Visions Upon the Land: Man and Nature on the Western Range

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Karl Hess, Jr., an ecologist and lover of the land, examines the American view of the land and ecology from Thomas Jefferson to the Progressive Era to the modern environmental movement.

Hess challenges the assumptions that "the lack of a national land ethic" is responsible for environmental problems and that increased federal control over the environment is needed. He shows how federal mismanagement is responsible for the environmental decline of one-third of the surface land in the United States and calls on the federal government to divest itself of the Western range. To reverse the damage wrought by the forcible imposition of a single vision of how the land is to be managed, Hess proposes "a market of landscape visions" that would allow Americans to protect different parts of the Western range in their own ways.

This is the first book to challenge the "environment welfare state" from an ecological perspective. Grounded as firmly in free-market economics as in ecological science, Visions Upon the Land demonstrates that freedom and a vibrant range land do not conflict.

Published by Island Press.