Public Lands Management

Many of our public lands must accommodate a wide variety of uses and values that are oftentimes less than compatible. Physical recreation and spiritual solace, timber harvesting and minerals extraction, grazing and hunting - all of these uses and more demand much from our public lands and the policy makers who manage them.

The signing of "The Healthy Forests Initiative" has rekindled a debate about how we should act as ecological agents. Although the natural sciences still have much to contribute to issues of land management, oftentimes the heart of these debates involves an intermingling of science with values. The science can advise, but it is up to us to determine the meaning of a healthy landscape. This does not mean that such judgments are arbitrary or subjective. History, art, literature and philosophy can combine with science to guide our hand as we negotiate our evolving relationship with the land.