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A Thousand Pieces of Paradise: Landscape and Property in the by Lynne Heasley

By Lynne Heasley

A Thousand items of Paradise is an ecological background of estate and a cultural background of rural ecosystems set in a single of Wisconsin’s most renowned areas, the Kickapoo Valley. whereas analyzing the nationwide warfare on soil erosion within the Thirties, a arguable genuine property improvement scheme, Amish land cost, a U.S. military Corps of Engineers dam undertaking, and local American efforts to claim longstanding land claims, Lynne Heasley strains the historic improvement of contemporary American estate debates inside of ever-more-diverse rural landscapes and cultures. Heasley argues that the way in which public discourse has framed environmental debates hides the complete form our approach of estate has taken in rural groups and landscapes. She exhibits how democratic and fluid visions of property—based on group relationships—have coexisted along individualistic visions of estate rights. during this environmental biography of a panorama and its humans lie strong classes for rural groups trying to comprehend and reconcile competing values approximately land and their position in it.

Published in organization with the guts for American locations, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Staunton, Virginia. www.americanplaces.org


“So a lot for cookie-cutter stereotypes of the agricultural Midwest! . . . hugely recommended.”—Choice

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Extra resources for A Thousand Pieces of Paradise: Landscape and Property in the Kickapoo Valley

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The eye will naturally 21 Figure 2. Trends in absentee land ownership in the township of Liberty, 1930–95. Figure 3. Township of Liberty land cover, 1939–95. Note the decline of cropland (the “agriculture” category), while forest cover expands. In the early 1950s, cultivated land was at its peak in the township, but by 1995 it had declined by nearly 60 percent. 24 landscape succession pick out changes in the figure from one date to another, with forests increasing in some parts of the township, pasture expanding or contracting in others.

Jefferson aside, southwest Wisconsin claimed for itself August Kramer, an obscure German immigrant in the mid-1880s. Today many soil conservationists laud Kramer as the pivotal innovator in contour strip cropping. Kramer farmed a few miles west of the Kickapoo Valley. ”11 Kramer’s novel technique was to lay out his fields along the contour in alternating bands of different crops and hay. 12 In a 1948 inventory of Kramer’s farm, his fields had five inches more topsoil than other comparable fields. The technique evolved so that today many midwestern farmers combine contour strip cropping with complicated rotations of grasses, small grains such as oats, and row crops, especially corn and soybeans.

The rectangular survey is intuitively familiar, even to people who do not know its history. We observe the survey every day in the rectangular yards of our neighborhoods. We also derive one of the survey’s basic premises: that owning a piece of land gives us the right to use it, to keep other people out of it, and to sell it if we choose. ” Yet this general sense of land ownership is not adequate for understanding soil conservation districts the way that Leopold understood them. Property boundaries alone do not explain a highly complex system of property like ours, nested as it is within a democratic society.

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