies in fall 2011. — Despite the iconic status of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon, few books have been written that incorporate its natural and human history as well as its vital role as a source of water and power in the West — Offers readers a fascinating journey down the Colorado River, guided by Davis' lyric prose and skillful narrative style
“Man always kills the things he loves, and so, we, the pioneers, have killed our wilderness. Some say we had to. Be that as it may. I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in. Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?” ‐Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac 1949 In 1922, having completed work on the first comprehensive management plan for the Grand Canyon, Aldo Leopold, along with his younger brother, set out by canoe to explore the mouth of the mighty Colorado. At the time the entire flow of the Colorado reached the sea, carrying with it each year millions of tons of silt and sand and so much fresh water that the river’s influence extended some forty miles into the Gulf of California. The alluvial fan of the delta spread across two million acres, well over 3000 square miles, a vast riparian and tidal wetland the size of the state of Rhode Island. It was one of the largest desert estuaries on Earth. Off shore, nutrients brought down by the river supported an astonishingly rich fishery, bagre and corvina, dolphins and the rare and elusive vaquita porpoise, the world’s smallest marine cetacean. At the top of the food chain was the totoaba, an enormous relative of the white sea bass that grew to 300 pounds, spawned in the brackish waters of the estuary, and swarmed in the Sea of Cortez in such abundance that even fishermen blinded in old age, it was said, had no difficulty striking home their harpoons. In contrast to the searing sands of the Sonoran desert through which the lower Colorado flowed, and the blue and barren hills of the Sierra de los Cucapás, cradling the river valley to the north and west, the delta was lush and fertile, a “milk and honey wilderness”, as Leopold called it, of marshes and emerald ponds with cattails and wild grasses yielding to the wind, and cottonwoods, willows and mesquite trees overhanging channels where the water ran everywhere and nowhere, as if incapable of settling upon a route to the sea. The river, wrote Leopold, “could not decide which of a hundred green lagoons offered the most pleasant and least speedy path to the gulf. So he travelled them all, and so did we. He divided and rejoined, he twisted and turned, he meandered in awesome jungles, he all but ran in circles, he dallied with lovely groves, he got lost and was glad of it, and so were we.” Drifting with the ebb and flow of the tides, waking by dawn to the whistles of quail roosting in the branches of mesquite trees, making camp on mud flats etched with the tracks of wild boar, yellow legs and jaguar, the Leopold brothers experienced the Colorado delta much as had the Spanish explorer Hernando de Alarcón, who first reached its shores in 1540. There were bobcats draped over cottonwood snags. Deer, raccoons, beavers and coyotes, and flocks of birds so abundant they darkened the sky. Avocets and willets, mallards, widgeons and teals, scores of cormorants, screaming gulls and so many egrets on the wing that Leopold compared them in flight to “a premature snowstorm”. He wrote of great phalanxes of geese side slipping toward the earth, falling like autumn leaves. On every shore he saw clapper rails and sandhill cranes, and overhead doves and raptors scraping the sky. It was an exquisite landscape, rich in fauna and flora, with hundreds of species of birds, rare fish, and along the mudflats melons and wild grasses that yielded great handfuls of edible fruits and seeds. But their sojourn in the delta was not without its challenges. The river was too muddy to drink, the
lagoons too brackish, and every night the brothers had to dig to find potable water. The dense and impenetrable thickets of cachinilla made movement on land almost impossible, leaving Leopold doubtful that people had ever lived in the wetlands. “The Delta having no place names,” he wrote, “we had to devise our own as we went.” In this Leopold was quite wrong, for the marshes and lagoons of the Colorado delta had for a thousand years been home to the Cocopah Indians, who viewed themselves as the offspring of mythical gods, twins who had emerged from beneath the primordial water to create the firmament, the earth, and every living creature. In 1540 Hernando de Alarcón encountered at the mouth of the river not hundreds but thousands of men and women, who in their rituals, he reported, revealed a deep reverence for the sun. He described the Cocopah as tall and strong, with bodies and faces adorned in paint. The men wore loincloths, the women coverings of feathers that fell back and front from the waist. Every adult man had shell ornaments hanging from the nose and ears, and deer bones suspended from bands of cordage wrapped around the arms. They gathered in great numbers, small bands of a hundred, larger assemblies of a thousand, and in one instance, as Alarcón reported, no fewer than 6000. To support such populations, the Cocopah grew watermelons and pumpkins, corn, beans and squash. From the wild they feasted on fish, wood rats, beaver, raccoons, feral dogs, and cattail pollen and tule roots. In the first months of the year, with their stores of harvested food exhausted, they travelled to the high desert to gather cactus and agave. Mesquite pods, ground with a metate, yielded flour that was made into cakes or mixed with water and consumed as a drink. Their dwellings were simple structures, round domes of reeds and brush. They slept beneath blankets of rabbit skins. They moved through the marshes in dugout canoes, carved from cottonwood, or on rafts of logs bound together by ropes made from willow bark or wild grasses. Their most elaborate rituals occurred at death. The body of the deceased was fully adorned and then cremated, along with all possessions and memories. Shelters were burned and even footprints eradicated to ensure that the spirit of the dead abandon all attachments and never be tempted to return the realm of the living. The destiny of the dead was a land of plenty, not far from home, salt flats near the mouth of the river. At the funeral ceremony, the orator shaman recalled all the events in the life of the departed, as the relatives danced, moving four times around the burning pyre, wailing, sobbing, and singing the songs of death. With the body nearly consumed, the women of the family turned their backs to the flames, and solemnly cut off their hair as a sign of mourning. Then, with the healing smoke of tobacco and the relief of a ritual bath, each severed all connection to the deceased, even as wood in massive amounts was added to the fire to create a light that would shine through the night and illuminate in every corner of the delta the pathways of the living. Standing today on the banks of what was once a river, looking across a channel of white sand and past the scrub and scabrous vegetation that stretches across barren mudflats to the horizon, it is impossible to imagine a time when such funerary rituals could have occurred in the delta of the Colorado. As recently as the last years of the 19th century the wetlands produced enough wood to fuel the steamships and paddle wheelers that supplied all of the army outposts, mining camps and ragtag settlements of the lower Colorado. Today the gallery forests of cottonwood and willow are a shadow of
memory, displaced by thickets of tamarisk and arrow weed, invasive species capable of surviving in soils poisoned by salt. The emerald lagoons are long gone, as are the migratory birds that in the tens of thousands once found refuge in the wetlands. In the sea the totoaba were hunted to near extinction, four million pounds a year by the 1940s, with individual fish selling for as little as five cents, and many thousands killed only for their bladders, dried as a delicacy to be used in Chinese soups, while the carcasses were left to rot in the desert sun. Marine productivity has fallen by as much as 95%, and all that remains to recall the bounty of the estuary are the countless millions of shells that form the islands and beaches on the shore. These, along with the memories of Cocopah elders still living today who can recall swimming in the lagoons as children, and gathering wild grasses and hunting deer in the twilight with their families. “Man always kills the thing he loves,” wrote Aldo Leopold as he recalled his time in the Colorado delta, “and so we the pioneers have killed our wilderness.” Within twenty years of his visit, most of the wildlife had disappeared. The fishery that had fed the people of the river for generations was severely diminished, and the Cocopah population had dropped to fewer than 1500. Just before his death in 1948 Leopold famously articulated in A Sand County Almanac a new ethic of the land, one that might embrace “an intelligent humility toward man’s place in nature” and a definition of community that would expand to include its natural capital, the water and soil, plants and animals, the very land itself. “Do we not already sing our love to the land of the free and the brave?” he asked, “Yes, but just what do we love? Certainly not the soil, which we are sending helter‐skelter down river. Certainly not the waters, which we assume have no function except to turn turbines, float barges, and carry off sewage. Certainly not the plants, of which we exterminate whole communities without batting an eye. Certainly not the animals, of which we have already extirpated many of the largest and most beautiful species. A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these ‘resources,’ but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state. In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land‐ community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow‐members, and also respect for the community as such." Unfortunately Leopold’s message came both too soon and too late for the delta of the Colorado, the very landscape that had in good measure inspired it. With the completion of the Hoover Dam in 1935, the entire flow of the Colorado simply stopped for six years, as the engineers allowed the reservoir dubbed Lake Mead to reach its capacity. The ecological implications of turning off a river like a tap evidently were never considered, any more than they were thirty years later when the river’s flow was once again curtailed with the construction of the Glen Canyon dam, which shut down the river for seventeen years until Lake Powell reached its design threshold in 1980. Downstream from the reservoirs the Colorado is fed by a number of tributaries, but these flows in turn were cut off by other diversions, such as the Morales Dam which captures Mexico’s entire allotment, the last 10% of the river’s flow, bringing water to Tijuana and Mexicali and allowing farmers to grow alfalfa, cotton and corn in a desert basin that receives less than three inches of rain a year.
What reaches the mudflats of the delta today is agricultural run off, wastewater that has flowed over fields, seeped into desert soils high in mineral salts, and pooled in reservoirs and back channels to evaporate in the sun. What once was a majestic river that each year in flood flushed clean the delta, replenishing the land with silt and nutrients, is today a saline slurry, with a salt content so high it cannot be used to water even the most hardy of garden plants. Thus by the time water provided to cattleman and farmers in the upper Colorado basin for a mere $3.50 an acre‐foot reaches the delta it must be scrubbed clean and desalinated before it can be placed on Mexican fields, increasing the costs a hundred fold. To walk down a gravel road just south of the border town of San Luis Rio Colorado and watch what remains of the Colorado pass through rusted culverts, bringing not fertility but toxicity to the land, is to ask what on earth became of this stream so revered in the American imagination, and yet now so despoiled that it today reaches the ocean a river only in name.
Global Farms Race
Trim Size: 6 x 9 Pages: 272 Copyright: 2012
Land Grabs, Agricultural Investment, and the Scramble for Food Security Michael Kugelman and Susan L. Levenstein ISBN Hardcover
978-1-61091-186-3 $ 50.00
Island Press Short
Paperback 978-1-61091-187-0 $ 25.00
Island Press Short
Bookstore Categories POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy/Environmental Policy POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy/Environmental Policy
Sales Handle The first comprehensive analysis of farmland acquisitions
What is this book about? We have entered a new phase of the global food crisis. Wealthy countries that import much of their food, along with private investors, are racing to buy or lease huge swaths of farmland abroad. The Global Farms Race is the first book to examine this burgeoning trend in all its complexity, considering the implications for investors, host countries, and the world as a whole. The debate over large-scale land acquisition is typically polarized, with critics lambasting it as a form of “neocolonialism,” and proponents lauding it as a cure-all for global agriculture. The Global Farms Race instead offers diverse perspectives, featuring contributions from agricultural investment consultants, farmers’ organizations, international NGOs, and academics. This critical resource addresses historical context, environmental impacts, and social effects, and covers all the major geographic areas of investment.
Selling Points — The first full-length book on "land grabs" and the growing concerns about water shortages, eroding topsoil, climate change, and other threats to food security that result. — A timely and important issue for professionals, researchers, and students containing solid background and thoughtful analysis of this emerging phenomenon that has received wide attention in the press. — The editors are well-respected and the contributors offer diverse perspectives on key issues from around the globe.
Table of Contents Acknowledgments
Michael Kugelman 2. Are We Learning from History? Derek Byerlee 3. Overview
David Hallam 4. Social and Economic Implications
Alexandra Spieldoch and Sophia Murphy 5. Environmental Impacts
Laura A. German, Wouter M.J. Achten, and Manuel R. Guariguata 6. Investors’ Perspectives
10. Regional Perspectives: Latin America
11. Regional Perspectives: Central and Eastern Europe
Gary R. Blumenthal 7. Improving Outcomes
Ruth Meinzen‐Dick and Helen Markelova 8. Regional Perspectives: Africa Chido Makunike 9. Regional Perspectives: Asia Raul Q. Montemayor
Bastiaan P. Reydon and Vitor B. Fernandes
and the Former Soviet Union
Carl Atkin 12. Recommendations and Conclusion
Michael Kugelman Appendices
About the Editors and Contributors
Introduction By Michael Kugelman The world is experiencing a land rush. Wealthy, food‐importing countries and private investors are flocking to farmland overseas. These transactions are highly opaque, and relatively few details have been made public. What is known, however, is quite striking—and particularly the scale of these activities. Back in 2009, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) estimated that 15 to 20 million hectares of farmland had been subject to negotiations or transactions over the preceding few years. In 2011, the International Land Coalition (ILC) presented data indicating that nearly 80 million hectares had been subject to negotiation with foreigners since 2001—an amount exceeding the area of farmland in Britain, France, Germany, and Italy combined. Also in 2011, the World Bank projected that about 60 million hectares worth of deals were announced in 2009 alone. By early 2012, the ILC’s estimates had soared to a whopping 203 million hectares worth of land deals “approved or under negotiation” between 2000 and 2010. Some projections have gone even further; a September 2011 Oxfam study contends that nearly 230 million hectares—an area equivalent to the size of Western Europe—have been sold or leased since 2001, with most of this land acquired since 2008. One of the largest and most notorious deals ultimately collapsed: an arrangement that would have given the South Korean firm Daewoo a 99‐year lease to grow corn and other crops on 1.3 million hectares of farmland in Madagascar—half of that country’s total arable land. Popular opposition on the African island nation not only squelched the deal, but also contributed to the demise of the government that had championed it. (Another mammoth bid, put forth by China to acquire up to a million hectares of land in the Philippines, was also unsuccessful.) However, other mega‐deals are reportedly in the works (see Table 1‐1). Indonesia has opened up more than 1 million hectares of farmland to investors, while Mozambique has offered Brazil a staggering 6 million hectares to grow several different crops. To get a sense of the enormity of such deals, consider that most small farmers in the developing world own plots of less than two hectares (see Table 1‐2). [INSERT TABLE 1‐1] [INSERT TABLE 1‐2] Early characterizations of this trend portrayed capital‐rich Arab Gulf states and the prosperous countries of East Asia preying on the world’s farmland. In 2009, one specialist estimated that by the end of 2008, China, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, and Saudi Arabia were controlling over 7.6 million cultivable hectares overseas—more than five times the usable agricultural surface of Belgium. However, such assessments do not capture the whole picture—one that has more fully emerged only since 2011, when organizations such as the World Bank, Oxfam, and the ILC began releasing in‐depth research. It is not simply the richest countries targeting the developing world: North African countries are investing in sub‐Saharan Africa, Brazilian and South African investors are angling for deals
worldwide, and Southeast Asian countries are eying each others’ soil. Meanwhile, keen interest in Australian and New Zealand farmland explodes the myth that these land acquisitions represent an assault solely on the soils of the developing world. Additionally, the role of the United States often goes unreported. According to researchers and media reports, the U.S. firm Goldman Sachs has purchased poultry and pig farms in China; American farmers have bought plots in Brazil; and North American investors hold 3.3 million hectares in Africa. In 2011, the Oakland Institute alleged that American universities—including Harvard and Vanderbilt—were investing heavily in African farmland through European hedge funds and financial speculators. The New Farms Race: Roots and Reasons Why are we now witnessing this race for the world’s farmland, and what propels its participants? A chief reason is food security. In 2008, world food prices reached their highest levels since the 1970s. The skyrocketing costs of staple grains and edible oils triggered riots across the globe—particularly in the impoverished cities of the developing world, where many people spend up to 75 percent of their incomes on food. Some top food‐ exporting nations, in efforts to prevent food price spikes and public unrest at home, imposed bans on food exports. Such bans, by taking large amounts of grain supplies off the global market, exacerbated the food insecurity of food‐importing nations dependent on such staples. Prices have now stabilized and the world food crisis has receded from the media spotlight. However, food costs are still high and commodities markets remain unpredictable. Additionally, other factors— such as eroding topsoil, farmland‐displacing urbanization, water shortages, and the spread of wheat‐ destroying disease—demonstrate the challenges nations and their populations continue to face in meeting their food needs. Indeed, food security remains an urgent global concern—and particularly for agriculturally deficient, water‐short nations that depend on food imports to meet rapidly growing domestic demand. Some of these nations have decided to take matters into their own hands. In an effort to avoid the high costs, supply shortages, and general volatility plaguing global food imports, these countries are bypassing world food markets and instead seeking land overseas to use for agriculture. Crops are harvested on this land and then sent back home for consumption. Energy security is another prime impetus. In an effort to avoid environmentally damaging and geopolitically risky hydrocarbons, many nations are scouring land overseas to use for biofuels production. In fact, according to the ILC, 40 percent—about 37 million hectares—of the world’s land involved in agricultural deals is set aside for this purpose (keep in mind, however, that some biofuels crops, such as oil palm, soybeans, and sugarcane, can produce food as well as fuel). Meanwhile, private‐sector financiers recognize land as a safe investment in an otherwise shaky economic climate, and hope to capitalize financially on the food‐ and energy‐security‐driven
mushrooming demand for agricultural land. Estimates from early 2012 judged that $14 billion in private capital was committed to investment in farmland—a figure projected to double by 2015. Nearly 200 private equity firms are projected to be involved in farming, with 63 of them alone seeking to generate $13 billion in agricultural investments. Far from being coerced into these land deals, many developing‐country governments welcome them— and even lobby aggressively for them. Pakistan, for example, has staged “farmland road shows” across the Arab Gulf to attract investor interest, offering lavish tax incentives and even a 100,000‐strong security force to protect investors. Host governments hope that heavy injections of foreign capital will enhance agricultural technology, boost local employment, revitalize sagging agricultural sectors, and ultimately improve agricultural yields. They are also drawn to the new roads, bridges, and ports that some land investors promise to build. With such tantalizing incentives, many host‐nation governments have no compunction about holding farmland fire sales. Why This Book? The global run on agriculture has sparked high levels of passion and polarization. Some regard it as the spark for a new green revolution—while others perceive it as a “new colonialism” or “land grab,” whereby powerful forces seize land long held (or used) by the more vulnerable. Indeed, supporters believe these capital‐laced, technology‐heavy deals, by boosting agricultural productivity, can help bring down global grain costs and reduce the threat of future food crises. Critics, conversely, worry about deleterious impacts on small farmers, their land, their livelihoods, and the environment. Some argue that the deals’ purported benefits could become moot if they result in mass displacements, land degradation, and natural resource shortages. The truth likely lies somewhere in between these two positions, and serious work on the topic must engage this middle ground. While such literature has begun to emerge, thanks to the output of organizations such as IFPRI, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the World Bank, and the ILC, the knowledge vacuum remains considerable, and particularly in the United States. This book’s contribution to this new yet growing debate is to present a range of views on an equally broad array of issues flowing from the world’s pursuit of farmland. The Global Farms Race features contributions from agricultural investment consultants, farmers’ groups, international organizations, and academics based in nine different countries across the developed and developing worlds. Its topical scope encompasses historical dimensions, environmental implications, and social effects. It provides regional perspectives covering all the major areas of investment: Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the former Soviet Union/Eastern and Central Europe. The book’s underlying argument is a simple one: Whether we support them or not, large‐scale land acquisitions are a reality. We should accept this reality and seek to learn more about these deals with a spirit of inquiry that steers clear of undue alarmism and Pollyannaism alike. This is why even the chapters most critical of the deals do not issue shrill calls for their elimination, and why the most supportive chapters openly acknowledge that farmland investments are fraught with risks and
challenges. The book deals with a topic that begs for more public debate, and for such debate to be healthy, it must keep the poison of polarization at bay. With this in mind, the objective of The Global Farms Race is to equip readers with the proper grounding to understand the scramble for the world’s soils—a trend with considerable implications for major 21st century challenges such as food security, natural resource management, and climate change. History Reinventing Itself While often referred to as a new trend, today’s land lust is simply the reappearance—in a new form—of a phenomenon that has occurred for centuries. In the 19th century, European colonialism gobbled up global farmland. In the early 20th century, foreign fruit companies appropriated farmland in Central America and Southeast Asia. Later in the same century, Britain attempted (unsuccessfully) to convert present‐day southern Tanzania into a giant peanut plantation. Even the nightmare scenario invoked by critics of today’s foreign land acquisitions—a wealthy nation whisking its newly grown crops out of a famine‐scarred country—has a historical precedent: During the Irish potato famine of the 19th century, England was exporting fresh Ireland‐grown crops back home. Derek Byerlee’s opening chapter surveys large‐scale land acquisitions since the second half of the 19th century (the first era of globalization), with a focus on the six commodities that have dominated these deals over the last 150 years—sugarcane, tea, rubber, bananas, oil palm, and (more recently) food staples. Many of his examples involve the United States: American sugar companies acquiring Cuban forest and pasture land in the early 1900s, transforming the newly independent nation into the world’s leading sugar exporter; powerful landholding U.S. sugar firms in Hawaii contributing to the annexation of the territory in 1898; and the United Fruit banana company controlling nearly 1.5 million hectares in Central America in 1935, “making it the largest farmland holder in the world at that time.” He also writes how 3 million hectares of “prime” land in colonial‐era Kenya were converted into European tea estates, displacing locals and helping spark the 1950s Mau Mau uprising; how a precursor company to Unilever obtained a 140,000‐hectare concession to produce oil palm in early‐20th‐century Belgian Congo; and how Nikita Khrushchev’s Virgin Lands program of the 1950s plowed up 55 million hectares of the Central Asian steppe. Byerlee, an independent adviser who co‐authored the World Bank’s 2011 Rising Global Interest in Farmland report, argues that despite this proliferation of large‐scale deals, smallholders still managed to thrive. Even with colonial policies favoring estate production, he notes, smallholders produced half of Asian rubber in 1940. Meanwhile, the tea sector experienced “a remarkable transition from foreign‐ owned plantations to a robust smallholder sector,” a shift attributable to supportive government policies, smallholder innovation, and “forward‐looking” companies. “The historical experience has shown the importance of providing a level playing field for smallholders,” Byerlee concludes, asserting that once support services are put into place, smallholders can “dominate” their respective industries.
Byerlee emphasizes that today’s overseas land investments do differ from their predecessors in significant ways—particularly in that the “high social costs” of past deals were more frequently tied to labor issues (such as poor working conditions) than to those of land witnessed today. He attributes this relative infrequency of land tensions to the fact that in the past, most land was acquired in sparsely populated areas. One can identify other differences as well: today their scale is much larger; they emphasize staples instead of cash crops; they are concluded on the basis of agreements instead of through the barrel of a gun; and they are spearheaded by more government‐led investment than in the past. David Hallam’s contribution provides a broad overview of international agricultural investments, focusing on trends, motivations, impacts, and policy implications. Hallam, of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), first provides a reality check. The number of implemented investments, he notes, “appears to be less” than what the media are reporting, and land controlled by foreigners “remains a relatively small proportion” of total land in host countries. Additionally, while government funds are fueling the deals to an extent, investors are “primarily” from the private sector. Finally, foreign farmland investments represent only one strategy for satisfying food security needs. Others include regional food reserves and better international food market information systems, both of which are “under active discussion.” The “key question” with land investments, he writes, is the extent to which host‐country benefits— capital inflows, technology transfers, more employment—“spill over” into host‐country agriculture and create a “synergistic relationship” with existing smallholder systems. He asserts that these benefits will not materialize in local settings if land deals result in an “enclave” of “advanced agriculture” operating in isolation from indigenous, traditional smallholder agriculture. Contract farming (whereby small farmers produce crops for a larger entity, such as an agribusiness firm) can bring together smallholders and advanced agriculture, and Hallam advocates this arrangement as an alternative to outright purchases and leasings of land. He acknowledges, however, that investors may favor land acquisitions or long‐term leases when economies of scale prevail, or when major infrastructural expenditures (such as roads and ports) are required. Farmland Acquisitions: Foolish or Fortuitous? Be that as it may, Hallam underscores that large‐scale foreign investments in agriculture “raise complex and controversial issues.” Alexandra Spieldoch, a gender and food systems consultant, and Sophia Murphy, of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, take a closer look at the troubling social and economic implications of these acquisitions. One is the presence of “lopsided” power relationships in “virtually every one” of the deals being proposed. Foreign investors are typically large, wealthy transnational firms or rich governments, while host governments are poor, at war, or embroiled in political conflict. Few of the host governments can boast of strong and independent democratic institutions—a concern not just for investors, but also for local affected communities who may find their governments have no authority to speak on their behalf. Women, arguably those most impacted by the
deals, are particularly vulnerable in this context, as they “have less access to information and less of a political voice than men.” Spieldoch and Murphy reference a land scheme in central Ghana, where jatropha‐seeking companies have cleared land long used for yam cultivation. Women, they report, have been “the hardest hit.” They have lost access to the forested land that provided them with medicine, fuel, and the food crops that accounted for their modest incomes. Another reason for concern is the conflicting interpretation of land use. Government officials often claim that the land they plan to sell or lease is unused. However, “what the government may categorize as wasteland might very well be meeting an important share of rural people’s household needs,” Spieldoch and Murphy explain. Rural denizens often use uncultivated land as a source for wild foods, medicinal plants, and water. Indigenous use of this fallow land to satisfy resource demand is particularly critical given the world’s paucity of healthy land and natural resources. The writers point out that two‐thirds of the world’s agricultural land is currently degraded, and that by 2025 nearly 2 billion people could live in water‐scarce regions. And yet the authors argue that the industrial, large‐scale agricultural production envisioned by foreign investors will further exacerbate this environmental blight. Fresh water will disappear, soil nutrients will be depleted “at unsustainable rates,” and fossil fuels will be heavily expended to support fertilizers, pesticides, and farm machinery. Given that some of the prime investment targets—Central Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia—are home to the majority of the world’s dwindling rain forests, such prognostications are particularly troubling. These environmental risks constitute the focus of the chapter by Laura A. German, Wouter M.J. Achten, and Manuel R. Guariguata. The writers (from, respectively, the University of Georgia, the University of Leuven, and the Center for International Forestry Research) examine how the commodities most often associated with large‐scale land acquisitions—including plantation forestry and biofuels crops like jatropha, sugarcane, oil palm, and soybean—impact carbon stocks, biodiversity, and water consumption. The chapter underscores that the carbon‐saving qualities of biofuels should not be taken for granted; this is because carbon is actually lost during the land use changes that precede biofuels production. However, biofuels systems enjoy carbon emissions reduction capabilities, and so actual production can eventually “repay” the carbon debt incurred before production. Still, German and her co‐authors argue that land conversions to oil palm production—which spawns extensive deforestation, a heavily carbon‐ emitting process—often lead to longer repayment periods (more than a projected 900 years, in one documented case) than those experienced with other biofuels crops. The chapter also describes the devastating impact forest conversion to oil palm has had on animal species in Southeast Asia; in one case in Malaysia, it expunged as much as 60 percent of the area bird species. On the other hand, jatropha and rubber production have been found to leave the largest water footprints. One can conclude from the data presented in this chapter that the most environmentally threatening large‐scale land acquisitions may be those in Southeast Asia and sub‐Saharan Africa, where most of the world’s oil palm production takes place (the authors cite several cases of oil palm expansion in each region, some occurring in recent decades and others expected to commence in the future, all with 100 percent deforestation rates). By contrast, the major biofuels crops produced in Latin America are
sugarcane and soybeans, which have triggered relatively little deforestation. The authors warn, however, that any type of land conversion can impact biodiversity and natural resource availability—and indirectly affect forests or other vulnerable land nearby. Gary R. Blumenthal, of the agricultural consulting firm World Perspectives, Inc. (WPI), offers an unqualified defense of large‐scale farmland acquisitions, suggesting that land deals can serve the interests of the most vulnerable and reduce hunger. How so? He argues that such investment “enables the full and efficient application of current technology,” resulting in less labor, yet higher productivity levels. He notes that Zimbabwe’s agricultural population per hectare of arable land is more than 56 times greater than the United States, yet American corn yields are 11 times those of Zimbabwe. That the efficient use of technology reduces the need for labor is a good thing, writes Blumenthal, because lower rates of labor per hectare mean better nutrition, higher education levels, and more health care for local communities. Furthermore, the chief fact on the ground—a large, growing, and hungry world population—cries out for scale and capital investment. “Using smallholdings agriculture as a development policy is like promising an automobile to everyone in the world, but limiting construction to hand labor,” he writes. “The principles of industrialization and mass production apply as equally to agriculture as they do to non‐agricultural goods.” Farmers do not dispute such views, Blumenthal adds. Despite the negative connotation of large‐scale farming—“big is bad, while small is charming”—he notes that in WPI surveys of farmers across the world, “nearly all aspire to become larger” by expanding their acreages. Responses to the Race for the World’s Farmland According to Blumenthal, financiers have strong incentives to invest in agriculture. And in a sector where demand is soaring and supply is dwindling, financial returns are a chief motivation. “Capital flows to where it is rewarded the most,” he writes, “and nothing attracts investment better than a perceived market shortage.” However, says Blumenthal, historically the investment community has avoided agriculture, owing to its fears about the passions and emotions whipped up by outsiders’ involvement in land. Only in the last few years, when the commercial rationale became so compelling—thanks in large part to the realization that agricultural investments can serve as a portfolio diversifier and hedge against inflation— has this situation changed, and dramatically so. In 2009, droves of investors—hedge fund managers, agricultural industry executives, and chief financial officers of universities—converged on a New York City hotel for Global AgInvesting 2009, “the first investors’ conference on the emerging worldwide market in farmland.” The event has occurred each year since then; the 2011 conference, according to its official website, www.globalaginvesting.com, featured more than 600 attendees with a combined 10 million hectares under cultivation and $12.5 billion in farmland assets. Indeed, according to IFPRI’s Ruth Meinzen‐Dick and the University of Minnesota’s Helen Markelova, many deals are being negotiated at a “rapid rate.” Given this reality, they argue, policymakers and civil
society can no longer settle for making “blanket pronouncements praising or denouncing the deals,” but must instead focus on what can be done to help host countries “seize the opportunities and mitigate the risks” surrounding the deals. Their essay proposes a series of questions to be asked about any potential farmland transaction, in order to help determine how beneficial it would be for local communities, host governments, and investors alike. These questions focus on current land use (how and by whom the land in question is currently being used) and on land tenure arrangements, or property rights. Do individuals have formal rights to the land, and does the government recognize these rights? Or do local groups have more informal “customary” tenure over the land (a status more easily exploitable by governments and investors)? What are the deals’ terms—will the land be sold or leased (the latter offers revenue streams and reversibility options, but if short‐term may not create incentives for long‐term environmental sustainability)? Will there be enforcement provisions? To what extent will proposed benefits of the deals be shared with locals—will farmers be able to participate in contracting arrangements, and will they have access to improved technologies? Will local communities retain any of the food produced on their land—particularly during food shortages? Will the land be able to withstand long‐term, intensive production? Finally, how involved are land users in the negotiations over these notoriously non‐ transparent deals? The transparency issue is essential, the writers insist, because “free, prior, and informed consent will create greater legitimacy” for land deals. Meinzen‐Dick and Markelova identify the qualities that can help ensure foreign land acquisitions are “economically, socially, and ecologically sustainable.” These include transparency, respect for land rights (including customary rights), benefits‐sharing, and environmental sustainability. They single out efforts by the World Bank and UN to produce “codes of conduct” as encouraging developments, and contend that wide dissemination of such codes would better prepare communities, host governments, and investors for “constructive negotiations.” For these mechanisms to work, however, a variety of actors must participate. The international community must “push for adherence” to the code in both investor and host countries; host governments must monitor local people’s rights; the media must “showcase” the better deals, “shame” the bad ones, and push for more transparency; and civil society must focus on “preventing unjust expropriation.” The code of conduct option has come under fire. Many detractors contend that since it serves a strictly normative purpose, it would be toothless and incapable of inducing compliance on the part of host governments and investors. At a UN conference in October 2011, efforts to finalize guidelines on large‐ scale land deals failed, prompting the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food to admit that they represent “an unresolved sticking point.” Still, negotiations were restarted in early 2012, with expectations of an agreement being reached within the year. An alternative approach puts more of the onus on host governments. Spieldoch and Murphy write that countries “ultimately need a national (and local) dialogue on what they want for and from their land.” They recommend that host governments (with cooperation from investors) ensure that deals uphold the universal human right to food (a right enshrined in international legal conventions), and that land investment guidelines incorporate the feedback, priorities, and needs of all affected groups and
communities. Spieldoch and Murphy also advocate that land use be reviewed in light of demographic shifts. Rural populations are projected to more than double by 2050 in some of the African countries most sought after by foreign land investors, they point out. “Getting a better grasp on the realities of both land use and availability will help craft appropriate policies,” they conclude. From the Farmland Frontlines: Regional Perspectives Some critics contend that international responses to foreign land deals betray a level of ignorance about realities on the ground in host countries and local communities. What are these ground realities? The next series of chapters offer accounts from four salient regions, written by people from—or intimately familiar with—these areas. Africa Africa is the biggest hotspot for overseas land acquisitions. Of the 203 million hectares of farmland cited by the ILC, 134 million of them are in Africa. While many of these acquisitions have occurred in the years following the 2007‐08 global food crisis, the World Bank calculates that acquisitions totaled nearly 10 million hectares in just four African countries (Ethiopia, Liberia, Mozambique, and Sudan) during the relatively early period of 2004‐09. None of this is surprising when one considers that, according to the World Bank’s 2011 study, of the world’s 445 million hectares of unfarmed land “suitable for cropping, nonforested, nonprotected, and populated with less than 25 people per square kilometer,” more than 200 million hectares are in sub‐Saharan Africa (see Table 1‐3). [Insert Table 1‐3] Paradoxically, many African countries relinquishing their farmland are so acutely food‐insecure that they depend on aid from the World Food Program (WFP). Ethiopia, for example, has received $116 million in WFP food aid—even while Saudi Arabia has grown grains on Ethiopian farms for Saudi consumption. Meanwhile, Sudan has received “a billion pounds of free food” from international donors, yet has still managed to grow wheat for Saudi Arabia, tomatoes for the Jordanian Army, and sorghum—a Sudanese staple—for camels in the United Arab Emirates. However, there is another side to this story. In 2009, the head of Emergent Asset Management, one of the most active private investors in southern African land, informed the BBC that “we are not bringing in our own farm workers and then taking the food and exporting it.” Instead, local communities will benefit from new farming techniques, seeds, technologies, and the “above‐average wages paid by Emergent’s local partner.” In 2011, IIED researchers managed to secure contracts for 12 land deals in Africa. They found that several contained beneficial terms for local communities—one in Mali applied international environmental standards, while several in Liberia contained explicit investor commitments on employment and training. And several years after the Daewoo debacle, researchers discovered that land deals in Madagascar are emphasizing school‐building and clinic‐construction.
Regardless of the nature of foreign land acquisitions in Africa, an essential fact remains: African land is a highly contentious phenomenon. “More so perhaps than on any other continent,” writes Senegal‐based agricultural commodities exporter Chido Makunike, “so many livelihoods, and entire cultural and economic experiences, are directly tied to the land.” These strong ties, he explains, “engender a strong sensibility about land that is poorly understood by many non‐Africans.” His contribution describes these sentiments about land in Africa, and argues that failing to understand them will make successful agribusiness projects in the region unlikely. For example, if foreign investors target what to them appears to be empty land but is in fact a community’s ancestral burial ground, then “passion and resentment” will ensue. Additionally, Makunike describes the large‐scale agriculture model as “Africa‐dismissive.” Millions of smallholders are seemingly ignored, while capital, expertise, and sometimes even managers and workers are imported from overseas. He cites case studies from Sierra Leone and Mozambique, where investors’ promised jobs to smallholders have not materialized, and from Ethiopia, where an Indian firm is using Ethiopian land to produce food for export that was previously used to raise Ethiopia’s staple crop. The “presumption,” according to Makunike, is that other than the land itself, “the African side has nothing to bring to the table.” It is this “dismissive attitude” of foreign investors that not only prompts “worry and resentment” about land deals in Africa, but also “endangers their longevity and ultimate political and social viability.” Nonetheless, Makunike does not necessarily object to foreign investments in agriculture. On the contrary, he suggests that when local communities “can be shown and convinced” that the commercial use of land “would definitely and significantly improve community well‐being,” then the investment is a wise one. Makunike is cautiously supportive of contract farming, noting that it offers African smallholders income opportunities while giving them the flexibility to grow their own crops on the side. The biggest question is whether investors would have the patience to offer training and assistance to their smallholder partners—given that time‐pressed investors “are used to having large groups of tightly controlled laborers who are hired and fired at will.” If land deals are done right, concludes Makunike, local communities will see their interests “tied up with the success” of the investment—a tremendous benefit for the investor. Asia After Africa, Asia is arguably the most popular target for farmland investments. According to the ILC’s 2012 report, publicly reported land deals in the region encompass 43 million hectares. Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines have attracted particularly strong interest, and IFPRI has highlighted several proposed or finalized Asia‐based deals in excess of 100,000 hectares. Investments in Asia differ from those in Africa in one notable respect: They are mostly intraregional in nature. According to the ILC, 75 percent of the land acquisitions in Southeast Asia have been made by investors hailing from elsewhere in Asia. By contrast, Asians, Americans, and Europeans are all involved in projects in Africa.
According to Raul Q. Montemayor of the Federation of Free Farmers Cooperatives, Inc. in the Philippines, “agribusiness opportunities abound in Asia”—a region home to growing populations and rising consumption trends. Farmland investors win over Asian governments with promises of official development assistance, loans, and other perks. However, Montemayor expresses great concern about the “rapid encroachment on small farms” spawned by foreign land acquisitions in Asia. He reports how a Cambodian corporation, in partnership with foreign investors, has cleared land previously used for local food crops and livestock grazing; more than 1,000 families have been affected and smallholders speak of having lost their land without being compensated. He writes as well about the fears of unrest sparked by a Saudi firm’s acquisition of 1.2 million hectares in Indonesia’s Papua province, an area embroiled in separatist insurgency. Small farmers have precious little to gain financially from leasing their land to foreigners, according to Montemayor. He insists that “even a low‐technology farmer” working his modest two‐hectare plot could “easily generate” the two dollars per day offered as rental payments by foreign firms in the Philippines. Montemayor offers recommendations for how international land investments can better benefit local landowners, rural communities, and Asian host countries generally. Strikingly, each of his proposals focuses on local initiatives; he says little about the role of international players, and nothing about an international code of conduct. He calls on host governments to develop clear policies on foreign land investment that take into account “the overriding interests of the country”—from food security to the environmental sustainability of land and natural resources. He also underscores that foreign investors must “strictly adhere” to relevant host country rules and regulations, with repercussions if they fail to do so. He insists that locals be held to these rules as well, given that “most of the excesses and abuses” surrounding land deals are perpetrated by host country militaries and politicians. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, he writes, local “goons” in the Philippines terrorized targeted investment areas, forcing settlers to flee and “making them easy prey for opportunists” ready to lease the settlers’ land. Finally, he recommends that legal assistance be provided to local landowners and users to ensure that they are not snookered into signing one‐sided contracts. Latin America Africa and Asia have netted some of the largest deals, but investors are also fixated on Latin America, where, based on ILC figures, 19 million hectares have been acquired. According to an Argentinian study, foreigners own 11 percent of productive land in that nation. This region, combined with the Caribbean, contains 123 million hectares of available cultivable land, says the World Bank; only sub‐Saharan Africa boasts more. Additionally, investors are attracted to its nutrient‐rich soil, water‐laden farmland, livestock‐producing capabilities, and advanced agricultural technologies. Bastiaan P. Reydon and Vitor B. Fernandes assert that foreign land investment is prolific throughout the region, and especially in land‐abundant Brazil. The authors, both based at the University of Campinas in São Paulo, focus much of their chapter on this country, where, they write, FDI flows into the agricultural sector equaled $421 million between 2005 and 2007—a figure surpassed only by China and Malaysia. Brazilian law imposes limitations on foreign land ownership, the chapter explains, and a
legal decision affirmed these restrictions as recently as 2010. Yet foreign acquisitions have proceeded nonetheless—including a $7 billion long‐term deal inked by China in 2011 to grow 6 million tons of soybeans per year in one small town. More than 4 million hectares of land—and nearly 35,000 rural properties—are registered under foreign ownership. Reydon and Fernandes suggest that poor land regulation and shoddy governance help fuel the high levels of foreign investment in Brazilian land. Half of Brazil’s 850 million hectares are not registered with the official land registry, while irregularities, fraud, and corruption afflict both the official registry and the various notary offices that register land unofficially. The authors conclude that Brazil should better regulate land acquisitions instead of trying to “repress or prevent” them altogether. Land speculation is natural in capitalism, so “it is up to the state to regulate it, and to society to establish governance over it to forestall further harm.” Central and Eastern Europe Countries (CEEC) and the Former Soviet Union (FSU) Though not as extensive as in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, land acquisitions also occur in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. After the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, foreign investors (most of them private) rushed to claim formerly state‐owned farms—and this process has continued today. Such interest is understandable; Blumenthal notes that the nutrient‐rich surface soils of the FSU are highly appealing to investors. Additionally, according to the World Bank, Eastern Europe and Central Asia contain 52 million hectares of available and cultivable land, with Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine the most abundant. Still, even with this robust investment activity, one hears relatively little about land hunts in this part of the world. According to Carl Atkin of KinnAgri Limited, an international agribusiness management and consultancy firm, this is because such activities are long‐standing, strongly encouraged in local settings, and therefore less controversial. While certain smallholder groups are opposed, “they tend not to be very well‐organized, visible, or significant.” Atkin surveys investment types and the farmland investment climate across the CEEC and FSU. One group of financiers seeks real estate investments, and targets EU countries because of the legal and fiscal stability and well‐developed property rights found in these nations. The other group focuses on operational farming investment, which involves “accessing large areas of land at relatively low cost,” typically through leasing, and most often in Russia and Ukraine. Atkin is generally optimistic about investment prospects in the region. He notes that Europe is blessed with ample water resources and hence solid productivity potential. Furthermore, both the CEEC and FSU have strong infrastructure (in terms of roads and ports), and enjoy close access to markets in Europe and Asia. Atkin acknowledges investor challenges as well, especially foreign ownership restrictions (including Poland’s, which forbid foreign ownership until 2016 and are rooted in historic fears about Germans “buying up vast tracts of cheap land”). Quality management is a problem in the meat and milk sectors; many FSU states do not meet EU import standards on animal health and welfare. The global financial crisis has also presented challenges. Atkin notes that some investors are shifting away from Ukraine and other hard‐hit countries, and more toward the CEEC and South America, which are perceived as more economically stable.
Soul Searching About Soil Searching: The Stakes Atkin also offers his thoughts on the investment climate for farmland worldwide, and is largely sanguine. Investor advantages include not only the demand‐supply scenario (population growth, dietary shifts, and the thirst for biofuels collide with limited land availability, rampant water shortages, and deficiencies in agricultural technology), but also the fact that agriculture is more “recession‐proof” than the general economy. According to Atkin, this is because food expenditures are relatively inelastic, and “the fundamental production of commodities” for the very poor will be little affected by economic downturns—particularly relative to “higher‐end food services and retail.” Long‐Term Implications Such an assessment suggests that large‐scale international investment in agriculture may continue, if not intensify, in the years ahead. Such large, sustained investments over time could have major consequences not just for individual smallholders and land users, but for entire host societies and countries. Meinzen‐Dick and Markelova point out that land converted from smallholder production to plantation agriculture will not likely revert to its original users, “and within a generation farming skills may be lost.” Such land transfers therefore have “profound and long‐term implications” for the structures of rural societies. They also discuss the harmful effect large land deals could have on the “wider sociopolitical and economic context” of host countries. Granted, to this point Madagascar is the only contemporary case where a land deal has contributed to widespread political instability. However, the factors at play in many host countries—land, food insecurity, and poverty—make up a combustible mix that could easily explode into conflict. In countries—such as Pakistan—where violent, extremist anti‐government movements have mastered the ability to exploit land‐based class divisions, the risks are particularly high. Examples already abound of land deals threatening or sparking unrest. Makunike writes of protestors in Sierra Leone blocking access to a Belgian investment site. In Kenya’s Tana Delta, locals speak of being forcibly evicted to accommodate investor plans for a sugar plantation, and vow to fight back “with guns and sticks…It will be war. The day is coming.” In Uganda, people have already retaliated. In April 2011, a mob killed an Indian man while protesting an Indian investment firm’s decision to chop down a rainforest to make more space for sugarcane production. Several contributors also underscore that the long‐term risks of large‐scale land acquisitions do not apply only to host countries and investors. Montemayor contends that due to local demand, population growth, and projected climate change effects along the Mekong River, Southeast Asia on the whole—a heavily rice‐producing region—could conceivably become a net rice importer if foreign investors continue to export products they grow on local cropland. Hallam points out that third parties could be impacted by changes in global trade volume and price variability when a large food importer obtains its food outside the market.
Such observations raise larger long‐run questions: Does non‐market food production portend shocks for global market supply and consequent price rises? What could be the implications for poor food‐ importing nations (such as those in West Africa) that cannot afford to invest in agriculture abroad if supplies continue to be removed from the market and food prices once again rise precipitously? Strikingly, negotiations for land overseas have continued even after world food prices stabilized after 2008—an indication that wealthy food‐importers are willing to eschew global trade to meet food needs. One must consider how waning faith in the international food market could affect global food security prospects in the years ahead. These long‐term risks amplify the need for greater attention to and discussion about foreign land acquisitions. The world may be experiencing a land rush, but it is also caught up in a rush for information about this topic—and supply is limited. The pages that follow are meant to help reduce this shortfall.
Sales Information Ecological Restoration, Second Edition
Trim Size: 7 x 10 Pages: 275 Copyright: 2012
Principles, Values, and Structure of an Emerging Profession Andre Clewell and James Aronson ISBN
978-1-61091-167-2 $ 60.00 Paperback 978-1-61091-168-9 $ 30.00
DiscounW Island Press Short Island Press Short
Season Fall 2012 Fall 2012
Bookstore Categories SCIENCE / Environmental Science SCIENCE / Environmental Science
Andre Clewell and James Aronson., Ecological Restoration, Island Press, 2008, $30.00 pb. Copies sold: 3,124 pb.
Clewell: SER Primer on Ecological Restoration, the SER Guidelines for Managing and Developing Ecological Restoration Projects, and the SER Standards for Ecological Restoration Projects, and Guide to the Vascular Plants of the Florida Panhandle, University Press of Florida, 1988
Donald Falk et al., Foundations of Restoration Ecology, Island Press, 2006, $50.00 pb. Copies sold: 3,671 pb.
Aronson: Restoring Natural Capital: Science, Business, and Practice, Island Press, 2007, $90.00, cloth; Cork Oak Woodlands on the Edge, Island Press, 2009, $45.00 pb.
Sales Handle A completely revised and updated edition of the definitive guide to this rapidly growing discipline
What is this book about? The field of ecological restoration is a rapidly growing discipline that encompasses a wide range of activities and brings together practitioners and theoreticians from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, ranging from backyard volunteers to highly trained academic scientists and professional consultants. The first edition of this book, written principally for restoration practitioners, is considered one of the most important books in the field. The second edition will retain the authors' lively, personal style to discuss scientific as well as practical aspects of the field. The second edition strengthens the book's usefulness for university students who are preparing for careers as restoration practitioners or scientists and more directly relevant for those concerned with the development of restoration policy and the administration of restoration projects. It continues to emphasize the human needs and values that motivate practitioner, laying out the arguments intended to persuade governments and international agencies to increase their investments in ecological restoration.
Selling Points —The authors, pioneers in the field of restoration; have written a completely updated and expanded version of a classic book. —The authors tackle many controversies in the field head-on, affording the book a timeliness that is unique in the literature. —The new edition contains entirely new “Virtual Field Trips,” which are popular with both readers and professors.
Table of Contents
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Dedication (new) Preface by Pavan Sukhdev Introduction PART I. WHY WE RESTORE Intro PART I Chapter
2 Values and Restoration
3 Ecological Impairment
PART II. WHAT WE RESTORE Intro PART II Chapter
4 Ecological Recovery
5 Ecological Attributes of Restored Ecosystems
6 Cultural Ecosystems and Landscape Restoration
PART III. HOW WE RESTORE Intro PART III Chapter
7 Reference Models
8 Approaches to Restoration
9 Project Planning and Evaluation
PART IV. ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION AS A PROFESSION Intro PART IV Chapter 10
Relationship of Restoration to Related Activities
Projects and the Professional
Ways of Perceiving
Getting There from Here
Afterword by Paddy Woodworth Glossary References Cited About the Authors and Collaborators Index Virtual Field Trips (to be inserted in the Table of Contents later)
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Introduction In this book we attempt to provide a comprehensive and coherent account of the field of ecological restoration as an applied science and technology. We wrote it with those individuals in mind who initiate, finance, design, administer, issue government permits for, manage, and particularly implement ecological restoration projects, and all those who serve in supportive roles, such as growers who provide nursery stock, ecologists who monitor and evaluate completed projects, and journalist who describe restoration projects to the public. We include discussions of topics germane to restoration ecology, which is the science that provides the theoretical underpinning for ecological restoration. This is not a book on ecology per se; instead, it provides a firm grounding in the scientific principles on which restoration practice depends. In addition, it examines in depth the socioeconomic and cultural contexts of ecological restoration, and the relationship of ecological restoration to other fields of natural resource management and conservation. Finally, we wrote this book for students who are considering careers in ecological restoration, so they can develop an understanding and appreciation of the challenges and professional satisfaction that it will bring to them. We hope to count among our readers public policy makers and business leaders whose decisions impinge on restoration programs, environmental philosophers, and writers with a bent for environmental issues and who have noticed the rapid increase in public interest in ecological restoration in recent years. We want to reach this diverse audience because their understanding of restoration is crucially important for our field to realize its full potential. Indeed, ecological restoration is emerging as a meeting ground for many different fields and interest groups in all strata of society and in all cultures around the world. A common understanding of its precepts and its practice is essential for effective dialogue and collaboration, and we attempt to facilitate that understanding in this book. Those who are familiar with the first edition of this book (Clewell & Aronson 2007) will find that this, the second edition, has been revised and reorganized from top to bottom. The impetus for revision was to improve what reviewers had already proclaimed to be a successful book and to update it with the current information in this rapidly developing discipline. We solicited additional review comments and
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incorporated suggestions as best we could. Our insertion of case histories of restoration projects by those practitioners who conducted them, which we called Virtual Field Trips, was highly popular in the first edition. We replaced those Virtual Field Trips but with a fewer number in this book, so as to focus on the message that we developed in the chapters. The several that we included are woven as examples into the chapters. This edition lacks the appendix in the first edition, which was a verbatim copy of a foundation document of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) entitled Guidelines for Developing and Managing Ecological Restoration Projects. That document is available on SER’s web page (www.ser.org), and it was important to include it in the first edition, because it had not been published previously in hard copy. The first edition was written in large part as an elabo ation of another foundation document, The SER Primer on Ecological Restoration (SER 2002). We continue to refer to the SER Primer extensively, but this edition is more of a stand-alone volume than was the first edition. We note that both foundation documents – the Guidelines and the Primer - are scheduled for revision in the near future. Revisions of both r documents stand to benefit from insights we present in the present volume, just as the first edition of this book reflected the content of those documents. We prepared a glossary of the perplexing array of terms that apply to an understanding of ecological restoration and its theoretical and technical underpinnings. Definitions are tailored to the way we use these terms in this book. For the most part, we used the same definitions as in the first edition; however, we added more terms and updated others, relying primarily on definitions in TEEB Foundations (2010) and van Andel & Aronson (2012). Layout of Sections and Chapters The book is not a “how-to” manual that instructs the reader in particular tactics and methods for performing ecological restoration at a given project site, although some are included. Instead, it attempts to cover all of the other topics relevant to restoration practice. The book consists of 13 chapters, arranged in four parts. Part I, entitled Why We Restore begins with an overview of the entire field of ecological restoration, what it means to civilization, and explanations of important principles that
Y2 â€“ Introduction
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recur throughout the book. Next, we address the global issue of ecosystem impairment and the unique role of ecological restoration in their recovery. The section ends with a discussion of the personal, cultural, socioeconomic, and ecological values that are fulfilled by ecological restoration, including a model for the coherent organization of these values. Part II, entitled What We Restore examines the complex topic of what ecological recovery means and how it is accomplished. Both direct and indirect ecological attributes are described. The controversial topic of the restoration of cultural ecosystems is thoroughly treated. Part III, entitled How We Restore addresses the essential topic of reference systems and reference models, which inform almost every aspect of restoration planning. Strategic approaches to ecological restoration are examined, including the factors that determine the intensity of effort needed to complete a restoration project. The necessary steps that are common to every ecological restoration project are enumerated, starting with the initial conceptualization of a project and ending with the publication of its case history. Stakeholder involvement is a recurring theme throughout these steps. Part IV, entitled Ecological Restoration as a Profession examines the relationship of the field to other disciplines including landscape restoration and the restoration of natural capital (RNC). The section continues on the topics of professional training and certification; the ways that restorationists and other professional perceive the discipline of ecological restoration; and current issues for which ecological restoration has relevance, such as global warming. We call attention to the Preface, written by Pavan Sukhdev, former Study Leader of the TEEB project, (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity; http://www.teebweb.org/) a new and important initiative of the United Nations, in which ecological restoration will be playing an important role. We also spotlight the Afterward, an essay by the Irish journalist and author, Paddy Woodworth, who has written extensively on ecological restoration for general audience around the world.
Y2 â€“ Introduction
21 February 2012
Both Sukhdev and Woodworth offer their perspectives on the current state of the emerging profession of ecological restoration and indicate how the present volume contributes to it. How to Use This Book Different readers will want different kinds of information from this book. Many will want to read it in sequence. Others may want to read the Virtual Field Trips first as general background before tackling the text--a bit like reading the comics before the editorial page of a newspaper. In fact, the book is organized like a newspaper article, with the topics of most interest to most readers addressed in the first several chapters. Later chapters are more specialized and may mean more to those who are already experienced restorationists. Most chapters are more-or-less independent essays and can be read in any order, particularly by those with experience in the field. We advise those who do so to speed-read previous chapters first to grasp our context. We wrote this book to solidify definitions, clarify concepts, illuminate current trends, encourage interdisciplinary alliances, and stimulate our readership into developing new visions. We recognize that this book is only a temporal contribution to a rapidly developing, discipline. We trust that our writings will contribute to a global dialogue that pushes ecological restoration forward, in synergy with the related activities of ecological engineering, ecological economics, and sustainability science. We are ready to participate in this dialogue, and to that end we invite your emails, addressed to us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sales Information Good Urbanism
Trim Size: 8 x 9 Pages: 224 Copyright: 2012
Six Steps to Creating Prosperous Places Nan Ellin ISBN Hardcover
978-1-61091-364-5 $ 70.00
Island Press Short
Paperback 978-1-61091-374-4 $ 35.00
Island Press Short
Bookstore Categories ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning
Palazzo/Steiner, Urban Ecological Design, Island Press, 2011, $35 pb.
Integral Urbanism, Routledge, 2006, $39.95 pb.
Jan Gehl, Cities for People, Island Press, 2011, $49.95 hc. Urban Design Associates, The Urban Design Handbook, Norton, 2003, $49.95 pb.
Phoenix: 21st Century City, Booth-Cliborn, 2006, $29.95 pb. Edward Booth-Clibborn (co-author), Postmodern Urbanism, Princeton Arch Press, 1999, $489.95 hc.
Duany/Speck, The Smart Growth Manual, McGraw-Hill, 2009, $24.95 pb.
Sales Handle How to realize a livable urban future
What is this book about? We all have a natural nesting instinct—we know what makes a good place. And a consensus has developed among urban planners and designers about the essential components of healthy, prosperous communities. So why aren’t these ideals being put into practice? In Good Urbanism, Nan Ellin identifies the obstacles to creating thriving environments, and presents a six-step process to overcome them: prospect, polish, propose, prototype, promote, present. She argues that we need to reach beyond conventional planning to cultivate good ideas and leverage the resources to realize them. Ellin illustrates the process with fifteen exemplary projects, from Envision Utah to Open Space Seattle. Each case study shows how to pair vision with practicality, drawing on our best natural instincts and new planning tools. For planners, urban designers, community developers, and students of these fields, Ellin’s innovative approach offers an inspired, yet concrete path to building good places.
Selling Points — The theories presented in the well-reviewed Integral Urbanism are expanded upon and applied to real projects. — Offers a six-step process for achieving good urbanism clearly applied within case studies by use of process icons. — Nan Ellin is a seasoned author who is well recognized in academic and professional circles.
Table of Contents Acknowledgements 1. 2. 3.
Introduction Urban Desiderata: A Path toward Prosperity The Tao of Urbanism: Rendering the Latent Manifest and the Possible Inevitable Case Studies: The High Line, Canalscape
4. Co-Creation: From Egosystem to Ecosystem Case Studies: Civic Center, Envision Utah, BIMStorm and Onuma System 5.
Going with the Flow: The New Design with Nature Case Studies: Open Space Seattle 2100, The CEDAR Approach, University of Arkansas Community Design Center
The Art of Urbanism: A Practice Primer
Case Studies: Sunrise Park, , Groundwork 7. From Good to Great Urbanism: Beyond Sustainability to Prosperity 8. Sideways Urbanism: Rotating the Pyramid 9.
Appendix A: Themes/Features of Good Urbanism and Case Study Themes Appendix B: Good Urbanism Is . . . Endnotes References
1. Introduction A house I once lived in came with a potted grape ivy. I watered the plant regularly but oddly, it never grew. It didnâ€™t die, but during the two years I lived there, it never changed shape nor sprouted a leaf. Leaving this grape ivy behind for the next inhabitants, it became emblematic for me of so many places that, while they may be surviving, are clearly not thriving.
For most of human history, we built habitats that supported us more than they challenged us. As industrialization began shifting the scale and logic of urbanization, however, we veered off course and became the only species to build habitats that are not sustainable. Over the last several decades, we have been making concerted efforts to get back on course and construct places that support humanity more optimally, places that sustain us, rather than strain us.
Thanks to these efforts, there is now a virtual consensus among planners and urban designers about what constitutes good urbanism 1. This consensus holds that networks of quality public spaces should be lined with and punctuated by vital hubs of activity. Stated inversely, urban regions should be comprised of mixed-use cores (large hubs and smaller nodes) connected by corridors of transit, automobile, and bicycle routes as well as other quality public spaces to ensure walkability2. These public spaces include outdoor places â€“ for circulation, recreation, and preservation of natural landscapes â€“ as well as indoor cultural institutions and gathering places 3. Good urbanism honors the past by preserving historic fabrics and adaptively reusing existing structures. It also honors the future by
celebrating creativity through supporting new and innovative architecture, public art, and entrepreneurship at all scales. Good urbanism offers a full spectrum of housing options, accommodating a wide range of household types and income levels, comprising a diverse community that is actively engaged in shaping and managing its future.
Key to good urbanism is the connective tissue: infrastructure, public space, and community engagement. Whether retrofitted or new, for practical purposes or pleasure, infrastructure is integrated with public spaces and both are multipurpose, technologically advanced, attractive, and harmonious with natural and cultural settings4. Communitybuilding and engagement occur spontaneously in the quality public space as well as more deliberatively through interesting and fun initiatives sponsored by municipal organizations, community groups, or businesses 5. In sum, good urbanism is vital, vibrant, safe, comfortable, legible, accessible, equitable, efficient, elegant, convenient, walkable, sustainable, beautiful, distinctive, and dynamic 6.
While there are numerous iterations with a range of foci, most recommendations converge on these principles. Along with this knowledge of the component parts of good urbanism, we also have the will, the tools, and the resources to achieve these desired ends. Nevertheless, their actual delivery remains challenging and all too rare. Good urbanism still eludes in far too many instances, hence the continued proliferation of prescriptions for healing ailing places.
We know where we want to go, but cannot reliably get there. Why not? 7 With the intensified division of labor regarding the built environment over the last century, it can be difficult to identify the sources of dissatisfaction with our places and thereby address them. For example, in search of authenticity and identity, jurisdictions and institutions sometimes turn to branders, usually from another city or even country, who ironically tend to stamp similar marks of “identity” (brands) wherever they go. In search of distinction and status, “starchitects” may be commissioned who typically have priorities other than serving the greater good. In search of vitality, made-to-order “lifestyle centers” are dropped onto greenfield sites. Stakeholder meetings are convened to obtain buy-in, rather than feedback. And so on.
Having lost our compass, the quest to improve places for all people is too often estranged from the places and communities themselves. Consequently, an untold number of excellent proposals are never realized or unfortunately compromised, while many suboptimal ones are. As a result, valuable resources (human, economic, political, and environmental) are squandered and our towns, cities, and regions suffer the consequences.
We have, to some extent, buried our instinctual capacity to create habitats that support us most fully, places in which we may thrive. This book asks what exactly has been lost and describes a path for uncovering this buried urban instinct, dusting it off, and updating it to serve us today8.
Anyone can walk this path, professionals in the field of urbanism - planners, urban designers, architects, or landscape architects - and others alike. The only precondition for stepping onto the path is a willingness to let it take us someplace weâ€™ve never been before. In other words, a prerequisite for good urbanism is knowing what (or that) we donâ€™t know. The job of the professional urbanist includes directing people toward the path and serving as guide along the way.
The next chapter, Urban Desiderata (2), clears the way toward this new territory by describing six steps along the path to better places, focusing especially on personal prospecting. The Tao of Urbanism (Chapter 3) explains how the path renders the latent manifest and the possible inevitable by building upon personal and collective assets to build upon the strengths of places. The fourth chapter, Co-Creation (4), delves more deeply into collective and place prospecting. Going with the Flow (Chapter 5) describes how to polish the gemstones mined during personal, collective, and place prospecting and how to craft transformative place proposals through urban acupuncture, the five qualities of integral urbanism, and learning from ecosystems. Chapter 6, The Art of Urbanism, offers a handy guide for following the six steps along the path, as well as recommendations for effectively communicating place proposals and recovering our urban instinct. The seventh chapter, From Good to Great Urbanism, limns the contours of an emergent paradigm, moving beyond sustainability to prosperity. Sideways Urbanism (Chapter 8) demonstrates how this new paradigm operates in a way that is neither topdown nor bottom up, but sideways. The concluding section (Chapter 9) provides an overview of what it takes to be a good urbanist.
Case studies at the end of Chapters 2-6, drawn primarily from the US, illustrate various aspects of good urbanism in practice. Learning from these examples and others, this book sets forth a process for imagining best possibilities and realizing them, with suggestions for navigating potential blind spots and potholes along the way. It instructs, incites, and inspires all to enhance the health and well-being of places and communities. It also contributes to the efficacy and relevance of the professions dedicated to these goals by adding a few essential items to the planning and urban design toolkits.
The pair of eyes in the title evokes the two types of vision that are key to good urbanism: seeing the present and past clearly while envisioning better futures. The wink is a reminder to planners, urban designers, architects, and landscape architects that good urbanism is the goal of our endeavors, not joining or starting a camp and competing against others for supremacy. The wink also refers to the ensō embedded in “Good,” a Japanese symbol for strength and elegance. In Zen Buddhism, the ensō expresses the moment when the mind is free to let the body and spirit create, an opening that reveals a connection with something larger and an opportunity to participate in the co-creation of an always incomplete and imperfect world. The child-like rendering of the Good conveys the inherent simplicity and authenticity of this approach.
Research undertaken by Zeynep Toker and Henrik Minassians (2011) draws a similar
Sales Information Reshaping Metropolitan America
Trim Size: 6 x 9 Pages: 200 Copyright: 2012
Development Trends and Opportunities to 2030 Arthur Nelson ISBN Hardcover
978-1-61091-019-4 $ 70.00
Island Press Short
Paperback 978-1-61091-033-0 $ 35.00
Island Press Short
Bookstore Categories ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning
Siegel, Applied Demography, Academic Press, 2001, $113.00 hb.
Arthur C. Nelson and Robert E. Lang, The New Politics of State Planning, Urban Land Institute, 2009.
Cities Transformed, National Academies Press, 2003, $59.00 hb.
Arthur C. Nelson, John Randolph, Joseph Schilling, Jonathan Logan, James McElfish, and Newport Partners, 2008. Environmental Regulations and Housing Costs, Island Press, 2009, $44.00 pb.
Sales Handle Data and analysis to direct growth towards more sustainable, livable communities
What is this book about? Nearly half the buildings that will be standing in 2030 do not exist today. That means we have a tremendous opportunity to reinvent our urban areas, making them more sustainable and livable for future generations. But for this vision to become reality, the planning community needs reliable data about emerging development trends. The challenge for leaders is to create the right market, land use, and other regulatory climates to accommodate new growth in more sustainable ways. In this book, Arthur C. Nelson delivers an invaluable statistics about changes in population, jobs, housing, nonresidential space, and other key factors to planners, designers, and policy makers who will lead the transformation. He shows the benefits of reshaping America in ways that meet emerging market demands, and then outlines a policy agenda to do so. Reshaping Metropolitan America does not simply make predictions; it shows that Americans want better communities, what the benefits are, and how to get there.
Selling Points â€” Chris Nelson's original report about specific development trends, published by the Brookings Institution, garnered a significant amount of attention when it was published in 2006. â€” The book will incorporate significant updates and enhancements to the original report, including an original chapter on the Greenfield Development Index, which assigns a ratio to every county, micro, metro, state, etc.
Foreword by Congressman Earl Blumenauer Introduction Chapter 1: Major Market Trends 2010-2030 Chapter 2: What Americans Want Chapter 3: Trends in Population, Housing, and Development Chapter 4: The Reshape Opportunity Index (ROI) Chapter 5: Welcome to the New American Dream References and Selected Bibliography Endnotes
The Baby Boom of the mid- twentieth century combined with unprecedented home financing inventions, massive infrastructure investments, and anti-urban policies fueled American-style suburban sprawl for half a century. America became a Suburban Nation (Duany, Plater-Zyberk and Speck 2001). For tens of millions of households the “American Dream” was seen as owning a detached home on a large lot far away from, well, everything. By 2010, more than half of America’s homes sat on more than one-sixth of an acre and over 70 percent were detached. Fastforward to the twenty-first century and we see monumental shifts in where and how people want to live fueled by Boomers (born 1946-1964) and Gen-Y (born 1980-1999) who together drive more than two-thirds of the nation’s housing demand. And they are demanding something different.
When confronted with choices between large homes on large lots with long commutes and small homes on small lots with short commutes, a poll commissioned by the National Association of Realtors found that fully 60 percent Americans now want the latter option (Belden, Russonello and Stewart 2011) – with most of the demand coming from Baby Boom and Gen-Y households. Another survey indicates that the ideal home size is over 3,200 square feet for only nine percent of Americans surveyed compared to a third who say their ideal size is less than 2,000 feet (Trulia-Harris Interactive Survey 2010).
That same survey shows that about 39 percent of American households want attached housing options (apartments, condominiums, cooperatives, townhouses, multi-plexes), about 37 percent
want small-lot options (not necessarily small homes) while just 24 percent want large-lot options.1 In contrast, the American Housing Survey shows that only 28 percent of the nation’s occupied housing units are attached, 20 percent (smaller than one-sixth acre) to 30 percent (smaller than one-quarter acre) are small lots, while 42 percent to 52 percent of all such units sit on large lots. 2
These surveys show further that about half of Americans want to live in walkable communities with mixed housing and other mixed uses; they also want to be able to walk to grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants and the like – we might call these “smart growth” communities (Belden, Russonello and Stewart 2011; see also Handy et al. 2008). Box 1.1 illustrates the difference between “smart growth” and “sprawl” options respondents were confronted with.
[Box 1.1 here]
We also know from surveys that about half of all Americans want transit options (Handy et al. 2008). In addition, about a quarter of Americans want the option of walking or biking to work, as well as for errands (Handy et al. 2008). But will they “walk the walk” when given the opportunity? It turns out that when people live within a mile of work nearly 40 percent walked or biked to work in 2009 – up from 25 percent as recently as 1995. When people live or work within a mile of errands, more than 40 percent walked or biked for this purpose – up from 26 percent in 1995.3 If we could provide all Americans who want the opportunity to walk or bike to work and for errands and by implication provide them with the housing opportunities they prefer, greenhouse gas emissions may be reduced substantially.
The benefits of meeting emerging market demands are considerable. Environmental benefits include lower carbon emissions and reduced dependence on fossil fuels; protection of open space thUough lower rates of greenfield development; the opportunity to achieve energy conservation through locally distributed energy systems; and increased human health from walking/biking/transit options along with lower emissions. Economic benefits include stimulating private investment in areas that will generate more economic return through economic synergies, which will in turn increase jobs and wages; increased property values and in turn more stabilized values over time as areas become more resilient to economic downturns; fiscal resilience as local economies become less reliant in unsustainable single-use, low-density urban forms; and “green” jobs that require less energy and produce less pollution per job than the current average. There are also social benefits that include greater opportunity for social engagement; the potential to provide affordable housing by minimizing transportation costs; and improving the accessibility of low income households to economic opportunity and services.
In this book I explain why I believe that between 2010 and 2030 most of America’s nonresidential space will be replaced either through demolition and reconstruction, or repurposing through renovation and rehabilitation. Combined with changing preferences for housing types and accessibility options, there is an opportunity to reshape America’s commercial corridors and centers from mostly low-intensity, single-purpose urban forms to higher-intensity mixed-use ones that will help to house the next 65 million Americans between 2010 and 2030, and respond to changing market preferences. Will developers and planners take advantage of this opportunity? Only if accommodating market trends is facilitated through a range of federal, state
and local policy initiatives. Indeed, virtually all the demand for new development between 2010 and 2030 can be met by redeveloping existing commercial corridors and centers, including the parking lots that dominate those spaces.
This book offers a scenario for how Americaâ€™s built environment will change between 2010 and 2030, and beyond. The particular time period is chosen for the simple reason that between 2011 and 2029 Americaâ€™s Baby Boom generation will have turned 65. Between 2010 and 2030, the share of the population over 65 will increase from 13 percent to 20 percent, and will remain about 20 percent thereafter.
Among the many changes to occur will be in the kind of housing and communities Americans will chose to live in. To about 90 percent of Americans, the American Dream4 includes owning their own home.5 Moreover, given a choice among types of homes, about 80 percent of Americans would prefer to live in a single family detached home.6 But when confronted with changes that will sweep across America to 2030, millions of Americans may choose differently.
Understanding how we can get from where we are now to where market trends are headed is the purpose of Reshaping Metropolitan America: Trends and Opportunities to 2030. This book will be a resource to planners, engineers, developers, policymakers, and others whose job is to shape the built environment.
Reshaping Metropolitan America begins by identifying key market trends that will reshape the housing market especially between 2010 and 2030 such as rising energy prices, stagnating
incomes, shifting wealth, more rigorous home purchase underwriting standards, and demographic changes, and summarizes preference surveys to show how current and emerging market preferences are shifting to more compact locations with shorter commutes and more community amenities such as the ability to walk to local places. I will show a very large mismatch between what it is people say they want in surveys for different housing types and what the actual supply is.
The demographic trends chapter starts with an assessment of how America’s population will be changing in dramatic ways, from getting older as the Baby Boom generation turn 65 between 2011 and 2029, to becoming increasingly dependent on a smaller share of people in the labor force (aged 18 to 65), not to mention much more ethnically and racially diverse. It proceeds to assess characteristics of households showing, among other things, that only 11 percent of the growth in households between 2010 and 2030 will have children living in them and thus 90 percent will not (because the children have already been raised, have yet to be raised, or in some cases will never be present in a household), and more than third of the growth in households to 2030 will comprised of single persons. In addition, America’s future households may not have as much wealth as prior generations.
Population and household shifts will drive the housing market to 2030 and beyond in stunning ways. For one thing, I will show that America’s thirst for single family detached units on large lots was driven by the Baby Boomers who began having families, needed more housing space, and could afford homes between the 1980s through the 2000s. Going forward, there may not be enough Gen-Y households available to occupy Boomers’ housing as they age and move on. In
any event, where the demand for detached homes on large lots hit is zenith at about 70 percent in 1990s and 2000s, it will comprise perhaps just 10 percent of the demand between 2010 and 2030.
For another, rental housing will account for half or more of all new housing demand nationally, and considerably more in hundreds of metropolitan areas. Stagnating household incomes combined with tightened mortgage underwriting, and simply demographic changes will shift tenure choices for millions of households. But there are two other things happening: prospective homebuyers are leery of buying a home anywhere, given lessons of the housing crash during the Great Recession; and both Gen-Y and Boomer households will want to live in more accessible locations with services and jobs nearby, and different ways to get around.
The demographic chapter also assesses the kinds of jobs that occupy space , estimates the new space needed to serve those jobs and, most important, estimates that, nationally, more than half the volume of space existing in 2010 that may be replaced, renovated or in other ways repurposed for more intensive and/or different functions between 2010 and 2030. Because the largest share of existing space sits on vast seas of parking lots, I create a Repurposing Opportunity Index (ROI) showing that, for most of America, all new growth could be accommodated along existing low-intensity commercial corridors and nodes. These corridors may not now have transit services but with modest increases in jobs and housing – consistent with emerging market trends – these corridors and nodes can move from being “transit ready” to “transit served”.
Reshaping America concludes with a look at what would happen if all new development occurred in existing developed areas, especially along commercial corridors and nodes. The evidence suggests that, compared to having that development sprawl farther out, benefits would include $4 trillion or more in ecosystem service values retained, lower unemployment and higher wages, more resilient local fiscal structures, and more social benefits. A glimpse at what a reshaped Americaâ€”the new American Dream----looks at and how we get there completes the book.
Reshaping Metropolitan America is not about thwarting the option to live in homes on large lots away from centers; indeed those options may be more plentiful than ever before and at affordable prices (when housing price is separated from transportation costs). It is rather about expanding choices for the one-third to one-half of Americans who do not want single family detached homes on large lots isolated from services, jobs, and people. Those Americans want walkable communities and the ability to walk or bike to work or for errands. Yet, even if all new housing and nonresidential development built between 2010 and 2030 were in locations that onethird to one-half of Americans preferred, the market demand would still not be met, but America and its metropolitan areas would be better off nonetheless.
Sales Information Forgotten Grasslands of the South
Trim Size: 7 x 10 Pages: 320 Copyright: 2012
Natural History and Conservation Reed Noss ISBN
978-1-59726-488-4 $ 70.00 Paperback 978-1-59726-489-1 $ 35.00
DiscounW Island Press Short Island Press Short
Season Fall 2012 Fall 2012
Bookstore Categories NATURE / Ecology NATURE / Ecology
There are no directly comparative titles; books with some thematic overlap include:
Reed Noss and Allen Cooperrider, Saving Nature's Legacy: Protecting And Restoring Biodiversity, Island Press, 1994, $42.50 hc.
R.C. Anderson, J.S. Fralish, and J. Baskin, eds., The Savanna, Barren, and Rock Outcrop Communities of North America, Cambridge University Press, 1999, $95.00 pb. Whitney, D.B. Means, and A. Rudloe , Priceless Florida: Natural Ecosystems and Native Species, Pineapple Press, 2004, $29.95 pb.
Reed Noss, Michael O’Connell, and Dennis Murphy, The Science of Conservation Planning: Habitat Conservation Under The Endangered Species Act, Island Press, 1997, $35.00 pb. Reed Noss, Ed., The Redwood Forest: History, Ecology, and Conservation of the Coast Redwoods, Island press, 2000, $35.00 pb.
Sales Handle A beautifully written, scientific study of a neglected, biologically rich, and endangered ecosystem
What is this book about? Forgotten Grasslands of the South is the study of one of the biologically richest and most endangered ecosystems in North America. In a seamless blend of science and personal observation, renowned ecologist Reed Noss explains the natural history of southern grasslands, their origin and history, and the physical determinants of grassland distribution, including ecology, soils, landform, and hydrology. These grasslands span Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, eastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, and southern Missouri. In addition to offering fascinating new information about these little-studied ecosystems, Noss demonstrates how natural history is central to the practice of conservation. Although theory and experimentation have recently dominated the field of ecology, ecologists are coming to realize how these distinct approaches are not divergent but complementary. This long-awaited work sets a new standard for scientific literature and is essential reading for those who study and work to conserve the grasslands of the South.
Selling Points — Reed Noss is a passionate narrator and eloquent writer, who brings scientific insight, literary talent, and near cult-status within the larger conservation biology community. — The first book to offer a comprehensive look at the natural and human history, ecology, distribution, and conservation of Southern grasslands — The book’s unifying theme—the critical role of ecological processes in healthy landscapes—is becoming more and more significant to the conservation biology community.
Contents Foreword Preface and Acknowledgments Chapter 1: Natural History of a Forgotten American Grassland Natural History for Conservation Grasslands in the South? What and Where are Southern Grasslands? The Grasslands Considered in this Book Joshua Creek References Chapter 2: Origin and History A General Model for the Origin and Maintenance of Southern Grasslands Geology, Physiography, and Pre-Neogene History Neogene and Quaternary History Disjunctions and the Gulf Coastal Corridor Human History in the South, as It Relates to Grasslands Mills Creek References Chapter 3: Biological Hotspots and Endangered Ecosystems Discovering Lost Worlds Endemism Centers of Endemism in the South Peripherals and Disjuncts Species Richness
Species Richness in Southern Grasslands People Care About Diversity, Endemism, and Disjunctions The Decline of Southern Grasslands References Chapter 4: Physical Factors: Rock, Soil, Landform, Water, and Wind The Purpose of My Journeys Rock, Soil, and Landform Water Wind, Storms, and Sea-Level Rise References Chapter 5: Fire, Big Animals, and Interactions Bottom-up, Top-down, and Sideways Fire Herbivores Interaction of Fire and Hydrology The Enigmatic Canebrakes References Chapter 6. The Future of Southern Grasslands: Outline of a Strategy A Conservation Strategy for Southern Grasslands Examples of Restoration Projects The Future? Species List Literature Cited
Reed Nossâ€™ excellent book took me home to the rich ecosystems to which I was imprinted as a young naturalist. The grasslands of the South, and in particular the Southeast, encompass a diversity of open habitats that beggar the more familiar iconic grasslands of the Great Plains. They are also far richer in species of plants and animals. In fact, acre by acre the Southern Grassland Biome, when it is properly defined to include the longleaf pine savanna and its intermittent hardwood bottomlands, is probably the richest terrestrial biome in all of North America. It is not unusual to find more than 200 species of herbaceous plants per acre in the ground flora of the longleaf savanna, and the pitcher-plant bogs, with as many as 50 species of thin-stemmed and crowded herbaceous species per square meter, possibly holds the record for small-scale biodiversity in the world. In addition, more species of amphibians and reptiles occur in the Southern Grassland Biome than any other region of North America. The central Gulf Coast region, if we include the rivers and streams, have per unit area the largest number of turtle species in the world. The South is also one of the least explored major areas of North America. Although the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is largely forested, a tally of the biodiversity by its ongoing All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) gives a hint of what awaits when similar intensive studies are conducted elsewhere in the South: 60,000â€“80,000 species of plants and animals estimated to be present, of which to date 3000 are new records for the Park and over 900 are entirely new to science. Around the world, grasslands, savannas, and dry tropical forests are the most rapidly disappearing major habitats, their loss due chiefly to the ease with which they are converted into
agricultural fields and rangelands. The American South is no exception. The longleaf pine savanna, which once covered 60 percent of the South, has been almost entirely cut over for timber extraction. Fortunately, the ground flora, where not replaced by cultivation (including tree farms), is for the most part intact. To understand, cherish, and preserve the great natural heritage of the Southern Grassland Biome should be a priority goal in Americaâ€™s environmental movement. Reed Nossâ€™ book provides a valuable map to that end. Edward O. Wilson Harvard University
Chapter 1: Natural History of a Forgotten American Grassland We left the magnificent savanna and its delightful groves, passing through a level, open, airy pine forest, the stately trees scatteringly planted by nature, arising straight and erect from the green carpet, embellished with various grasses and flowering plants. William Bartram (1774, near present-day Gainesville, Florida)
Taking a break from after-dinner email, I stroll into the family room, glass of cabernet in hand, to find my family watching the Discovery Channel on TV. I almost never watch television, so I do not know what to expect when I encounter one of these strange machines. This time I see a view from a low-flying aircraft of a beautiful green prairie landscape somewhere in the Great Plains of North America. The low undulating hills and soft, waving grass roll into the distant horizon. It is an inviting and comforting sight, a verdant scene once common in the center of our continent but now hard to find due to conversion of millions of acres of prairie to agriculture. The narrator, a well-known actress who, my daughter informs me, has battled aliens in movies, repeats a well-worn refrain: “Grasslands occur where there is too much rain for desert, but not enough rain to support forest.” I hurry back to my computer to capture that quote, which can be found in various forms in countless textbooks. In a 1991 book series on ecosystems of the world, R.T. Coupland states that grasslands “occur along a climatic gradient between desert and forest…” A textbook of biogeography by Mark Lomolino and coauthors declares: “temperate grasslands are situated both geographically and climatically between the deserts and the temperate forests” (Fig. 1-1). 1
These statements epitomize the paradox of grasslands in the rainy southeastern United States: few people, even ecologists, know they exist or expect them to be here. The South has more than enough rain to support forest. Whether a particular landscape in the South supports forest or grassland depends on factors other than precipitation – especially fire, but also soils, herbivores, and other influences. Ecologists describe this phenomenon as ‘alternative stable states.’ Grassland was a common or dominant alternative state across much of the South, but that fact has been largely forgotten. When educated people in North America hear the terms grassland or prairie, most of them visualize the Great Plains – the scene I saw on television. Here, grassland dominated a vast region or biome. Grassland is the largest of the four major biomes on earth and the largest in North America, covering some 300 million hectares (ca. 750 million acres) before European settlement. (Note: I use English units in this book for the benefit of the general reader, but provide conversions from metric to English, as appropriate, where metric units are used in original sources.) The grassland biome (including savannas, which are grasslands with scattered trees) covers more than 40% of the land surface of the Earth and is inhabited by more people than any other biome. The climate of the ‘South’ (Fig. 1-2) varies greatly with latitude, longitude, and elevation, but none of it matches the traditional description of the grassland biome. Whereas most of the grassland biome of North America receives well under 40 inches of rain per year, the South gets about 48 to 80 inches. The climate, except at high elevations, is humid temperate to warmtemperate from the Ohio Valley south to approximately the northern Florida Peninsula and Gulf
of Mexico. Florida has a steep climatic gradient, with average temperature increasing rapidly with decreasing latitude. Northern Florida experiences regular freezes in winter; freezes decline sharply in frequency southward. South Florida is protected by the Gulf Stream, which originates as warm water from the tropical North Atlantic. Many biogeographic classifications designate South Florida as tropical, consistent with the dominance of South Florida (especially the Keys) by Antillean species. The climatic and physiographic diversity of the South partially explains the high species richness found in southern grasslands, but there is much more to it than that, as this book will explore.
Natural History for Conservation This book is about grasslands of the South, but it explores a bigger topic: how knowledge and practice of natural history is essential to the conservation of biological diversity. The logic is straightforward: to conserve wild living things and their habitats, we must know them and understand how they live and interact. Recognizing a species by name is essential to learning more; hence, it is deplorable that training in taxonomy is plummeting. Consider this example: Antje Ahrends and coauthors, in a paper called â€œConservation and the botanist effect,â€? show through a study of plant records from Tanzania that botanists with proper training in plant identification record more species (20 more species per 250 specimens) and more endemics (narrowly distributed species) and other taxa of conservation concern than botanists with inferior taxonomic skills. Poor training in natural history inevitably leads to second-rate conservation.
Natural history in the broad sense is not just identifying and naming things; it incorporates and intertwines biogeography, ecology, evolutionary biology, anatomy, physiology, taxonomy, systematics, paleontology, environmental history, geography, anthropology, archaeology, and other subjects, but with a focus on whole organisms and communities. What distinguishes natural history from most of current academic science is not just its acceptance of observation as a complement to experimentation, its rejection of extreme reductionism and hyper-specialization, or that much of it must be learned outdoors. More essentially, natural history insists on intimate familiarity with some aspect of biological diversity. A naturalist can be a generalist (familiar with many groups of organisms or types of ecosystems) or a specialist (highly knowledgeable about one or a few groups or places) – we need both. Perhaps the ideal naturalist has broad knowledge complemented by specialized expertise on a particular taxonomic group or subject. The great ant biologist, all-round naturalist, and living legend Ed Wilson comes to mind, as does the generalist Charles Darwin with his special interest in barnacles, orchids, and earthworms, among other groups. A modern tragedy is that we are losing naturalists as the old ones die off or retire and few new recruits are trained or hired. Schools and universities are eliminating field trips and field-based courses. At the same time – and the two trends are connected – major conservation organizations have shifted away from natural history and even from protecting biodiversity as a primary goal. Instead, they have moved into the vaguely-defined territory of ‘ecosystem services,’ where nature is valued for its functional and economic services to human society, not for its beauty, fascinating peculiarities, or inherent dignity. This trend worries me, because a society that values nature only for its blunt utilitarian worth is not likely to care much about the 4
extinction of species or the loss and degradation of natural communities that offer no tangible services. As extinction rates increase, so does the urgency of restoring natural history to its rightful place in science and conservation â€“ at least on a par with concern for ecosystem services. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are complementary and should not be placed in competition with each other on the conservation agenda. Beyond its importance for conservation, natural history provides a way for people to feel at home. Nothing alarms me more than someone who has no clue about what watershed she lives in and cannot name even five or ten species of plants and animals in her neighborhood. Such lack of awareness signals a pathological disconnection from nature. We need to know our non-human neighbors and come to see them as friends. Learning about the geologic history, flora, and fauna of the place we live helps us feel that we belong here, regardless of our socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or whether or not we were born and raised in this place. Natural history is democratic â€“ anyone can practice it â€“ and it opens up limitless opportunities for joyful experiences. These experiences then circle back to conservation. We become more eager to save plants, animals, and places when they are familiar rather than strangers. This book is a journey driven by curiosity, which is what being a naturalist is all about. From my first exposure to southern grasslands, I wondered why these places are so scarce in trees, whereas often adjacent to them are dense forests or swamps. As a beginning graduate student I learned that the pine savannas I viewed on field trips to Florida were the prevailing vegetation type of the Coastal Plain until quite recently. I did not yet know that the mixed
hardwood forests I saw through the car windows as a child during family trips to Florida, forests which now dominate much of the â€˜undevelopedâ€™ parts of the region, are for the most part artifacts of fire exclusion or former agriculture. Many trained ecologists do not know this. Years later, while researching the status of endangered ecosystems across the United States, I discovered that grasslands are, in general, the most imperiled of all terrestrial ecosystems in the country. This is especially true when endangerment is measured as extent of decline since European settlement, but is also often true in terms of present and future threat. Some of these grassland ecosystems dominated entire physiographic regions, such as the Coastal Plain, Great Plains, and Palouse, whereas others, such as in the Appalachians, Midwest, and Northeast, occurred as relatively small patches in a matrix of dissimilar vegetation, usually forest. Learning about the plight of grasslands, I pledged to do what I could to protect them and help them recover their former glory. Such is the moral responsibility of a naturalist.
Sales Information Creating Green Roads
Trim Size: 8.5 x 10 Pages: 288 Copyright: 2012
Integrating Cultural, Natural, and Visual Resources into Transportation James L. Sipes and Matthew L. Sipes ISBN Hardcover
978-1-61091-358-4 $ 90.00
Island Press Short
Paperback 978-1-61091-375-1 $ 45.00
Island Press Short
Bookstore Categories ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning
Richard Forman et al., Road Ecology, Island Press, 2002, $50.00 pb. Copies sold: 5,103 pb.
Sustainable Solutions for Water Resources: Policies, Planning, Design, and Implementation, Wiley, 2010, $90 hc.
Mark Benedict and Edward McMahon, Green Infrastructure, Island Press, 2006, $35.00. Copies sold: 6,516 pb.
Digital Land: Integrating Technology into the Land Planning Process, Wiley, $85.00 hc.
Girling/Kellet, Skinny Streets and Green Neighborhoods, Island Press, 2006, $47.50 pb. Copies sold: 2,605 pb.
Sales Handle A guide to implementing more sustainable transportation infrastructure
What is this book about? Roads and parking lots in the United States cover more ground than the entire state of Georgia. And while proponents of sustainable transit often focus on getting people off the roads, they will remain at the heart of our transportation systems for the foreseeable future. In Creating Green Roads, James and Matthew Sipes demonstrate that roads don’t have to be the enemy of sustainability: they can be designed to minimally impact the environment while improving quality of life. The authors examine traditional, utilitarian methods of transportation planning that have resulted in a host of negative impacts: from urban sprawl and congestion to loss of community identity and excess air and water pollution. They offer a better approach—one that blends form and function. Creating Green Roadways covers topics including transportation policy, the basics of green road design, including an examination of complete streets, public involvement, road ecology, and the economics of sustainable roads. Case studies from metropolitan, suburban, and rural transportation projects around the country, along with numerous photographs, illustrate what makes a project successful. The need for this information has never been greater, as more than thirty percent of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, more than a quarter of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and congestion in communities of all sizes has never been worse. Creating Green Roads offers a practical strategy for rethinking how we design, plan, and maintain our transportation infrastructure.
Selling Points — The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that we need to invest $2.2 trillion in federal, state, and local funds over the next five years to meet transportation requirements across the nation; this book fills an important gap in the extent literature for planners and designers who need to respond to that need. —Abundant case studies and illustrations guide the reader through planning a wide range of projects and the challenges they are likely to face. —James Sipes is a noted landscape architect, environmental planner, and writer with more than twenty-five years of professional experience encompassing a wide range of planning, design, research, and communication projects. Island Press
Table of Contents Chapter 1
Introduction Why we Need Green Roads The Expansion of our Highway Infrastructure The Problem Green Roadways and Quality of Life Overview of the Book
Transportation Policies Federal Policies & Procedures Federal Acts and Regulations Transportation Enhancement Program NEPA Environmental Impacts Classes of Action NEPA Process for Green Roads NEPA and Public Involvement Environmental Streamlining Future of NEPA State and Local Policies and Procedures
` Chapter 3
Basic Roadway Design Road Types
Access Control Types of Transportation Projects Sources of Basic Transportation Standards Impact of Design Speeds and Level of Service (LOS) on Roadway Design Importance of Safety Design Exceptions Right-of-Way Greening Roadway Components Travel lanes Shoulders Curb & Gutter Medians Intersections Horizontal and Vertical Curves/Alignments Traffic Calming Walls and Barriers Bridges Utilities Sidewalks and Trails Signage Lighting Parking Facilities
Plants Transportation Art Summary
Design and Planning Process for Green Roadways Planning Approaches Context Sensitive Design / Context Sensitive Solutions Multi-disciplinary Planning Teams Land Use, Smart Growth, Complete Streets, and Transportation Infrastructure Design Guidelines and Pattern Books Transportation Issues Planning to Reduce Risks Associated with Green Roads
Public Involvement Process Public Involvement Process Public Involvement Plan Social Media and Public Involvement Visualization Partnership Opportunities for Green Roads Public Participation Case Study â€“ Vancouver Land Bridge
Green Roads in Urban Areas
Deemphasizing Roads Retrofitting Existing Streets New Transportation Projects Urban Case Studies
Mexicantown Bagley Avenue Pedestrian Bridge and Plaza, Detroit MI
Boston Big Dig
Portland’s Green Streets Program
Mutli-function Roundabout, Normal, Illionois
Delaware Avenue Expansion, Philadelphia PA
T-REX Light Rail Pedestrian Bridge, Denver, Colorado
Green Roads in Suburban and Rural Areas Rural Transportation The Suburbs Livable, Walkable Communities Suburban and Rural Case Studies
Rain Gardens of Maplewood, Minnesota
State Route 17 in Horseheads, NY
High Point Redevelopment, Seattle, Washington
Cultural / Historic / Visual Resources
Cultural and Historic Resources Archaeology Visual Resources Approaches for Addressing Visual Resources USFS Visual Management System Visual Assessment Process Scenic Byways Case Studies - Cultural / Historic / Visual Resources in Transportation
I-70 Glenwood Canyon & Snowmass Canyon, Colorado
Paris Pike, Kentucky
Old Florida Heritage Highway, Florida
Merritt Parkway, Connecticut
Nevada Landscape and Aesthetics Master Plan
Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina
Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge, Mississippi
Creative Corridors – Winston-Salem North Carolina
Natural Resources / Environmental Sustainability Wildlife Habitat and Roadway Ecology Wildlife Crossings Habitat Alternations Planning for Climate Change Open Space Opportunities
Protecting Open Space Water Resources Water Solutions for Green Roadways Air Quality Alternative Energy Reducing Energy Usage Generating Energy Case Studies – Integrating Natural Resources and Green Roads
Corridor K – Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee
US Highway 93, Montana
Alligator Alley, Florida
Mountains to Sound Greenway, Washington
Yellowstone National Park's East Entrance Road
ARC International Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure Design Competition – Vail Pass, Colorado
Constructing Green Roadways Green Construction Practices Green Construction Materials Case Studies - Green Construction
New River Gorge Bridge, West Virginia
Meador Kansas Ellis Trail
U.S. 97 Lava Butte-South Century Drive
Economics of Green Roads Funding Road Infrastructure Funding Green Roads Maintenance & Life-Cycle Costs Case Studies – Economics of Green Roads
Atlanta BeltLine, Georgia
Greater East End Livable Centers, Houston, Texas
Next Steps in Creating Green Roads Next Steps Case Studies
Manchaca Greenway, Austin, Texas
Oregon Solar Highway
Houston LID – Indendence Parkway, Texas
International Case Studies
Henderson Waves, Singapore
Clem Jones Tunnel (CLEM), Brisbane, Australia
Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion, Zaragoza, Spain
Atlantic Road Bridge, Norway
City of Saskatoon (Canada) Green Streets Program
Summary Chapter 13
Appendix 1 Roadway Characteristics
Chapter 1 Introduction A road â€Ś is just a road. It is a ribbon of asphalt, striping, and jersey barriers that allow automobiles to get from one point to another. [Figure 1-1 here] But a road can be something more. A road can not only meet transportation needs, but it can also be a community asset that is as much a part of what defines a place as parks, houses, trails, and sidewalks. A road can be respectful of people and place. The footprint of the road can be minimized to prevent negative impacts on cultural and natural resources, and the design of the road can ensure that existing resources are protected. In rural areas, roads can be an integral part of the landscape; the Blue Ridge Parkway shows us how it can be done. In any landscape, a green roadway should have a positive influence on cultural, environmental, and economical sustainability. [Figure 1-2 here] Creating Green Roadways is about this idea of a road being more than just a road. With creativity, sensitivity, passion, and technological know-how, we can build
roads that are not only safe, practical, and buildable, but that are also environmentally friendly, visually attractive, and help create a sense of community This book advocates a way of approaching road design that integrates cultural, natural, and visual resources into the transportation design and planning process in an economically viable and socially significant way. A green roadway is energy efficient, addresses long-term concerns such as climate change, and seeks to have the smallest carbon footprint possible. It can be easily implemented and is designed to last a hundred years. But Creating Green Roadways is about more than just roads. It is about pedestrian and bicycle facilities, streetscapes, and community character. It is about protecting important cultural and natural resources, and ensuring that creatures large and small can cross the road safely. It is about multi-modality, natural processes, and energy efficiency. [Figure 1-3 here]
Why We Need Green Roadways The automobile is an inherent part of the American way of life. We love our cars. The American Dream includes a white picket fence, chicken in every pot, and two cars in every garage. For every teenager, obtaining a driverâ€™s license is a rite of passage that opens up a whole new world of freedom and possibilities.
So much of our culture has been influenced by the automobile. Roads dominate the American landscape, and we build our cities and towns around the automobile. For the last seventy years or so, it seems we have adopted the philosophy that the more roads we have, the better. The development of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s helped connect the country and resulted in a significant increase in privately-owned automobiles. It also led to the creation of the suburb, and the development patterns in the U.S. changed almost overnight. Highways are also the backbone of the American economy. The Interstate Highway System has served as the nationâ€™s primary transportation network for more than half a century, and it has had a lot to do with the diverse, robust economy that we have in the United States. We rely much more heavily on roads for commercial and personal transit than any other country in the world. Transportation systems provide direct economic and social opportunities and benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT): "Transportation's vital importance to the U.S. economy is underscored by the fact that more than $1 out of every $10 produced in the U.S. gross domestic product is related to transportation activity.â€? Virtually all goods and services involves interstate highways at some point. Local roads are essential for the day-to-day lives of many Americans. We seem to drive everywhere â€“ to work, to school, to stores, and to parks. As a general rule, when transport is efficient, the potential market for a given product or service increases, and 3
this leads to a stronger economy. It is important to be able to transport supplies to manufacturers, and the ship final products to consumers. The more efficient this system, the better.
The Expansion of our Highway Infrastructure When Henry Ford introduced his Model T in 1908, it changed the American culture overnight. It no longer took days to visit relatives in the next town over, and the concept of distance changed significantly. In 1910, Ford produced 19,000 Model Ts. By 1927, fifteen million Model T Fords had rolled off the assembly line. In comparison, there were a total of 4,192 automobiles registered in the United States in 1900, and around 210,000 in 1911. (aaca.org) One given is that if you build cars, you need to build roads. According to the Antique Automobile Club of America, there were only 10 miles of paved roads in the U.S. in 1900. With all of the new automobiles being produced, there was a demand for more roads. The Federal Highway Act of 1921 provided funding to help state highway agencies construct paved, two-lane interstate highways. During the 1930s, the Bureau of Public Roads helped state and local governments create Depressionera road projects that employed as many workers as possible. [Figure 1-4 here] President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation authorizing a network of rural and urban express highways in 1944, but the legislation lacked funding so nothing was 4
built. When President Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highways and Defense Act in 1956, it was a significant moment in the history of the United States. From the start, the Interstate Highway System was hailed as the "Greatest Public Works Project in History." The Interstate System was constructed as part of the nationâ€™s strategic homeland defense, illustrating the important role of transportation in mitigation, defense, and recovery. Eisenhowerâ€™s vision of national prosperity was successful beyond expectations. The construction of the interstate highway system and subsequent expansion of connected urban freeway systems completely changed how people got around in this country. A lot has changed since the Interstate Highway System was developed. The U.S. population has almost doubled, increasing from 169 million to 300 million, and gross domestic product (GDP) has increased from $345 billion to $14.3 trillion. In 2006, there were more than three trillion vehicle miles traveled, five times the level in 1955 (Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. June 18, 2009). In 2009, there was more than 4 million miles of paved highway in the USA, and the greatest distance from a road in the contiguous states was 22 miles (in the southeast corner of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming). In 97 percent of the continental U.S., you were no more than three miles from a paved road.
The Problem Our current transportation system is broken.
We need a new approach because the old approach to designing and building no longer works. We are not able to meet the transportation needs of today, and the situation is just going to get worse. [Figure 1-5 here] The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that we need to invest $2.2 trillion in Federal, State, and local funds over a five-year period to meet transportation requirements. Population growth has created capacity demands that our existing transportation infrastructure has not been able to meet. Funding for transportation infrastructure is woefully inadequate. In early 2009, economist Michael Hudson said: "The (US) economy has reached its debt limit and is entering its insolvency phase. We are not in a cycle but (at) the end of an era.” In the next few years, as our aging infrastructure is repaired and expanded, there will be opportunities to create green roadways. A lot of freeways were built more than 50 years ago and are in a constant state of disrepair. According to TRIP, a nonprofit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C., our transportation infrastructure is badly in need of repair. :
33 percent of the nation's major roads are in “poor or mediocre condition.”
36 percent of major urban highways are congested.
26 percent of bridges are “structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.” (TRIP, August 2008)
One of the big problems is that demands upon our nationâ€™s highways have increased significantly over the years. According to AASHTO, there were approximately 65 million cars and trucks in 1955, and today that number has nearly quadrupled to 246 million (Schoen, 2010). In 1970, motor vehicles on U.S. roads traveled around one trillion miles per year; in 2010 it had increased to more than 3 trillion miles each year. During that time, the total number of miles of paved roads only increased only 1.97%. In 2007, the condition of our transportation infrastructure really hit home when an Interstate highway bridge in downtown Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River, killing thirteen people and injuring dozens of others. The bridge collapse got the attention of transportation departments across the country, and many realized they needed to focus more on maintaining existing assets. [Figure 1-6 here] Additionally, population growth has created capacity demands that our existing transportation infrastructure has not been able to meet. Major cities are becoming more congested, commuting times are increasing, and problems will continue to get worse because of projected growth. By the end of 2050, the world's cities will see their populations expand by 3.1 billion new residents. [Figure 1-7 here] How do we build new roads if we canâ€™t take care of what we have now? We can no longer afford to design and build roads the way we once did. 7
Green Roadways and Quality of Life There is a need to reevaluate how transportation is accommodated in rural, suburban, and urban communities. Roads and highways have such an impact on our communities that we need to start thinking of them in terms of quality of life. This is a basic concept behind developing green roadways. Roadway projects often are viewed as blights on the landscape because they are the harbingers of noise and traffic, and physically and visually divide the landscape. Green roadways, however, are based upon the idea that a road can be an asset and can add value to a community in terms of quality of life. A green roadway should protect …
Natural resources by minimizing the impact of the road, reducing our carbon footprint, preserving trees, and managing water resources
Manmade resources by respecting cultural values
Creatures large and small by preserving habitats and ensuring they can cross the road safely
Motorists by creating the safest, most functional road possible
Open space and the existing landscape character by minimizing the road footprint and incorporating parks and conservation areas into transportation projects
The future of our children by being energy efficient and using resources wisely
One of the best ways to build a “green” transportation infrastructure is to get people out of their cars. By reducing the amount of time people spend in cars, we reduce air pollution and encourage a greater level of physical activity. And if we are using cars less, we will need to build and maintain fewer roads. Some transportation experts have gone so far as to say we can’t maintain the size of our current road system, and what we should do is actually close up 15% to 20% of existing roads. This kind of approach is not unprecedented – the Base Realignment and Closure (or BRAC) has led to the closure of more than 350 military facilities since 1989. The 2005 Commission recommended that Congress authorize another BRAC round in 2015, and then every 8 years thereafter. It will be interesting to see if we do the same thing with roads. If we can reduce the number of cars and trucks on the roads, that will go a long way toward a more sustainable future for our kids.
Overview of the Book Creating green roads is about how to integrate roads, bridges, trails, walkways, and other transportation elements in such a way that they become assets, not liabilities. Transportation systems have an impact on everyone. Whether it is driving to work, taking the kids to soccer practice, riding a bus, planning new communities, protecting the environment, or making it easier for kids to walk to school, roadways are a part of our day-to-day lives.
The book is divided into fourteen chapters, including this introductory chapter. Chapter 2 – examines existing transportation policies and the impact they have upon how stakeholders make decisions. This includes federal, state, regional, and local policies, and they are work together. In particular, the chapter focuses on the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970, and its influence on how transportation projects address potential impacts. Although NEPA has been around for years, we are just now starting to understand how it can lead to green, sustainable roadways. Chapter 3 – looks at the basic elements that typically make up a transportation project. Understanding the basics provides us with greater opportunities to make changes that lead to greener roadways. Chapter 4 – explores the design and planning process, how to develop a wide range of green alternatives, and the best approaches for ensuring a green roadway that considers both people and place. Chapter 5 – looks at how individuals and organizations can get involved in the planning, design, and implementation of green roadway projects. Chapter 6 – examines green roadways in urban areas, and presents case studies that indicate successful approaches for implementing urban solutions.
Chapter 7 – looks at suburban and rural areas, and the unique issues they face in terms of transportation. This chapter also presents cases studies on successful green roadway projects in these settings. Chapter 8 – explores how green roadway projects can be developed while respecting cultural, historic, and visual resources. It emphasizes how to develop green roadways that fit communities and help create a sense of place. Chapter 9 – focuses on how to develop green roadways that are environmentally sensitive, respectful of little creatures, and seek to actually improve the world around us. This approach means look at alternative energy sources, and thinking of roadways as laying lightly on the land , and perhaps even being carbon positive. Chapter 10 – looks at how we can construct green roadways so they last longer, are easier to build, and are less disruptive of people and the environment. Chapter 11 – examines the economics of green roadways, and what we need to do to build the next generation of green roadways. Chapter 12 –looks at the next steps in creating green roadways. How do we plan for the next generation of green roadways, and what do we have to do to make this work?
Sales Information Forests for the People
Trim Size: 6 x 9 Pages: 326 Copyright: 2012
The Story of America's Eastern National Forests Christopher Johnson and David Govatski ISBN Hardcover
978-1-61091-009-5 $ 70.00
Island Press Short
Paperback 978-1-61091-010-1 $ 35.00
Island Press Short
Bookstore Categories NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
Thomas A. Spies and Sally L. Duncan, eds., Old Growth in a New World, Island Press, 2008, $32.00 pb.
Christopher Johnson, This Grand and Magnificent Place: The Wilderness Heritage of the White Mountains, University of New Hampshire Press, 2006, $29.95 hc.
Donald Edward Davis, Where There Are Mountains: An Environmental History of the Southern Appalachians, University of Georgia Press, 2000, $24.95 pb. Michael P. Dombeck, Christopher Wood, and Jack Williams, From Conquest to Conservation, Island Press, 2003, $25.00 pb.
Sales Handle An engaging look at the past, present, and future of Eastern national forests
What is this book about? Forests for the People tells one of the most extraordinary stories of environmental protection in our nation’s history: how a diverse coalition of citizens, organizations, and business and political leaders worked to create a system of national forests in the Eastern United States. It offers an insightful and wide-ranging look at the actions leading to the passage of the Weeks Act in 1911—landmark legislation that established a system of well-managed forests in the East, the South, and the Great Lakes region—along with case studies that consider some of the key challenges facing eastern forests today. The book begins by looking at destructive practices widely used by the timber industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s, which led to the birth of a new conservation movement and the subsequent protection of forests in New England, the Great Lakes region, and the Southern Appalachians. Following this historical background, the authors offer eight case studies that examine critical issues facing the eastern national forests today, including timber harvesting, the use of fire, wilderness protection, endangered wildlife, oil shale drilling, invasive species, and development at national park borders.
Selling Points — Offers an environmental story that has never been told: the history of the Eastern national forests, passage of the Weeks Act, and the vital role of public involvement in that landmark legislation. — A strong narrative brings to life fascinating history of forests in a populated, urban-centered part of the United States. — Uses lessons from the past to illuminate ways to address the threats facing Eastern forests today.
1 Contents Introduction Part I: How the Eastern Forests Were Saved Chapter 1: The Disappearing Forests of the White Mountains Chapter 2: Trees to Build the Lake States Chapter 3: A Forest Crisis in the Southern Appalachians Chapter 4: Building a Forest Conservation Movement Chapter 5: Legislation at Last: The Weeks Act Chapter 6: Creating the Eastern National Forests Part II: Issues Facing the Eastern National Forests Today Chapter 7: Holly Springs National Forest: A Study in Forest Management Reform Chapter 8: Ocala and Osceola National Forests: A Revolution in Prescribed Burning Chapter 9: Monongahela National Forest: Wilderness at Heart Chapter 10: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: Protection or Development? Chapter 11: Ottawa and Hiawatha National Forestsâ€”The Return of the Wolf Chapter 12: Allegheny National Forest: The Challenges of Oil Shale Drilling Chapter 13: Michiganâ€™s National Forests: The Invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer Chapter 14: Green Mountain National Forest: Loving the Forests to Death
Chapter 2: Trees to Build the Lake States
In 1856, Ben Eastman, a U.S. Representative from Wisconsin, rose on the floor of the House and boasted about the vast forests of his state. “Upon the rivers which are tributary to the Mississippi, and also upon those which empty themselves into Lake Michigan,” his words rang out, “there are interminable forests of pine, sufficient to supply all the wants of the citizens for all time to come.” 1 Eastman’s words resonated to the East coast, where thousands of lumber entrepreneurs and loggers heard the sounds of opportunity beckoning from the pine forests of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. One who heard that call was Daniel G. Shaw, an ambitious young man born in 1812 on a farm in the aptly named town of Industry, Maine. From an early age he had an entrepreneurial bent and operated a small sawmill business in his hometown. The supply of trees in Maine was beginning to dwindle, though, and Shaw looked westward. In 1851, he uprooted his wife and two sons and migrated to Allegany, New York, where he built a larger mill. In only four years, the ambition bug bit him again, and he traveled further west, to view for himself the “interminable forests of pine” that Ben Eastman had boasted about. He found that the good Congressman had not exaggerated. In the valley of the Chippewa River in northwestern Wisconsin, a virgin forest of white pine--Pinus strobus-- unrolled before him to the horizon. The sight made Shaw’s heart beat just a little bit faster.2 This majestic white pine, which thrived in the Lake States’ moist soil of clay, loam, and sand, could soar as high as 200 feet above the earth, reach a diameter of 8 feet, and live for up to 500 years. It was tall and straight, and it floated well down rivers,
2 which was why loggers called it the “cork pine.”3 Carpenters loved its strength, lightness, straight grain, and absence of knots. It was easy to saw, yet it built long-lasting houses that stood up to punishment. Millions of board feet of white pine built the exploding cities of Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Des Moines, Cleveland, Minneapolis, and St. Paul. The white pine traveled on Great Lakes ships to the Erie Canal and from there to the giant markets of the East. Locals referred to their bountiful pine forests as the pineries. Thrilled by what he saw, Daniel Shaw immediately purchased a large tract of forestland in the Chippewa valley, and in 1858, he formed Daniel Shaw and Company with his brother-in-law, Charles A. Bullen. Immediately they began logging and processing lumber. In only two years, the Shaw Company was processing 25,000 board feet of lumber a day, which is enough to build a typical 2,000-foot single-residence home. (A board foot is one foot long, one foot wide, and one inch thick.) For the next 55 years, Daniel Shaw and his sons, George B. and Eugene, would operate the company through a boom period that saw the cities of the Lake States grow and the forests shrink. In the late 1800s, the company reached its peak production, 28,440,000 board feet a year—a quantity that placed it only in the middle ranks of Wisconsin lumber companies. In 25 years, Shaw exhausted the original 10,000 acres that he had purchased along the Chippewa River. The company purchased more lands and more stumpage, or the right to cut trees on others’ property. In the Lake States, Shaw’s experience was repeated hundreds of times by hundreds of other lumber operators who to ride the land boom that was rapidly transforming this part of the United States. 4
Rapid Development of the Logging Industry in the Lake States
3 In New England, farmers and loggers had required two centuries to attack the forests and deplete them. In Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, near-depletion would take only 60 years. The logging industry in the Lake States took off in Michigan in the 1830s, traveled west to Wisconsin, and reached Minnesota in the 1840s. The three states produced 2.75 billion board feet in 1869, 5 billion board feet in 1879, and 7 billion board feet in 1889. Throughout the last half of the 19th century, they supplied the majority of wood products to the country.5 By the early 20th century, though, the forests of all three states faced neardepletion and damage from forest fires, severe erosion, and the silting up of rivers and streamsâ€”duplications of the damage that had been done to the once-magnificent forests of the White Mountains. The logging and lumbering industries of the Lake States were different from, yet connected to, those of New England. Like Daniel Shaw, many of the lumber entrepreneurs of the Lake States were transplants from New England, where they had learned the basics of the industry. They knew how to identify high-quality timber, build efficient sawmills, hire experienced loggers, set up logging camps, drive logs downstream, and negotiate with wholesalers to distribute the logs. Similarly, a forest conservation movement would, by the late 1800s, begin to develop in the Lake States. As in New England, the movement developed partly from the growing understanding of the science of forests as natural systems, and many of the leaders of the movement would be trained in the emerging new science of forestry. However, there was also a key difference. In New England, early conservationists were motivated by the strong desire to protect the regionâ€™s tourist industry, which was wellestablished. The Lake States, in contrast, did not have such a well-developed tourist
4 industry in the 19th century. Instead, many of the early conservation leaders were active in state forestry associations or worked for state or federal government. The force driving them was the conservation of a valuable resource, timber that they viewed as central to the continued economic development of their states.
Geographic Advantages of the Lake States In the rapid development of its logging industries, the Lake States benefited from enormous geographic advantages. All three states boasted rich soils and plentiful rainfall, nurturing forests that spread almost unbroken across their lake-specked northern shoulders. Michigan boasted the greatest forests of white pine in the world, thanks to the soilâ€™s high sand content, which produced a peerless grade of white pine. North of an imaginary line running from Muskegon to Bay City, the white pines predominated, but the forests also nurtured jack pine, aspen, red pine, and balsam fir. The southern part of the state, meanwhile, featured hardwood forests with oak, hickory, elm, maple, birch, basswood, and beech. In all, Michigan had approximately 150 billion board feet of timber, most of it of high quality.6 Wisconsin was blessed with approximately 30 million acres of forestland. Those vast forests contained more than 100 billion board feet, much of it in the northern and northeastern parts of the state. Forests covered 75% of the state and nearly 100% of the northern counties.7 Filibert Roth, who was a special agent for the Department of Agriculture, estimated that by 1898, only 17.4 billion feet of those virgin forests were still standing.
5 In Minnesota, the logging and lumbering industries were critical to early settlement and economic development. The state boasted 31,500,000 acres of forestland, of which 5,800,000 acres were pine. 8 Hardwood forests, known as the “Big Woods,” dominated the lands west of the Mississippi. These hardwood forests were mostly oak, but they also contained maple, black walnut, elm, ash, butternut, and basswood. (Larson, 6) East of the Mississippi were the conifer forests—the North Woods--which stretched from the Mississippi River to Canada. These pineries had red pine and jack pine in addition to white pine. The region also boasted a fabulous network of navigable rivers for floating logs to market and powering sawmills. In Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, the Saginaw River and its tributaries contained 864 navigable miles that drained 3,500,000 acres of forestland into Lake Huron.9 In western Michigan, the Manistee, Muskegon, and Grand rivers flowed into Lake Michigan, allowing cheap and easy transportation to Chicago and Milwaukee. Wisconsin featured four major navigable rivers, the St. Croix, the Black, the Wisconsin, and the Chippewa, which flowed into the Mississippi, opening up access to markets to New Orleans and beyond. Minnesota was also blessed with a tremendous network of rivers, including the biggest of them all, the Mississippi. One of the tributaries of the Mississippi, the St. Croix River, was the birthplace of the logging and lumber industry in Minnesota.
Logging and Laissez-Faire Capitalism Given the existence of huge reserves of enormous white pine, geographic advantages, and voracious markets created by expanding cities, the story of the logging and lumber
6 industry in the Lake States was one of laissez-faire capitalism and the rise of big business. Captains of industry such as Frederick Weyerhaeuser and John Pillsbury rose to prominence, and large lumber companies created efficiencies of volume by acquiring vast tracts of forestland, building huge mills that used the latest technologies, and integrating business vertically to control all aspects of production. Large operators also had capital and access to financiers. Ironically, though, the logging industry in the Lake States also took on the patina of romance through the tales of Paul Bunyan and the exploits of the loggers themselves, who were, without question, colorful characters. The Bunyan tales first enlivened evenings in Maineâ€™s logging camps but then traveled west to the bustling camps of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, where they appeared as early as the 1850s. The tales of Paul Bunyan served as paeans to Production, with a capital P. Everything about Paul was outsized, reflecting the difficult challenges of logging Americaâ€™s northern empire. He stood seven feet tall and covered seven feet in one stride. To summon his fellow loggers, he picked up a hollow log and bellowed through it, but the powerful sound of his voice inadvertently blew down ten acres of pine. To cut as many trees as possible, he tied the handle of his axe, which had a double bit, to a strong rope, allowing him to swing it with frightful momentum. In one stroke, he felled several acres of trees.10 However, the romanticism of such tales should not disguise the fact that the big lumber companies acted in their own economic self-interest, aided and abetted by cultural attitudes that urged subjugation of the wilderness and the taming of the frontier. Such attitudes repeated themselves over and over again throughout the 19th century. In 1893,
7 Frederick Jackson Turner, who had grown up in Portage, Wisconsin, and was a young Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, delivered one of the seminal lectures in U.S. history: “The Significance of the Frontier in American History.” The American Historical Association had invited this up-and-coming scholar to deliver an address at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago on July 12, 1893. Turner spoke to the centrality of the American frontier in the development of the United States, articulating attitudes toward frontier and wilderness that had been central to the American project in the centuries since colonization. American history, he averred, “has been in a larger degree the history of the colonization of the Great West.”11 As he elaborated on the frontier thesis, Professor Turner shed light on central cultural assumptions that drove the development of the United States. Three assumptions were key: (1) the forces of civilization, embodied by the trapper, the pioneer, and the farmer, triumphed over wilderness, which was a nasty, impervious, and sometimes even evil obstacle to progress; (2) the guiding purpose of American progress was to harness the continent’s vast natural resources for the development of the nation’s economy; and (3) those natural resources were without practical limit.
Michigan’s Logging Industry Economic forces and the cultural assumptions deconstructed by Turner were amply evident in the development of Michigan’s logging industry. Forest historians Donald I. Dickmann and Larry A. Leefers wrote in The Forests of Michigan, “[D]uring the last half of the nineteenth century the woods of the new state came under a mass assault not unlike war in its ferocity. This plunder was largely unregulated by laws and unfounded by the
8 conventions of civilized society.â€? 12 Logging in the state spread from the south to the northeast, the northwest, and then the Upper Peninsula. Because of the reach of its tributaries, the Saginaw River valley became the epicenter of logging in the northeastern part of the state. The Saginaw, which was formed from the waters of five rivers--the Cass, the Flint, the Tittabawassee, the Bad, and the Shiawasseeâ€”flowed north before emptying its waters into Lake Huron at Bay City. Ships docked at Bay City, loaded lumber, and carried it to all the cities on the Great Lakes, as well as through the Erie Canal to the hungry markets of Albany and New York City. The Saginaw valley and Bay City had 112 sawmills, employing 25,000 men.13 Michiganâ€™s vast forests and high-quality pines attracted a slew of lumber operators, and competition among them was intense. At first, some operators engaged in selective cutting, removing high-quality trees and leaving the younger trees. But if a company used such conservative logging methods, it lost out in production to companies that had no compunction about clearcutting the forests. Lumber thieves only sped up the cutting by routinely felling trees on government land. Between 1844 and 1854, they cut half a billion board feet in northern Michigan and eastern Wisconsin.14 As in the White Mountains, the coming of railroads accelerated the pace at which forestlands were denuded. In 1876, Winfield Scott Gerrish attended the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876 and saw a Baldwin locomotive, a powerful steam engine. The enterprising Gerrish quickly purchased one of the locomotives and laid tracks to carry logs out of the forests surrounding the Muskegon River. As it happened, the winter of 1877 had little snowfall, yet Gerrish was still able to transport his logs to market, even as his competitors waited and prayed in vain for snow. Needless to say, his fellow logging
9 operators followed his lead, and by 1889 railroads were transporting thousands of logs out of Michigan’s forests. Railroads increased the rate of cutting by as much as 10 times. However, many state legislators were concerned about the depletion of the forests, and in 1887, the legislature established a State Forestry Commission. Like New Hampshire’s Forestry Commission, Michigan’s began to build a scientific foundation for forest conservation by gathering data about the impact of heavy timber harvesting and forest fires. At the commission’s initial meeting in January 1888 in Grand Rapids, keynote speaker Norman A. Beecher warned that if the state continued along its precipitous path, the entire supply of timber would be gone in another 15 years. According to the commission, 1,000 mills operated in Michigan, and the value of their annual output was $60 million. One state senator estimated that the state’s output was 5 billion board feet, which, in his words, would be sufficient “to girdle the earth with fifteen board fences, each five feet high at the equator.”15 The white pines in the Lower Peninsula were nearly depleted, and the demand for less desirable woods, such as spruces, balsam, jack pine, and poplar was growing because of the invention of chemical processes that produced paper from pulp. By the early 1900s, 161 billion board feet of pine had been cut and processed into lumber and other wood products. The lumber industry had cut another 50 billion board feet in hardwood, cedar, and hemlock-approximately a billion logs in total.16
Wisconsin’s Logging Industry Logging in Wisconsin followed a different trajectory from Michigan’s because of geography. In the 1850s, lumber companies started to work in central Wisconsin because
10 they could float logs downstream on the Wisconsin River to the 107 sawmills that, by 1857, lined the banks of the river. 17 However, the northern reaches of the Wisconsin had numerous bends, making it impossible to float logs. By the 1860s, Daniel Shaw and other logging entrepreneurs began to open up the virgin forests in the Chippewa River valley in northwestern Wisconsin, where the river and its tributaries drained 6 million acres of forestland, most of it dominated by white pine. In 1877, the Wisconsin Central Railroad opened up north-central Wisconsin to logging when it finished construction of a line from Milwaukee to Ashland, and other railroad lines quickly followed. As in Michigan, the railroads increased the pace of cutting by a quantum leap. By 1890, Wisconsin lumbermen produced enough wood to build 180,000 bungalows with two bedrooms, and by 1899, the output could have built 290,000 bungalows--enough to house 1 million people.18 As in Michigan, Wisconsin loggers often started by cutting selectively, but competitive pressures inexorably led them to clearcut. The Daniel Shaw Company, for example, gradually reduced the minimum diameters of trees cut. At first, in 1857, the company was very selective, felling only trees greater than 16 inches in diameter. By the 1870s, the minimum diameter had decreased to 12 inches, because virtually everything larger had been harvested. By the late 1880s, the minimum requirement was down to 10 inches diameter, and by the 1890s, the company was felling all pine trees, no matter what their diameter was.19 Wisconsin saw also the emergence of Frederick Weyerhaeuser, who began to build a logging and paper empire after the Civil War. Weyerhaeuser did much to consolidate the logging industry, in the process transforming it from a collection of small,
11 independent entrepreneurs into large corporations. Consolidation only made the industry more efficient, leading to more rapid devastation of the forests. This strong-willed entrepreneur was born in Germany on November 21, 1834. In 1852, he immigrated to Erie, Pennsylvania, and then followed a cousin to Rock Island, Illinois, which was blessed with fecund prairie soil and access to the Mississippi River. There he went to work for a sawmill and quickly showed an acumen for business, at one point selling a supply of lumber for $60 while his boss was away at dinner. The employer was so delighted with young Frederick’s initiative that he gave him the responsibility of overseeing sales and operations at the lumber yard.20 In 1860, he bought a sawmill in Rock Island with Frederick Denkmann, a talented machinist. The business prospered, but one obstacle they faced was ensuring a steady supply of raw material—logs from the northern forests. Weyerhaeuser led a syndicate of Mississippi River mill owners, incorporating in 1870 as the Mississippi River Logging Company. The syndicate began buying forestlands in the Chippewa valley. Weyerhaeuser for instance, purchased 50,000 acres of pine in 1875. 21 But the lumber companies in the Chippewa valley deeply resented Weyerhaeuser and other Mississippi mill owners, whom they referred to as “invaders,” because they bid up prices for forestland and logs. The Weyerhaeuser syndicate grew too powerful to resist, though, and the Chippewa companies had little choice but to cooperate with the savvy German immigrant.22 By the 1890s, Wisconsin ranked as one of the top timber-producing states in the country, and one year it produced the most timber. The heyday didn’t last long, however. By the early 20th century, many of the pineries were completely cut over, and operators
12 began to cut other species, including maple and hemlock. By 1912, when the Daniel Shaw Lumber Company ceased operations, Wisconsinâ€™s forests were largely depleted.
Sales Information Kingdom of Rarities
Trim Size: 6 x 9 Pages: 336 Copyright: 2012
Eric Dinerstein ISBN Hardcover
978-1-61091-195-5 $ 29.95
Discount Island Press Trade
Season Fall 2012
Bookstore Categories SCIENCE / Environmental Science
Diane Ackerman, The Rarest of the Rare, Vintage, 1997, $12.95.
Tigerland and Other Unintended Destinations, Island Press, 2005, $40.00 hc. Copies sold: 4.486.
W. E. Kunin and K. J. Gaston. The Biology of Rarity, Chapman and Hall, 1997, $289.00.
Return of the Unicorns, Columbia University Press, 2003, $75.00 hc.
Sales Handle An original and important investigation of rarity and its relationship to conservation
What is this book about? The Kingdom of Rarities presents a new context for understanding rarity and its implications both for our understanding of how the natural world works, and for what it can teach us about protecting biodiversity during a time of large-scale environmental change. Using cutting-edge science from remote outposts around the world, award-winning author Eric Dinerstein animates the key questions that scientists are asking themselves about why some species are so abundant and others not. What are the rarest species and why are they most likely to be found in certain types of environments? Which species have always been rare, and which have only recently been made rare? Which should we seek to protect most? Highly accessible and as much an adventure story as an important scientific work, Dinerstein explores rarity as a central principle within conservation biology, Advancing both our understanding of the natural world and inspiring the creation of new tools and technologies that can help us both add to our knowledge and design more effective conservation strategies. He focuses on real-time threats to biodiversity, from climate change to habitat fragmentation, and draws on his long and distinguished scientific career to illuminate the concept of rarity for readers across the spectrum of scientific knowledge.
Selling Points — A highly readable and enlightening account of what makes a species rare, how do rare species survive and even prosper, told through the author’s field work in some of the most remote and exotic locales in the world. — Dinerstein, Chief Scientist of the WWF, is a respected scientist within the conservation biology field, with a large network of supporters and interested readers. He will be promoting the book through a variety of speaking engagements. — The concept of rarity is central to conservation biology, but the topic is not widely discussed in the literature; other books available on the subject are highly technical. This book is unique in bringing the concept to life with accounts of adventures and rare animals around the world.
The Kingdom of Rarities Table of Contents: Chapter 1: An Uncommon Managerie Chapter 2: Island Life Chapter 3: Jaguar on the Beach Chapter 4: The Firebird Suite Chapter 5: There, in the Elephant Grass Chapter 6: The Scent of the Anteater Chapter 7: Ghosts of Indochina Chapter 8: A Hula to Rarity Chapter 9: The Refuge of the Divine Madman
Filename: Dinerstein Ch _2 Island Life Feb 4, 2012.doc
2 Island Life In 1704, a Scottish buccaneer by the name of Alexander Selkirk was abandoned by his captain on a remote, uninhabited island off the coast of Chile. Selkirk had made himself a nuisance aboard the Cinque Ports, telling his fellow shipmates that the galley was unseaworthy. None heeded his warnings nor his invitation to join his party-of-one, preferring instead to sail on with their commander. A bad choice in the end: the Cinque Ports later dashed on the rocks and many of her crew drowned in the surf. Selkirk had no knowledge of the wreck, and by that time, had headed inland to seek shelter in his new home. Soon after his arrival, a large reddish hummingbird flitted past him. How strange to be nearly 700 kilometers off the coast of Chile, out in the South Pacific Ocean, and find a hummingbird. Yet, the Juan Fernández Firecrown (named for the cluster of islands that included Selkirk’s destination) was one of the few native vertebrates sharing this remote outpost along with some feral goats introduced by earlier sailors. Selkirk spent the next four years as a castaway, living off goat meat, wild fruits, and greens, with only the Firecrown as company. He was eventually rescued by one of his former shipmates and returned to England to some acclaim. The tale of the hummingbird and the marooned sailor took place on an island called Más a Tierra, which might seem irrelevant, except that it now goes by Isla Robinson Crusoe. The name change by the Chilean government occurred in 1966, but much earlier, literary historians hypothesized that Daniel Defoe’s novel, first published in 1719, was inspired by Selkirk’s ordeal. Others dispute this claim, pointing out that Defoe set his hero down on a tropical island similar to Tobago in the Caribbean instead of in the more temperate Juan Fernández group. Regardless of the venue, The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is probably the most widely read piece of fiction of all time, certainly at least among budding naturalists, explorers, or anyone possessed with a vivid imagination. The hummingbird has drawn less fanfare, but has its own interesting side story. Unlike Selkirk, the Firecrown was a resident, having arrived on the island slightly less than one million years ago. The Alliance for Zero Extinction identifies it as a “trigger” species because the Firecrown is endemic to Isla Robinson Crusoe, meaning that this island is the only site on Earth where it 1
can be found. The total Firecrown population is estimated to be from 700-2900 individuals, down from as many as 10,000 individuals earlier in the 20 th century, so it is considered critically endangered. There is another, related hummingbird found on Crusoe Island, the Green-backed Firecrown that arrived in the 19th century. Unlike its endemic relative, the Green-backed is also widespread and common across Argentina and Chile, and is easily twice as numerous as the native hummingbird on Isla Robinson Crusoe. What they have in common is that among the 330 species of hummingbirds in the world, they are a rare brace, the only two to have reached an oceanic island, reproduced, and live such a remote life. Early nineteenth century naturalists surely read The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. And the most famous, Charles Darwin, almost set foot on what is now Isla Robinson Crusoe during the voyage of the Beagle. Captain Robert Fitzroy had several vessels under his command for a time in 1835, and decided to send one of these ships, the Constitution, up the Chilean coast under the authority of Charles Forsyth, while he and Darwin set sail on H.M.S. Beagle for the Galápagos. Even if Darwin had visited, his arrival would have preceded the Green-backed Firecrown. Still, it is hard not to imagine that the presence of a hummingbird on an oceanic island, so far from the mainland, might have been worthy of an entry or two in his diary. Today’s biologists still ponder the meaning of why one species of hummingbird is found only on a dot in the South Pacific while another closely related species has a much broader range and is much more abundant—in short, a recurring theme in this book. Rarity and endemism epitomize island life, especially along the equator. Among biologists, tropical islands crowd the atlas of daydreams, especially those who hail from colder climes. They are enamored of them, not just for the idyllic scenery, but also because the plants and animals inhabiting islands showcase the arc of evolution. This scientific fascination has noteworthy milestones. Charles Darwin’s visit to the Galápagos Islands and Alfred Russel Wallace’s journey to the Malay Archipelago two decades later gave rise to their vision of evolution by natural selection, the greatest organizing principle of life on Earth. Natural selection, at its essence, is the evolutionary process that results in living creatures being well suited, or “adapted”, to their locale. Darwin and Wallace’s theory preceded genetics, a discipline that views evolution by natural selection as the dynamic force by which individuals that possess certain advantageous features, or traits, bestow more duplicates of their genes and these heritable traits on future generations. The sum of these traits increase what is called the reproductive fitness of an individual, and the metric biologists use to assess this quality is the number of offspring one leaves behind, like how many Juan Fernández Firecrown eggs hatch and the offspring survive to breed.
Biologists still marvel over the explanatory power of the theory of evolution by natural selection, a lens through which to view every aspect of the natural world. From the habitats wild species select, to the food they eat, the mates they choose, where they sleep, the fear response they show in the presence of predators, every aspect of biological life can be reexamined in light of this theory. Yet, few are aware that its co-inventor, Charles Darwin, was also probably the first scientist to highlight rarity in nature. "Rarity,” he wrote in a neglected sentence from On the Origin of Species, “is the attribute of a vast number of species, in all classes, in all countries." Had he expanded on this theme—perhaps in a sequel called On the Origins and Ubiquity of Rare Species—the topic of rarity might have become more central to the scientific orthodoxy much earlier. For example, Darwin might have addressed the links between evolution and rarity on islands, the subject of this chapter, or the reasons why rarity is so widespread across all of Linnaus’s kingdoms, including every group from orchids to butterflies to hummingbirds. He did recognize that species are neither rare nor common because of some divine intervention or Biblical precept but because of how well they succeed at interacting with what their environment has to offer. Evolution is all around us, but often occurs more rapidly or is more easily visible on islands. From the Seychelles to Madagascar, Hawaii to New Caledonia, tropical islands serve up evolutionary insights disproportionate to their geographic size. Biologists launch expeditions to islands because they believe that with the reduced species pool often found there, and hopefully, limited historic intrusion by humans, it is easier to discern biological interactions among related species. In other words, they want to understand how nature works in less complex and less disturbed plant and animal communities compared to the complicated biology of many mainland habitats. This chapter explores how evolutionary mechanisms and geology strongly influence rarity on islands; indeed they help create it. The Isla Robinson Crusoe is a nice preamble to rarity with its native firecrown, but it is an island with a stripped-down fauna: only one mammal—the Juan Fernández fur seal, six terrestrial birds, and six seabirds. That’s it. A more revealing setting is the island of New Guinea where its fabled birds of paradise illustrate how evolutionary mechanisms and geological events lead to the separation of populations, and the surfacing of new species, a number of which earn the moniker of “rare.” Geological events are the harbingers of evolution. For example, on biologically-rich islands like New Guinea the mountain ranges have risen from the movement and contact of the Earth’s plates and uplifted, isolating populations of species and leading to new ones, which always start their existence as rare forms with a narrow range and low numbers.
But in order to truly understand rarity, another unique perspective is also essential—to observe how rarity, and its opposite, abundance, originates in the absence of human interference. Today, the challenge for biologists is to find that pristine island setting. Natural patterns of rarity and abundance on virtually all equatorial islands have become increasingly obscured by the destructive spread of invasive species, logging of native forests, conversion to agriculture, and other forms of development and exploitation. Darwin would be aghast at the Galápagos Islands in 2012. More than 30,000 people live on four of the main islands—the ones that hold the most number of species found nowhere else in the world. Exotic goats and rats threaten the very existence of iconic species like the giant tortoises that inspired his theory. If he were still alive, Wallace would be heartsick to learn that oil palm monocultures now stand where he once watched orangutans move through tall green rainforest canopies. The acclaimed botanist Joseph Banks would have a hard time finding the indigenous plants of Oahu that he first described while sailing with Captain Cook in 1778. And Isla Robinson Crusoe has been overrun by the usual followers of the first human settlers: goats, cattle, pigs, cats, dogs, rats, rabbits, and oddly, the raccoon-like coati mundi, the last species an inveterate bird egg hunter. A scientist in New Guinea, in contrast, can still observe the interplay of geology, evolution, and rarity in an undisturbed setting. The steep mountain walls, deep gorges, and numerous rivers create barriers that prevent recently arrived species from spreading about and swamping the local biota like on other tropical islands. Some of the high ranges even check the spread of humans. New Guinea is about twice the size of California but remains sparsely populated. With so few people—about 7 million inhabitants—and so much forest, there might even be places where people have never set foot. Among wild destinations, New Guinea surpasses even the island of Borneo as a mysterious outpost of unknown dimensions. The steep terrain, lack of roads, and few airstrips limit access into its isolated valleys. Flights along mist-cloaked mountain walls are fraught with danger. In 1991, an up-and-coming field biologist and colleague named Ian Craven perished when his small plane crashed in the mountains of the Bird’s Head Peninsula of the island’s far west. Then, of course, there is the famous disappearance of anthropologist Michael Rockefeller about 50 years ago somewhere on the south coast. Explorers of New Guinea know the risks: avoiding deadly strains of malaria; living on tinned mackerel and navy biscuits; not getting lost in the uncharted forest; and not getting eaten. The highlands are known for their fierce mountain clans who wage ritualized war with neighboring groups and occasionally dine on each other. Then there are the rewards. On my first trip in 1990, I carried along a copy of Birds of New Guinea by Bruce Beehler and Thane Pratt. The pages of the bird guide and Dale Zimmerman’s illustrations came to life when I saw and heard my first Magnificent Riflebird in a park outside 4
the capital. Upon my return, I finally met Bruce when he gave a lecture at the Smithsonian on his field studies of birds of paradise and bowerbirds. The workplace of my daydreams had been his real workplace. Our mutual interests in New Guinea’s unique flora and fauna led to more frequent contact. I grew envious listening to his stories about what he had observed, the birds of paradise, the cassowaries, the bowerbirds, giant fruit bats, the tree kangaroos, and his biological surveys into the most remote region of the planet. ***** The island of New Guinea is sometimes considered a small continent, at least by biologists, because of all of the species found there and nowhere else. New Guinea itself is politically divided—the western portion, Papua province of Indonesia, and the eastern half the sovereign nation of Papua New Guinea, or PNG for short. The political division obscures a common geography, similar rainforests, and shared cultures. Few islands are so mountainous, and the isolation created by these cordilleras, has had a profound effect not only on the evolution of the animal life but also human communication. Nearly one-fourth of all spoken languages on Earth are known from only New Guinea (about 1,100 true languages, not including dialects), and most spoken by fewer than 1,000 people. So languages, like birds of paradise or tree kangaroos, can also be labeled as endemic to a place. And perhaps, the same forces—geologic, geographic, and evolutionary—that resulted in so many tongues spoken by so few people might be related to why on this island there were so many species of widely different lineages that occupy such narrow ranges—a prime element of rarity. In the late summer of 2005, Bruce and I were planning a fall birding trip to Cape May, New Jersey. I received an excited last-minute message from him that he would have to bow out. “I can’t believe it,” he wrote. “After 25 years of trying, I have just been granted permission to bring a small research team into the Foja Mountains!” More than 20 years of guerilla war in Papua Province had prevented any field expeditions to this region. When Papua’s political troubles subsided in 2003, Bruce joined Stephen Richards of the South Australian Museum to try once more. Two years later, in October 2005, local villagers of the Kwerba and Papasena clans gave their permission for Bruce and his group to enter their homeland. If New Guinea is the ultimate destination for field biologists, then within it, the Fojas loom as the pinnacles of desire. The Foja mountain range was reportedly so inaccessible that humans never settled there. I had come to doubt whether places like the Fojas existed anymore; geographic outliers with no history of interlopers—gold miners, oil drillers, religious zealots, or armed guerillas—either seeking their fortune or an escape from modern society.
The purpose of Bruce’s expedition would be to survey the biota, including finding species new to science and others poorly known that he thought might be inhabiting this isolated range as a refuge. This range sits in the heart of Papua province and the Foja’s summits reach 2,200 meters above sea level. The surrounding 7,500 square kilometers is lightly inhabited by jungle-dwellers and lacks roads. Taken together, the vast landscape stands as the largest expanse of pristine forest in the tropical Pacific. Before Bruce’s expedition, the Foja Mountains were the highest of New Guinea’s north coastal ranges that remained inadequately surveyed for birds or any other group. Based on extensive research by Beehler and colleague Jared Diamond, it was evident that at least 225 breeding bird species inhabited the Fojas. That total included thirteen of the 40 species of birds of paradise, making the area remarkable in its avian biodiversity. The Fojas have a reputation for repelling outsiders. The legendary Secretary of the Smithsonian, S. Dillon Ripley, for whom Bruce had worked, had tried to approach them from the north in 1960. He failed, because the rivers were not navigable. In the late 1970s, both Beehler and Jared Diamond, a noted New Guinea bird expert long before penning his best-selling Guns, Germs, and Steel, raced to explore them. Diamond, through helicopter and grit, arrived first in 1979. He found a species that had eluded birders for seven decades. It was the “lost” Goldenfronted Bowerbird, and with his sighting he returned home to bask in ornithological glory. His find earned extensive press coverage and his technical paper reporting the rediscovery of the bowerbird became the cover article in Science. Bruce hypothesized that the Fojas might hold many species new to science, and some, that science had forgotten, the so called “lost species.” These were species not declared extinct, but ones that had not been seen in decades, a category of rarity but a half-step from oblivion. Bruce and Steve Richards assembled a team of crack naturalists who specialized on different taxa— birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, other insects, plants. These field naturalists would know in an instant whether a species was new for New Guinea and science, or a “lost” one. Several Papuan biology students joined the group to learn from the experts and help in the survey. They would be guided by local villagers from the Kwerba and Papasena tribes who lived in the Foja region. The guides were as excited as the biologists to explore this area. Not only were the Fojas not inhabited, but also—as far as they knew—it had never been part of their clans’ hunting territories. Some might wonder what new species of apes or monkeys might be awaiting discovery in the Fojas or if the researchers would need to be watchful for prowling leopards or tigers. If this were Sumatra, those concerns would be accurate. Tigers, leopards, apes, and monkeys, however, are part of the Indo-Malayan faunal realm. New Guinea sits east of Wallace’s line, a major demarcator separating the Indo-Malayan vertebrates from the Australian faunal realm. Alfred 6
Wallace was the first to identify this natural longitude, so the name celebrates his insight. Technically, Wallace’s Line falls between the islands of Bali and Lombok and divides the Indonesian archipelago in two. On one side of Wallace’s Line live animals of largely Asian origin; on the other those common to Australia. The lack of land bridges and the presence of deep ocean trenches precluded the mixing of faunas. Specifically, for the purpose of this chapter, Wallace’s Line separates primates on the western side and their ecological replacement—birds of paradise and tree kangaroos—on the eastern side, among many other segregations. Thus, in New Guinea, the birds of paradise and tree kangaroos have an expanded ecological role, taking the place of orangutans, gibbons, macaques, and leaf monkeys. Large terrestrial carnivores are another important absentee in New Guinea. Their range stopped further west in Bali (tigers) and Borneo (clouded leopards) because they too, could not cross deep water. Absent as well are the giant herbivores that the big cats prey upon. Most interesting are the distributional patterns of the two other major groups of vertebrates: amphibians and reptiles. Amphibians are abundant in New Guinea but some islands east of Wallace’s line are much more depauperate; they lack not only land mammals, but also amphibians. Other groups took their place. For example, in the absence of a tiger in New Caledonia, a gecko grew to a large size, almost a foot long, and became the top terrestrial predator on the island. The Komodo dragon is a more extreme example. On Komodo and a few nearby islands, terrestrial carnivores never arrived and so the monitor lizards grew very large to create a unique dinosaur-like ecosystem with a reptile as the apex predator, eating the other vertebrates. On Komodo, the science fiction movie is for real. This list of “missing” species and evolutionary oddities could go on and on. Island life isolation, and rarity are often interrelated, , and New Guinea is a prime example. The physical isolation comes from the moat formed by the South Pacific, the Torres Straits, and the Coral Sea prevented most terrestrial Asian species from reaching New Guinea. New Guinea has been connected at times by a land bridge to Australia but not since about 20,000 years ago. As we shall see in a moment, the internal geology of New Guinea took isolation to another level. But if all islands are to some degree physically isolated from a mainland, are all islands, by their very nature, repositories of rarities sharing extremely limited global ranges? Physical separation from a mainland, as it turns out, is but one of several factors that affect rarity, and can sometimes be misleading at face value. Other important factors are the distance from a mainland; how long the island has been isolated; and the size of and diversity of habitats found on the island. Typically, islands that separated from a mainland a long time ago, when the ancient continent of Gondwanaland split up, are considered continental islands. These include Madagascar, New Zealand, the Seychelles, New Guinea, and New Caledonia (off the northeast coast of Australia) 7
and are loaded with ancient endemic species, many rare, and most quite different from the closest mainland flora and fauna. Other island groups, like the Juan Fernández Islands are rather old, ranging from 1 to 6 million years of age, so one might expect more rare and endemic vertebrates to be found there. But the archipelago is far from the mainland, and few species made it out there. Finally, the temperate or Mediterranean-like climate of the islands, with strong seasonality may have been less conducive to the explosion of species we see on more tropical islands with a warm, wet, and stable climate. The fauna and flora of near-shore islands often tend to look quite similar to those on the mainland. They only recently separated and still within easy reach of mainland species that can fly or raft over on floating vegetation or whose seeds arrive on the winds. Habitat diversity also plays a key role. Some of the most diverse islands—such as New Caledonia, New Guinea, and Madagascar—are covered in mountain chains or bisected by plateaus. The rain shadow creates wet and dry forests in the windward sides and on the leeward sides of the islands, respectively, and here species occupy different types of habitats. Then there are islands with highly toxic soils, or abundant limestone, and in these unusual locales, plants and animals become even more restricted, occupying islands of habitat within true islands, or what are called narrow-ranged endemics. ***** Bruce’s expedition would be limited in size, and they already had a mammal specialist in mind, so I wasn’t counting on an invitation from him. After the expedition concluded, however, Bruce promised to share the details of his discoveries and his field notes with me, and to revisit his findings from a perspective of rarity and abundance. A tally of the Foja biota could assess the accuracy of how rarity is portrayed in the ecological textbooks—a few abundant species and lots of others represented by a few scattered individuals. Perhaps, absent humans, and especially local hunters, a different pattern would emerge. The team assembled in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, on November 8 th. Bruce spent the next three days waiting patiently for the final permits to be granted. At last the trip seemed a “go.” On November 12th the team flew from Java to Jayapura, the capital of Papua province. Jayapura is the city nearest to the Fojas. During three more days of untangling red tape with provincial bureaucrats, Bruce dealt with another worry. Until arriving in Papua, he had been unaware that helicopter service was so scarce. It was entirely possible that no transport would be available to lift the team in. To come this far, only to lose the sole mode of access to the summits would be a cruel blow.
Sales Information Transport Beyond Oil
Trim Size: 8.5 x 10 Pages: 328 Copyright: 2013
Policy Choices for a Multimodal Future John L. Renne and Billy Fields ISBN Hardcover
978-1-61091-041-5 $ 80.00
Island Press Short
Paperback 978-1-61091-043-9 $ 40.00
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OECD, International Transport Forum, Oil Dependence, OECD Publishing, $105.00 pb.
Sales Handle A game-changing vision for sustainable transportation in the U.S.
What is this book about? Seventy percent of the oil America uses each year goes to transportation. In Transport Beyond Oil, leading experts show how to slash that statistic and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Smarter development and land use decisions, paired with better transportation systems, can dramatically lower energy consumption. John Renne calculates how oil can be saved through a future with more transit-oriented development. Petra Todorovitch examines the promise of high speed rail. Peter Newman envisions 100% oil-free cities through the development of electric-transit, renewable natural gas, and other sustainable energy sources. Additional topics include funding transit, freight transport, and non-motorized transportation systems. Each chapter provides policy prescriptions and their measurable results. Transport Beyond Oil delivers practical solutions, based on quantitative data. This fact-based approach offers a new vision of travel that is both transformational and achievable. Seventy percent of the oil America uses each year goes to transportation. In Transport Beyond Oil, leading experts show how to slash that statistic and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Selling Points — Well-known transportation, economics, and land use planning from around the world contribute solutions to the long-term, systemic problems underlying America's oil dependence. — Rich, comprehensive information for academics, planners, and students on our energy and transportation future. — Provides clear policy recommendations for those looking for practical ways to decrease our dependence on oil through better transportation options.
Foreword Gil Carmichael Founding Chairman, Intermodal Transportation Institute, University of Denver and President, Missouth Properties Chapter 1: Introduction John Renne and Billy Fields Part 1 Petroleum Consumption Impacts Chapter 2: The Role of Transportation Driven Climate Disruption Deborah Gordon and David Burwell Policy Consultant and Author; Director of the Energy and Climate Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Chapter 3: Oil Vulnerability in the American City Neil Sipe and Jago Dodson Associate Professor, Griffith University (Australia); Associate Professor, Griffith University (Australia) Chapter 4: Full Cost Analysis of Petroleum Consumption Todd Litman Founder and Executive Director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute Part 2 Future Petroleum Consumption Trends Chapter 5: How Does Induced Travel Affect Sustainable Transportation Policy? Robert Noland and Christopher Hanson Professor and Director, Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, Rutgers University; Post Doctoral Research Associate, Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, Rutgers University Chapter 6: Moving Efficiently: An Assessment of the Technical Potential of Transportation Strategies to Save Oil Deron Lovaas and Joanne Potter Federal Tranpsortation Policy Director, Natural Resources Defense Council; Principal, Cambridge Systematics Part 3 Transportation and Oil Dependence: A Modal Analysis Chapter 7: The Role of Transit in Reducing Oil Dependence Rongfang (Rachel) Liu and Yi Deng Rachel Associate Professor, New Jersey Institute of Technology; Parsons Transportation Group Chapter 8: Public Transportation as a Solution to Oil Dependence Bradley Lane Assistant Professor, University of Texas at El Paso
Chapter 9: Taking the Car Out of Carbon: Mass Transit and Emission Avoidance Projjal Dutta Director of Sustainability Initiatives, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chapter 10: High-Speed Rail and Fossil Fuel Reduction Petra Todorovitch and Edward Burgess Director of America 2050 at the Regional Plan Association (RPA); Renewable Energy Engineering and Policy Specialist and Graduate Student, Arizona State University Chapter 11: Use of Alternative Fuels in Railways and its Impact on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Land Use Simon McDonnell and Jie (Jane) Lin Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Research, City University of New York; Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago Chapter 12: Healthy, Oil-Free Transportation: The Role of Walking and Bicycling in Reducing Oil Dependence Kevin Mills Vice President of Policy and Trail Development, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Chapter 13: Freight Transportation and Overcoming Oil Dependence Alan Drake Independent Researcher Part 4 Moving Forward Chapter 14: Imagining a Future Without Oil for Car Dependent Cities and Regions Peter Newman Professor and Director, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (Australia) Chapter 15: The Role of Transit Oriented Development and Walkable Urbanism in Reducing Oil Dependence John Renne Chapter 16: A Sustainability Report Card on Trends in Transport in U.S., Australian and International Cities, 1996-2006 Jeff Kenworthy Professor, Curtin University (Australia) and Guest Professor, Goethe University (Germany) Chapter 17: Policy Implications of the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program: Redefining the Transportation Solution Billy Fields and Tony Hull (Hull) Non-motorized Planning and Evaluation Analyst at Transit for Livable Communities in Minneapolis
Chapter 18: A Path Forward for America Billy Fields, John Renne and Kevin Mills
High-Speed Rail and Reducing Oil Dependence By Petra Todorovich and Eddie Burgess
In 2008-2009, the U.S. Congress passed a series of bills authorizing and appropriating funds to improve passenger rail in the United States, including building new high-speed rail systems of the sort that can only be experienced in European and Asian countries today. These funds added up to $10.1 billion in grants for passenger rail, of which $3.9 billion have been devoted to building a new, statewide, high-speed rail system in California. In total, 32 states have received planning or construction grants for passenger rail under the new High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program launched by the Obama Administration in 2009 (Figure x.1).
[Figure x.1 here]
However, the commitment of the U.S. Congress to this new program has been fickle. The 112th Congress charted a different course from the 111th, which had supported high-speed rail, providing no new funding for the high-speed and passenger rail program and recapturing funds left unspent by three new Republican governors who rejected projects that had been committed to by their predecessors. 1 Yet, despite the increased politicization of the program on Capitol Hill, and with the exception of those governors, the program has enjoyed wide support. Thirty-nine states sought and applied for funding from the new high-speed rail program, proposing projects with costs adding up to $75 billion. Rail ridership in the United States has grown as well. Amtrak posted its most
robust year of ridership in 2011, carrying 30.2 million passengers â€“ the highest number of passengers since it started providing service in 1971 (Amtrak 2011) (Figure x.2).
[Figure x.2 here]
The recent funding commitment by the federal government, participation in its rail program by 32 states, and growing passenger rail ridership volumes, suggest that interest in expanding passenger rail in America is likely to outlast the current political opposition at the Congressional level. Accordingly, the role of passenger rail and particularly, high-speed, electrified rail is examined in this chapter for the role it can play in contributing to reducing Americaâ€™s dependence on oil and environment-threatening air pollution.
Oil Dependence, Air Pollution, and Intercity Travel The passenger transportation sector is unmistakably the largest component of U.S. oil consumption (Figure x.3). Additionally, passenger transportation energy provided by fossil fuel combustion (primarily of petroleum products) contributes significantly to local and regional air pollution as well as global greenhouse gas emissions (Figure x.4).
[Figure x.3 here] [Figure x.4 here]
Thus, determining which forms of transportation infrastructure can deliver passenger travel while minimizing energy consumption is a key problem for planners, engineers, and policy-makers seeking to reduce oil dependence and mitigate environmental impacts. In particular, transportation infrastructure projects with long lifetimes (such as airports, highways, and railroads) should be given careful consideration before their construction, since these capital investments could alter day-to-day transportation choices for decades or longer. The vast majority of passenger travel in the United States consists of daily (i.e. local) travel. However, intercity travel makes up a disproportionate share of total miles traveled, due to the longer average distance per trip. Recent survey estimates suggest that long-distance trips make up about a third of the total distance traveled by passengers in the United States, while the intercity fraction of total trips is much lower (Hu & Reuscher, 2004; U.S. Department Of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2006). 2 From an energy perspective, reducing the negative impacts of long-distance intercity travel poses a unique challenge since options for alternative travel modes are limited. Many policies have been proposed to reduce the impact of transportation by targeting modes that currently supply passenger travel. These policies aim to lower energy consumption and carbon emissions via improvements in vehicle technologies and fuels. Fewer policies focus on addressing the demand side of the transportation sector, by shifting passenger travel demand towards lower impact through reduction in trip length, more efficient land-use, and emphasizing public transportation. One exception to this is the public support for high-speed rail, which has been promoted by the U.S. Department
of Transportation as a means to address both oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions (LaHood, 2010; U.S. Department Of Transportation, 2009). In this context, this chapter considers the potential for high-speed rail as a solution to reducing emissions and oil consumption from U.S. passenger travel. We demonstrate that high-speed rail has theoretical advantages, in terms of direct energy utilization, over other possible transportation modes. However the extent of this advantage and the subsequent potential for high-speed rail to have a direct impact on oil and emissions is highly dependent on a variety of other factors, and may be much smaller than some proponents suggest. Moreover we comment on prospects for high-speed rail to bolster a more efficient transportation network and provide other benefits.
Overall Market Potential for High-Speed Rail
The potential for high-speed rail to directly reduce total oil consumption and emissions in the United States is constrained by the fraction of passenger travel demand that this mode is able to accommodate â€“ specifically intercity trips, probably in the 100 to 800 mile range. This excludes most daily trips, which as previously mentioned, constitute the bulk of U.S. passenger travel (approximately 67 percent of U.S. person-miles traveled), as well as longer distance trips (approximately 18 percent), such as crosscountry airplane flights. Thus, the remaining 15 percent of current person-miles traveled constitutes a reasonable upper bound of passenger travel high-speed rail might theoretically serve. Scenario analyses can provide more detail into the potential for highspeed rail to address the dual challenges of oil consumption and greenhouse gas
emissions. According to one recent scenario analysis, the potential for CO 2 reductions from large-scale high-speed rail investment is on the order of one percent . These estimates suggest that the direct benefits from high-speed rail in terms of overall energy and emissions may be modest. However, these analyses also neglect the indirect impacts in terms of land-use and city-centering, which may be large and are difficult to measure and attribute. It is our view that these indirect benefits may be more important than any direct reduction in energy utilization as passengers choose high-speed rail over alternative travel modes. Notwithstanding this limited market potential, the following sections provide a more detailed comparison of high-speed rail and other transportation modes in terms of its direct energy and emissions tradeoffs.
Comparing Energy Consumption of Travel Modes
Any attempt to compare the merits of publicly funded transportation infrastructure projects should employ a common framework to evaluate the operational costs and benefits of these projects. Ideally this framework would consider external social costs such as the projectâ€™s contribution to environmental damage (i.e. pollution) and oil dependence. This can be a challenge since these external costs are seldom included in the private cost of transportation service provision. Furthermore, transportation infrastructure is heavily subsidized and the demand for constructing new roads, railways, and airports may not reflect its true value of each mode if these external costs were included. Since many of these external costs are broadly associated with energy consumption, one
possible comparison metric (one that is often used in life-cycle assessment studies) is the amount of energy consumed, e.g. megajoules (MJ), per passenger distance traveled, e.g. passenger kilometers traveled (PKT). We will employ this metric (MJ/PKT) to provide a general sense of how transportation investments (particularly high-speed rail) rank in terms of minimizing oil consumption and environmental damages. It must be noted, however, that equivalent distances for passenger modes may not be equivalent in terms of services provided; values such as flexibility, speed, accessibility, and comfort are not considered in the simplistic assessment provided by MJ/PKT. Nonetheless, the authors believe that a comparative approach through MJ/PKT can highlight some key tradeoffs for policy makers to consider among possible transportation investments.
Physical Energy Requirements for Intercity Vehicle Operation
At a minimum, the energy inputs needed to power a vehicle must be sufficient enough to overcome the fundamental physical forces resisting motion, such as friction (rolling resistance), aerodynamic drag, and inertia. 3 The fundamental physical forces necessary for travel are in turn dictated by characteristics such as vehicle weight, speed, drag-coefficients, etc. As an illustration of this, figure x.5 shows how energy requirements scale up with increasing speed for a theoretical high-speed train. Despite the fact that energy use increases exponentially with train speed, empirical measurements have suggested that high-speed trains can achieve lower energy use per PKM than
regional trains due to greater investment in energy efficient technologies and operations (Alvarez, 2010). [Figure x.5 here]
Overall energy consumption in vehicle technologies is not only subject to these physical energy requirements but also inefficiencies during energy conversion from the energy source (e.g. from the electric wire or the gasoline tank) to the engine or motor and ultimate the wheels. As an example of this conversion inefficiency, consider the automobile schematic in figure x.6.
[Figure x.6 here]
As the diagram illustrates, engine inefficiencies cause large energy losses resulting in only about 30 percent energy conversion efficiency from the fuel tank to the driveline (R. U. Ayres, Ayres, & Warr, 2003). By comparison, electric trains employ highly efficient inductive motor technologies that are frequently near thermodynamic limits. One estimate suggests that power conversion efficiencies on trains are on the order of 85 percent (Nolte & W端rtenberger, 2003). These estimates suggest that there may be relatively more room for efficiency improvements in automobiles than in trains. While it is possible to foresee incremental improvements in many vehicle characteristics (such as more streamlined trains to reduce drag, or lightweight materials to reduce train mass), there are practical limitations to improvements beyond a certain point. For instance, drag cannot be eliminated entirely and will always create a limitation for vehicle energy use, especially those travelling at high speeds.
These physical realities constrain the degree to which vehicle improvements alone can reduce energy utilization. For high-speed rail, one of the most promising technologies for reduced energy consumption appears to be regenerative braking (Gunselmann, 2005). Current estimates show that 35-40 percent of kinetic energy normally lost to braking can be recovered through this technology (Hillmansen & Roberts, 2007; Ishida & Iwakura, 1998). Even greater energy recovery might be achievable with advances in energy storage technology (Miller & Peters, 2006). Assuming incremental improvements towards a thermodynamic minimum energy usage for trains, opportunities to improve energy utilization may still exist by improving the passenger loading of trains. Additionally the oil content of the fuel can be reduced through replacement with biofuels or electrification.
Energy Comparisons of Transportation Modes
Due to varying physical parameters, conversion efficiencies, and life-cycle costs, passenger transportation modes have drastically different energy use per vehiclekilometer traveled. Public transportation modes with larger, heavier vehicles that create more aerodynamic drag (such as trains and airplanes) unsurprisingly require much larger energy expenditures per miles traveled. However, these differences can be made up for by the ability to spread these expenditures out over a greater number of passengers. As such, the energy and emissions performance of many transportation modes are highly dependent on passenger load factors. In one of the most comprehensive comparisons to date (Chester, 2010), energy use and emissions were evaluated across various transportation modes. High-speed rail was found to vary from <1 MJ/PKT for a very
high-occupancy scenario (100 percent seats full) to >7 MJ/PKT for a very low occupancy (10 percent of seats full) scenario. This compares to energy use just below 2 MJ/PKT for automobiles just above 2 MJ/PKT for airplanes at their average occupancies. This illustrates that high occupancy trains have the capacity to outperform other transportation modes, but the same trains may underperform if load factors are too low to yield a superior MJ/PKM value.
Technological Progress and Carbon Emissions for Vehicle Operation
While this and other life-cycle studies have made great headway into understanding the full impact of transportation on resources and the environment, it is also important to recognize that these comparisons are not static. By focusing on the underlying vehicle technology, our intention is to illustrate that impacts are not set in stone and will change over time as technology improves or ridership patterns change. Vehicle technology evolution within the lifetime of large infrastructure projects can alter the relative advantage of each transportation mode. For example, private automobiles are currently subject to CAFE standards related to fuel efficiency (MPG) that will change the performance of these vehicles over time (assuming these policies are maintained by future elected and appointed officials). To grasp the effect of technological change on high-speed railâ€™s energy and emissions performance, it is helpful to compare forecasts of different types of passenger vehicle technologies. The comparison illustrated in Figure x.7, is based on forecasts for
the following five transportation modes (methodology and assumptions for these results are presented in more detail in Burgess 2011).: 1. Personal automobiles: fuel economy derived from AEO 2011 CAFĂ‰6 scenario for on-road MPG of vehicle fleet; 2. Aircraft: derived from projections in Lee (2001) for improvements in airplane fuel efficiency (extrapolated through 2050). 3. High-speed rail with low carbon energy source; modeled forecast from Burgess (2011), representative of electricity sources in California. 4. High-speed rail with high carbon energy source; modeled forecast from Burgess (2011), representative of electricity sources in the Midwest United States. 5. Battery electric vehicle: based on current technologies and no modeled improvements and electricity sources in California.
[Figure x.7 here]
The results illustrate that even under scenarios with significant technological improvements, rail modes can potentially outperform other modes. However, as explained previously, the extent of this advantage depends heavily upon the passenger load factor and other operational parameters. The most important operational factors determining the outcome of train performance include load factor, train capacity,
maximum speed, and acceleration/deceleration (in turn, affected by the frequency of stops, operating profile, and presence of regenerative braking). As mentioned above, passenger load factors (i.e. ridership) have an outsized influence over the per capita performance of transportation modes compared to other factors. Thus investments in rail routes with low potential for ridership are likely to underperform or even be detrimental in terms of energy use and emissions. Furthermore these operational estimates exclude life-cycle impacts of high-speed rail and the energy and emissions footprint associated with construction.
Life-cycle impacts & Payback Times for Carbon Emissions So far our discussion of transportation energy consumption has focused exclusively on operational impacts. However, for infrastructure intensive projects such as high-speed rail lines, highways, and airports, it is paramount that planners include the full life-cycle impacts of these projects. Indeed, no advantage in operational energy consumption would be meaningful if it is outweighed by the upfront energy footprint from construction. Construction materials such as concrete, steel, power systems, etc., embody significant energy and emissions footprints that occur well in advance of any possible reductions. One way of accounting for these life-cycle costs is to spread them over each PKT in the life of the project (this approach is discussed further in the following section). Alternatively, a payback period assessment is one way to consider these initial inputs and determine how beneficial the investment may be in the long run. A variety of factors can influence the energy payback period of high-speed rail, most notably the ridership of the system.
For instance, one study showed that the proposed California high-speed rail line could have an energy payback time of eight years under a high-ridership scenario (and low ridership among other modes), but under a low ridership scenario, the construction energy inputs may never achieve payback. Another recent study (Burgess, 2011) focusing on carbon emissions shows a similar result, with the payback time for the initial balance of carbon emissions depending most importantly on ridership but also on other factors like vehicle technology and operations (Figure x.8).
[Figure x.8 here] The high-speed rail system initially contributes a net positive contribution to CO 2 emissions due to life-cycle emissions embedded in construction materials. After operation commences (indicated by vertical dashed line), passengers switching to highspeed rail from other modes leads to a gradual reduction in cumulative emissions relative to business-as-usual. This is the contribution that can be attributed to the high-speed rail system. The net emissions gradually decrease until achieving a payback several years later. The modeled results shown in the figure above are detailed in (Burgess, 2011) and represent the following scenarios: 1) California baseline scenario using assumptions in California high-speed rail planning efforts as of 2010 (solid grey); 2) California baseline with less favorable performance in train technology and operations (dashed blue); 3) California baseline with 50 percent fewer riders than current projections (dotted red).
Ridership Diversion and Induced Travel
Another important concept for planners to focus on is that high-speed rail, in isolation, contributes its own footprint to energy consumption and carbon emissions. In theory this operational footprint is offset by reduction of travel in other modes, thereby providing a net reduction in energy and emissions. However, this reduction may not materialize in the event that high-speed rail lines are primarily occupied by â€œinduced travel,â€? where new trips occur that would not have previously occurred. Assuming high-speed rail has an advantage over other modes in terms of per capita energy consumption, then this benefit is only achieved if there is some diversion of travel (either current or future additional travel) from one mode to high-speed rail. In other words, if the passengers choosing to travel via high-speed rail do not detract from travel on other modes, then high-speed rail will have no net effect on oil consumption or environmental impacts. Indeed, this may be possible if the ridership on high-speed rail line is solely additional to existing travel demand. Some forecasts for high-speed rail (for instance, in the Northeast Corridor, e.g. Amtrak 2010) demonstrate a very high induced travel demand, suggesting that many riders will represent additional travel growth but will not mitigate current oil consumption or environmental impacts by reducing the number of automobiles on the road. Assuming high-speed rail has an advantage over other modes in terms of per capita energy consumption, this benefit is only achieved if there is maximum diversion of travel from alternative modes to high-speed rail. In a growing economy, some increase in travel is likely to be inevitable, and decisions must be made about what type of infrastructure should be built to accommodate this new travel. In this context, induced travel on lower-intensity modes, such as high-
speed rail may be preferable if they provide a relative advantage over induced travel on alternative modes (i.e. new highway construction). However, itâ€™s important to recognize that the infrastructure may not bring absolute reductions in energy and emissions. Thus we stress the importance of making infrastructure decisions that reflect a fair comparison across modes. Another advantage high-speed rail offers is the potential to reduce secondary trips. The spatial requirements of airport runways tend to put them on the outskirts of a city and require additional trips via automobile or public transit (if available). However, high-speed rail has the unique advantage of transporting passengers directly to the city center and closer to likely destination points and transit systems.
Vehicle Electrification and Primary Energy Sources
An important conclusion drawn from the forecasts in Figure x.7 is that high-speed rail only has a slim advantage over private automobiles if battery electric vehicles are widely adopted. This outcome is likely to take some time due to the slow turnover rate of the onroad vehicle fleet. 4 However, it reveals the impact that vehicle electrification has on reducing carbon emissions (and oil consumption) whether accomplished via private (i.e. automobiles) or public (i.e. rail) means.
If reduction in domestic oil consumption is considered to be an important social goal, then the potential for electrification of long-distance travel is a primary advantage that high-speed rail offers over internal combustion engine vehicles and airplanes. One exception to this advantage is battery electric vehicles (e.g. Nissan Leaf).
The scenario shown in figure x.7 is likely to take some time to evolve due to the slow turnover rate of the on-road vehicle fleet. 5 However, it reveals the general impact that vehicle electrification has on reducing carbon emissions (and oil consumption) whether accomplished via private (i.e. automobiles) or public (i.e. rail) means. Currently battery electric vehicles that are ready for wide-scale market adoption are not capable of traveling long distances required for intercity travel. However, some technology providers are poised to overcome this obstacle through improvements in battery technology6 or the addition of battery-swap stations. 7 In the United States, diesel locomotives currently power most intercity rail routes. However, globally, most high-speed rail systems are electric. While incremental improvements to current diesel powered systems are likely to continue in the near term, a transition to true high-speed rail in the United States would likely necessitate electrification, and bring with it the associated costs and benefits of this transition. It is important to remember that electrification of intercity travel does not displace energy demand, but merely shifts it to the electric power system. Thus, a complete costbenefit assessment of high-speed rail or other transportation system must include the resource and environmental impacts of this additional demand on the electric grid. Since the 1970s, the United States has largely eliminated the use of petroleum as a primary energy source for electric power. Thus electrification of transportation could go a long way towards reducing oil consumption. However, the overall impact on emissions is less clear cut. Currently, there are large regional disparities in primary energy sources of electric power in the United States. For instance, the Midwest largely relies on coal-fired power plants while the Pacific Northwest relies largely on hydro-electric power plants.
Thus, a unit of electricity produced in these two places could have much different costs in terms of air pollution and carbon emissions produced. The interconnected nature of the electricity grid and the inability to attribute electrons to their generation source makes the true impacts of electricity difficult to determine at any point in space or time. Even states with strong support for renewable energy often import large amounts of non-renewable sources, such as coal, from out of state. Recent attempts have been made to take these imports into account and still suggest a strong regional variability in electric emissions intensity (Marriott, Matthews, & Hendrickson, 2010). Thus regions with lower carbon fuel mix, and strong renewable portfolio standards, may be better targets for high-speed rail deployment if emissions reduction is seen as a desirable policy outcome.
Variations in Market Demand and Energy Use by Region
Regional factors, such as population density and land use patterns, also may influence ridership demand for high-speed rail services, which in turn impacts the operational energy efficiency and lifecycle benefits of high-speed in reducing oil use and carbon emissions. A recent study evaluated the relative potential market demand for passenger rail service on existing rail rights of way in the United States, by evaluating a set of criteria that measured land use, demographic, and transportation infrastructure characteristics (Todorovich and Hagler, 2011). The authors weighted factors such as regional populations, concentrations of employment in central business districts, transit connectivity of the population and employment, and congestion on competing modes, to
create an equation that measured potential market demand for high-speed rail on close to 8,000 rail corridors in the United States (Figure x.9; Todorovich and Hagler, 2011).
[Figure x.9 here] This study suggested a framework for evaluating regional differences that may contribute to demand for rail services. These regional differences impacting ridership demand also make a difference in the number of secondary trips associated with the location of a rail station with in the region. For instance, for two regions of comparable population size, but different land development patterns, the rail station at the center of the more centralized region served by public transit is likely to result in fewer secondary auto trips than the rail station located in the decentralized region with ample parking and convenient to highway access, which would act more like an airport in the number of auto trips it generates. This concept can be illustrated in the comparison of Philadelphia and Houston (Todorovich and Hagler, 2011), below, two regions of roughly six million people, with very different spatial development patterns at their city cores. As shown in figure x.10, approximately 220,000 people live within two miles of Philadelphia’s 30th Street rail station. This contrasts with the center of the Houston’s region (lacking a central train station, the authors used the center of the region’s downtown as the center point) in which 72,000 people live, roughly one-third of the population around Philadelphia’s train station. This difference in population density and transit networks, also shown in figure x.10, suggests that high-speed rail connecting to Philadelphia’s train station would be more readily accessed by pedestrian trips, public transit, and short car trips, compared to Houston, where the majority of access would likely be by automobile,
no matter where in the region the station may be located. Thus, much in the way that regional differences in energy supply will impact the carbon footprint of high-speed rail operations, so will regional difference in population density and land development patterns impact the number of secondary auto trips associated with high-speed rail, and thus its ability to reduce oil demand.
[Figure x.10 here] Taking this reasoning one step further, locational decisions of high-speed rail stations within their regional context may also have an impact on the pollution and energy-reducing potential of high-speed rail. There are examples in Europe (Avignon, France and Camp-de-Tarragona, Spain, for example) in which high-speed rail stations were located on the edge or periphery of cities or small towns, with ample parking and minimal or no pedestrian or transit access. In addition to generating relatively low ridership, these stations have had little impact on land use patterns, failing to attract development around the station (Todorovich, Schned, and Lane, 2011). Due to the energy and carbon efficiencies of dwellings and transportation patterns in urban areas, we assume that intensified land development around train stations would provide a benefit over stations located in peripheral areas where the potential for compact development that makes use of existing infrastructure is less. High-speed rail can encourage more compact development patterns around station areas, but as shown below, concerted strategies must be applied to ensure the new station has an impact on urban redevelopment.
Impact of High-Speed Rail Stations on Urban Revitalization 18
There is ample evidence in European case studies of high-speed rail stations acting as catalysts for urban revitalization in central city core or edge areas (Bertolini and Spit 1998). These benefits are often experienced when a conventional rail system is upgraded to high-speed rail, and the associated improvements to the infrastructure and station, such as tunneling or bridging over rails and rail yards, create new space in urban centers for commercial development and public realm improvements (Ribalayguay and GarcĂa 2010). It is important to note however, that these benefits are not due to provision of rail infrastructure alone, but dependent on a set of strategies that contribute to successfully maximizing the impact of high-speed rail on urban revitalization. In a study of six European high-speed rail stations, Ribalayguay and GarcĂa (2010) distill three types of successful strategies in promoting urban revitalization with high-speed rail interventions: prevision strategies; project strategies; and promotion strategies. Prevision strategies refer to actions that anticipate the physical needs around the rail station, such as reserving land for commercial development, transportation connections to the center city, and/or zoning and policies to allow development around the train station. Project strategies refer to the characteristics of the rail service, such as timetables, frequency, prices, the new station itself, and urban design around the station; and promotion strategies refer to actions that promote the rail service, including marketing the rail service and tax incentives and policies geared toward tourism and real estate sectors (Ribalayguay and GarcĂa 2010). While these examples are gathered from older cities in Europe, it is likely that with similar concerted strategies, high-speed rail could act as an anchor for development in newer, fast growing regions like those in California and Texas, or play a virtually identical role in older cities in the Northeast and 19
Midwest, where a high-speed rail station could reinvigorate the image of a city and anchor redevelopment strategies. In summary, Ribalayguay and GarcĂa found that high-speed railâ€™s impact on urban revitalization is not automatic. Rather, only with a set of focused strategies, including setting aside land for new, intensified development and attracting it with appropriate policies or enticements, has high-speed rail been shown to impact land use change. We infer that the intensification of land uses that can result around high-speed rail stations would result in more energy efficient structures and travel patterns that also support walking, transit use, and lowered demand for auto trips. When viewed in this context, high-speed rail can be considered one additional strategy that complements city living and affirms city cores as the primary location for business activities, resulting in more efficient transportation choices.
Conclusions and Potential for HSR to Contribute to Reductions in Oil Consumption and Emissions High-speed rail has the potential to outperform other transportation modes in terms of oil consumption and emissions. In particular, it provides the advantage of electrification for intercity travel. However, any expectation regarding these benefits from high-speed rail deployment must be tempered by certain realities: 1. The overall potential for HSR to directly reduce transportation impacts is limited by the small fraction of travel taking place in appropriate intercity travel corridors compared to the overall market for passenger transportation.
2. In order to adequately reduce fossil fuel consumption trains must have high load factors and be sited in locations with high potential for ridership attracted from alternative modes. Such locations are likely to include dense, transit-connected corridors, with a high propensity for passengers to switch to high-speed rail from other modes. 3. Electric energy sources be powered by renewable energy sources. 4. Criteria for assessing high-speed rail deployment should consider the possibility of diminished advantage as technology evolves (particularly in the advent of improvements to and adoption of battery electric vehicles). 5. Compared to automobiles, train technology may have less opportunity for efficiency improvements. However, there is still much room for improved energy use per passenger mile, particularly through the following:
Increased load factors
Less frequent stops
Lower maximum speed
Finally, the bulk of high-speed rail benefits in terms of energy and emissions may come from indirect effects on land-use, secondary trips, etc. These are areas for further research and should be seen as crucial to understanding the full public policy benefits of high-speed rail.
Principles of Ecological Landscape Design
Trim Size: 8.5 x 10 Pages: 269 Copyright: 2013
Travis Beck ISBN
978-1-59726-701-4 $ 80.00 Paperback 978-1-59726-702-1 $ 40.00
Discount Island Press Short Island Press Short
Season Fall 2012 Fall 2012
Bookstore Categories ARCHITECTURE / Landscape ARCHITECTURE / Landscape
Sue Reed, Energy-Wise Landscape Design, New Society Publishers, 2009, $29.95 pb. Claire E. Sawyers, The Authentic Garden, Timber Press, 2007, $34.95 hc. W. Gary Smith, From Art to Landscape, Timber Press, 2010, $39.95 hc.
Sales Handle A groundbreaking guide to greening landscape architecture
What is this book about? Today, there is a growing demand for designed landscapes—from public parks to backyards—to be not only beautiful and functional, but also sustainable. With Principles of Ecological Landscape Design, Travis Beck gives professionals and students the first book to translate the science of ecology into design practice. An ecological design may incorporate restoration of degraded ecosystems, but it does not principally seek to put things back the way they were. Ecological landscape design is for those growing areas where there is no going back to the way things were. It aims instead to go forward, to apply our knowledge of nature to create high-performing landscapes in which our design goals and natural processes go hand in hand. This groundbreaking work explains key ecological concepts and their application to the design and management of sustainable landscapes. It covers topics such as biogeography, plant populations and communities, ecosystem management, preserving or encouraging biodiversity, considering insects and animals, and landscape ecology.
Selling Points — With the increased focus on landscapes in rating systems (LEED Sustainable Sites), there is great demand for a guide that takes ecological concepts and explains to a design audience how the concepts can be applied. — Visually appealing and thoughtfully presented, the author presents important ecological concepts followed immediately by a design application of the concept. — The author is a Landscape and Gardens Project Manager with the New York Botanical Garden who has experience in both ecology and design.
Table of Contents Introduction Chapter One: Right Plant, Right Place: Biogeography and Plant Selection Chapter Two: Beyond Massing: Working with Plant Populations and Communities Chapter Three: The Struggle for Coexistence: On Competition and Assembling Tight Communities Chapter Four: Complex Creations: Designing and Managing Ecosystems Chapter Five: Maintaining the World as We Know It: Biodiversity for High-functioning Landscapes Chapter Six: The Stuff of Life: Promoting Living Soils and Healthy Waters Chapter Seven: The Birds and the Bees: Integrating Other Organisms Chapter Eight: When Lightning Strikes: Counting on Disturbance, Planning for Succession Chapter Nine: An Ever Shifting Mosaic: Landscape Ecology Applied Chapter Ten: No Time Like the Present: Creating Landscapes for an Era of Global Change Bibliography
Chapter One: Right Plant, Right Place: Biogeography and Plant Selection
It is often said that the secret to good horticulture is putting the right plant in the right place. By matching plants to their intended environment, a designer helps to ensure that the plants will be healthy, grow well, and require a minimum of care. Too often designers force plants into the wrong places—putting large trees that thrive in extensive floodplains into confining tree pits; planting roses that require full sun in spindliness-inducing shade. Or we try to create a generically “perfect” garden environment, with rich soils and regular moisture, for a wide-ranging collection of plants, some of which may actually prefer more stringent conditions (see Work with Regional Soils, p.xxx). Whether we do these things from ignorance, in conformance with established practices, or because our focus is on aesthetic qualities or our associations with certain plants, the too frequent result is struggling plantings, ongoing horticultural effort, and the dominance of familiar generalist species. An ecological approach to landscape design takes the fundamental horticultural precept— right plant, right place—and views it through a biogeographical lens. Where do plants grow, and why do they grow there? How many degrees of native are there? What are the relative roles of environmental adaptation and historical accident? Selecting plants according to biogeographical principles can help us create designed landscapes that will thrive and sustain themselves. Such landscapes celebrate their region and fit coherently into the larger environment. Of course, these landscapes can also be beautiful. Let us begin, then, with that fundamental ecological question: Why is this plant growing here?
Plants Are Adapted to Different Environments Five hundred million years ago the earthâ€™s landmasses were devoid of life. Then, scientists speculate, ancestral relatives of todayâ€™s mosses began to grow along moist ocean margins, and eventually on land itself. To survive out of water, these primitive plants had to evolve structures to support themselves out of water, ways to avoid drying out, and the ability to tolerate a broader range of temperatures. As they evolved, plants diversified and spread into every imaginable habitat, from deserts to wetlands, and from the tropics to the arctic. Today, there are over 300,000 plant species on our planet (May 2000). Plant diversity and the diversity of habitats on earth are closely related. Natural landscapes are composed of heterogeneous patches, each of which presents a different environment (see Landscapes are Made of Heterogeneous Patches and are Arranged in Nested Hierarchies, p.xxx). At the largest scale are deserts and rainforests. At the smallest scale are warm sunny spots and wet depressions. Charles Darwin proposed in The Origin of Species in 1859 that: The more diversified the descendants from any one species become in structure, constitution, and habits, by so much will they be better enabled to seize on the many and widely diversified places in the polity of nature, and so be enabled to increase in numbers. Plants have been able to move into so many different environments because they have developed many means of adapting. Consider plant adaptations to two critical environmental variables: temperature and the availability of water. Temperature affects nearly all plant processes, including photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, and growth. Very high temperatures can disrupt metabolism, and denature proteins.
Low temperatures can reduce photosynthesis and growth to perilously low levels, and damage plant tissues as ice forms within and between cells. Plants that grow in high temperature regions may have reflective leaves, or leaves that orient themselves parallel to the sunâ€™s rays in order to not build up heat. Some use the alternate C4 photosynthetic pathway, which can continue to operate efficiently at high temperatures. Plants in cold regions have developed bud dormancy, and may grow slowly over several seasons before producing seed. They have high concentrations of soluble sugars in their cells to act as natural antifreeze, and they are able to accommodate intercellular ice without experiencing damage. Plants that are adapted to grow well in wet, moist, and dry conditions are called, respectively, hydrophytes, mesophytes, and xerophytes. Hydrophytes have to provide oxygen to their flooded roots, which they do through a variety of mechanisms, including by developing spongy, air-filled tissue between the stems and the roots, or by growing structures like knees that bring oxygen directly to the roots (Figure 1.1). Many hydrophytes also have narrow flexible leaves to avoid damage from moving water. Xerophytes, on the other hand, exhibit adaptations to lack of water like reduced leaf area, deep roots, water storage in their tissues, and use of an alternate photosynthetic pathway that allows them to open the stomata on their leaves only in the cool of night (Figure 1.2). [Figures 1.1 and 1.2 here] Because of 500 million years of evolution and the diversity of habitats open to colonization, the planet is now filled with plants adapted to nearly every combination of environmental variables.
Choose Plants that are Adapted to the Local Environment
Because plants exhibit such a wide range of natural adaptations, we need not struggleâ€” expending both limited resources and our collective energyâ€”against the environment we find ourselves in to make it a better home for ill-suited plants. Using biogeography as our guide, we can always identify plants ready-made for the conditions at hand. Gardeners, nursery owners, and landscape designers have long recognized that plants illsuited to the temperature extremes of the place where they are planted are unlikely to survive their first year in the ground. The United States Department of Agriculture has codified this knowledge in a map of hardiness zones, which was updated in 2012 (see Figure 1.3). Hardiness zones represent the average annual minimum temperature, that is to say the coldest temperature a plant in that zone could expect to experience. There are thirteen hardiness zones, ranging from one in the interior of Alaska (experiencing staggering winter minimums of below minus fifty degrees Fahrenheit), to thirteen on Puerto Rico (experiencing winter minimums of barely sixty degrees Fahrenheit). Plants are rated as to the lowest zone in which they can survive. Balsam fir (Abies balsamea), for instance, is hardy to zone three. The hardiest species of Bougainvillea are hardy only to zone nine. Plants are sometimes given a range (zones three to six, for example). While hardiness, strictly speaking, only refers to ability to survive minimum temperatures, the practice of indicating a range serves as shorthand for the overall temperatures in which a plant will grow. The American Horticultural Society (2012) has also prepared a map of heat zones for the United States, indicating the number of days above eighty-six degrees Fahrenheit that a region experiences on average per year. Catalog descriptions of landscape plants may include reference to these heat zones, as well as to the more common hardiness zones. [Figure 1.3 here]
Given the wide acceptance of hardiness zones, it is somewhat surprising that similar thinking applied to water requirements for plants has developed only within the past few decades. Perhaps this is due to the ease of meeting the needs of some plants for more water with irrigation. Or perhaps it is due to the deep influence of English gardening traditions in the United States and expectations of what a cultivated landscape should look like. Regardless of geographical constraints, our nationwide default residential landscape is water-hungry lawns and summer-flowering borders. Many regions of North America are in fact too dry, or receive precipitation too unevenly, to support this kind of designed landscape without major inputs of water. In San Diego, for example, more than half of all residential water is used to irrigate lawns and landscapes (Generoso 2002). Using water this way can deplete aquifers, damage habitat in areas from which water is drawn, decrease local agricultural production, and leave our landscapes vulnerable to dessication when water restrictions go into effect. The negative consequences of landscape irrigation and the countervailing benefits of water conservation motivated Denver Water (the water department in Denver, Colorado) to introduce Xeriscaping in 1981. Xeriscape, from the Greek word xeros, for dry, emphasizes grouping plants in the landscape according to their water needs (Weinstein 1999). Not surprisingly, many Xeriscapes feature xerophytes, plants with low water requirements. Denver is a semi-arid environment, getting on average around 14” of precipitation a year, as compared to about 35” to 40” a year in most areas east of the Mississippi. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) lawns, shade trees, and most common garden plants require additional water to survive. At their former home, Panayoti and Gwen Kelaidis ambitiously replaced their entire front lawn with plants well-adapted to Denver’s semi-aridity. These include sulfur-flower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum), soapweed (Yucca glauca), and partridge feather
(Tanacetum densum ssp. amani). Today, twenty years later, these plants are still thriving with no supplemental irrigation (Figure 1.4). Selecting plants that are adapted to the temperatures and available water of the environment in which they will be placed is a fundamental step in creating an ecological landscape.
[Figure 1.4 here]
Biomes Describe the Broad Character of a Regionâ€™s Vegetation In late July, 1799, Alexander von Humboldt, a German naturalist traveling aboard a Spanish vessel with the French botanist AimĂŠ Bonpland came to the bow for his first glimpse of the shore of South America (Humboldt 1814-1825). He wrote: Our eyes were fixed on the groups of cocoa-trees which border the river: their trunks, more than sixty feet high, towered over every object in the landscape. The plain was covered with the tufts of Cassia, Caper, and those arborescent mimosas, which, like the pine of Italy, spread their branches in the form of an umbrella. The pinnated leaves of the palms were conspicuous on the azure sky, the clearness of which was unsullied by any trace of vapour. The sun was ascending rapidly toward the zenith. A dazzling light was spread through the air, along the whitish hills strewed with cylindric cactuses, and over a sea ever calm, the shores of which were peopled with alcatras, egrets, and flamingoes. The splendour of the day, the vivid colouring of the vegetable world, the forms of the plants, the varied
plumage of the birds, everything was stamped with the grand character of nature in the equinoctial regions. For a couple of newly arrived Europeans, these were truly stunning sights. After five years of travel throughout Latin America, Humboldt (1805) was able to organize some of his observations in an essay on what he called “the geography of plants,” a foundational work in the field we now know as biogeography: Plant forms closer to the equator are generally more majestic and imposing; the veneer of leaves is more brilliant, the tissue of the parenchyma more lax and succulent. The tallest trees are constantly adorned by larger, more beautiful and odoriferous flowers than in temperate zones. . . . However the tropics never offer our eyes the green expanse of prairies bordering rivers in the countries of the north: one hardly ever has the gentle sensation of spring awakening vegetation. Nature, beneficial to all beings, has reserved for each region particular gifts. A tissue of fibers more or less lax, vegetable colors more or less brash depending on the chemical mixture of elements and the stimulating strength of solar rays: these are just some of the causes that give each zone of the globe’s vegetation its particular character. What Humboldt recognized as the particular character of each zone of the globe’s vegetation, we today call a biome. Biomes are large geographical areas dominated by certain types of plant and animal life: rainforests in the wet tropics, for example, or prairies in drier temperate zones. While today human impact, particularly agriculture and urbanization, have somewhat obscured the nature and extent of biomes (see Human Activity has Damaged Natural Ecosystems and Landscapes, p.xxx), underlying climatological realities still inform what will
grow where. In fact, a simple graph uniting temperature and precipitation shows us what conditions give rise to what biomes (Figure 1.5). Where there are high temperatures and high levels of precipitation, tropical rainforests grow, capturing the sunâ€™s energy in the substantial biomass of large standing forests. At the opposite extreme, where temperature and precipitation are both low, we find arctic and alpine tundra full of slow-growing, diminutive plants. Thus, temperature and precipitation drive the adaptations of plants in each area and determine the character of the vegetation in different regions of the globe. [Figure 1.5 here]
Design Different Landscapes for Different Biomes Throughout the U.S. many cultivated landscapes are out of touch with their surroundings. Woodland trees line scrubland streets, while broad lawns hacked from forests pretend at grassland or pasture. An ecological landscape should respond to the same environmental realities that give rise to biomes. Areas of moderate temperature and moderate precipitation tend to be forest. Areas with less water tend to be grassland, desert, or in some cases, chaparral. Designed landscapes that match their plants and the communities in which they are grown (see Plant communities) to the prevailing climate should require less effort to create and maintain. They will also be better able to provide habitat for local wildlife (see Design for Species with Coevolutionary Relationhips, p.xxx), better connect to regional landscape networks (see Strive for Connectivity, p.xxx), and better bounce back after predictable disturbances such as fire, windstorm or flood (see Be Prepared for Regionally Common Disturbances, p.xxx). In the rolling hills of northern Delaware, set between the formal gardens and the native forest of Mt. Cuba Center, the Woods Path is a landscape aptly suited to its biome (Figure 1.6).
The moderate temperatures and rainfall in this region naturally give rise to a deciduous forest, the structure and feel of which the Woods Path capture in a subtly designed landscape. Tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera) provide an enclosing canopy and strong vertical architecture. Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), hollies and rhododendrons encroach gently on the meandering path. Herbaceous plants carpet the ground plane. This simple structure—canopy, understory, herbaceous groundcover—expresses the essence of a woodland. It also provides the cool, humid, partially shaded growing conditions to which many of the plants of the Appalachian Piedmont are adapted. The Woods Path is a designed garden that feels absolutely appropriate to its place. [Figure 1.6 here] Across the continent, at the base of Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains, the coastal sage scrub community at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden looks completely different (Figure 1.7). Here, before agriculture and development, the dry, warm climate supported an open scrub, also known as soft chaparral, intermixed with oak savannas and riparian woodlands. At Rancho Santa Ana an oak woodland provides a backdrop against which nestles a mix of loosely spaced drought-tolerant shrubs, including California sage (Artemisia californica), black sage (Salvia mellifera), and wild lilac (Ceanothus spp.). Living in a low-productivity environment, these shrubs discourage herbivory by filling their leaves with unpalatable aromatic compounds that give the landscape a pungent fragrance. Open ground in between the scrub is home to spring and summer wildflowers. An ecological landscape need not be a slavish imitator of the biome in which it is situated, but the more carefully it responds to the regional climate, the more its structure and
features are likely to express what Humboldt called that region’s particular gifts (Darke 2002, Francis and Reimann 1999). [Figure 1.7 here]
Plants are Adapted to the Seasonal Cycles of the Climates Where They Evolved It is not just the average temperature and the annual precipitation that determine the character of a biome, of course; it is also the seasonality of these factors. Compare the average monthly precipitation and low temperatures in Wilmington, Delaware and Claremont, California (Figures 1.8a and 1.8b). [Figures 1.8a and 1.8b here] Wilmington demonstrates the characteristics of a humid temperate climate—regular, moderate amounts of precipitation and temperatures that cycle with the seasons. Claremont experiences a classic Mediterranean climate, with a cool wet winter and a warm dry summer. This is no travel brochure, however. Plants in both locations have to be prepared for the worst of these seasonal extremes—freezing cold winters in Wilmington and bone dry (zero inches of precipitation in July!) summers in Claremont. The duration of stress—such as heat or cold— may be even more important than a one-time extreme. Plants are adapted to climate extremes anatomically and physiologically, as we have already seen, but also through their phenology, the timing of events like flowering, setting seed, leafing out, and going dormant. In deciduous forests, like those found natively around Wilmington, as the days get shorter, signaling the onset of winter, trees and shrubs begin to drop their leaves. Evergreen plants like American holly (Ilex opaca) and Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) have thicker leaves with a waxy coating, and cell physiology that allows them to
survive the winter. Most herbaceous plants survive the coldest months underground, either in perennial roots or as seed. Interestingly, plants from the Mediterranean climate of California exhibit some of the same adaptations, only timed differently to handle the stress of summer drought. A few plants, like California buckeye (Aesculus californica), are deciduous, and drop their leaves during the summer drought. Many more plants, such as coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) and manzanitas (Arctostaphylos spp.) have tough, leathery leaves (sclerophyll foliage) that they can keep year round, even during a month with no rain. Many California wildflowers (like California poppy [Eschscholzia californica]) are annuals, which bloom and set seed during the warm moist spring, and then die as the summer drought progresses, surviving underground as seeds until spring returns. The seasonal lifecycles of plants are part of what create the character of each biome.