ENVR E-161A: Land Conservation Practice in the United States in the Context of a Changing World

This course focuses on the role of land conservation in advancing sustainability. It details the extraordinary growth and success of public and private land conservation in the United States. We delve into the origins of land conservation and its development in the context of the broader environmental movement in the United States and touch on its implications for work around the world. Early lectures review the first major trend in land protection, which was the creation of public parks, forests, and nature preserves, including landmark actions to create emblematic landscapes like the Boston Common, Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks, and the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Our focus then shifts to what has become one of the best-kept secrets in conservation: the dramatic growth, effectiveness, scale, and practicality of private land conservation. We discuss the range of practice of land trusts in the US, including public-private conservation partnerships. We pay special attention to the building blocks of private and public land conservation, including financial incentives; practical and flexible legal agreements and instruments; financing mechanisms; entities to facilitate these projects, including land trusts; protection criteria; community values; and the growing importance of climate change issues in land protection.


Henry Tepper
Frank Lowenstein







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  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2018-2019 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
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Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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