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American Conservation Viewpoints

  • Suk-han Shin (a1)


The evolving conservation views and movements in the United States are characterized by their changing social goals and the resultant alteration of attitudes towards the physical environment. Our examination results in a six-stages classification of conservation views: (1) the naturalist view, which was based on the idea of undisturbed harmony of Nature; (2) the utilitarian view, which was highly influenced by Gifford Pinchot's conservation philosophy of ‘common goods for common men’ in natural resource use; (3) the ethical view, which resulted from an awareness that increasing consumption combined with increasing population would deplete resources and depress living standards; (4) the developmental view, or a technocratic approach to resource development, which rejected a fixed inventory of natural resources and perceived an everincreasing resource base; (5) the aesthetic view, which valued the aesthetic contribution of natural resources more than the economic contribution, i.e. amenity value versus commodity value of natural resources; and (6) the ecological view, which is based on the concept of an ecosystem wherein Man is an integral and inseparable part of the total environment and is responsible for the maintenance of the total environment.

These conservation views of the United States reflect a historical conflict between progressivist and preservationist philosophies of natural resource use. The conflict derives from changing societal concepts of resource scarcity regarding their physical, economic, or qualitative, aspects. The current ‘ecological’ view remains uncertain in terms of its concept of scarcity.



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Ciriacy-WANTRUP, S. V. (1952). Resource Conservation: Economics and Policies. University of California Press, Berkeley, California: [xii + ] 395 pp.
Landsberg, Hans H., Fishman, Leonard L. & Fisher, Joseph L. (1963). Resources in America's Future: Patterns of Requirements and Availabilities, 1960–2000. The Johns Hopkins Press for Resources for the Future, Baltimore, Maryland: xx + 1,017 pp., illustr.
Leopold, Aldo (1949). A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There. Oxford University Press, New York, N.Y.: xiii + 226 pp., illustr.
Marsh, George P. (1965). Man and Nature (Ed. Lowenthal, David). The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts: xxix + 472 pp.
Marshall, Robert (1930). The Problem of the Wilderness. Scientific Monthly, 30, pp. 141–8.
Ordway, Samuel H. (1953). Resources and American Dream. Ronald Press, New York, N.Y.: vii + 55 pp., illustr.
Osborn, Fairfield (1953). The Limits of the Earth. Little, Brown, Boston, Massachusetts: x + 238 pp.
Pinchot, Gifford (1910). The Fight for Conservation. Doubleday Page, New York, N.Y.: vii + 152 pp.
President's Material POLICY Commission (1952). Foundations for Growth and Security, Resources for Freedom, 1. A Report to the President by the President's Material Policy Commission. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.: vi + 184 pp., illustr.
Rose, Harold M. (1971). Conservation in the United States. Pp. 3&17 in Conservation of Natural Resources (Ed. Smith, Guy-Harold, 4th edn rev.). John Wiley, New York, N.Y.: xiii + 685 pp., illustr.
Sears, Paul B. (1958). Ethics, aesthetics, and the balance of nature. Pp. 106–11 in Perspectives on Conservation (Ed. Jarrett, Henry). The Johns Hopkins Press for Resources for the Future, Baltimore, Maryland: xii + 206 pp.
Thoreau, Henry D. (1929). Excursions. Pp. 1333 in Excursions and Poems. The Concord Edition, the Riverside Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Houghton Mifflin, Boston, Massachusetts: vii + 419 pp.
Vogt, William (1948). Road to Survival. William Sloan Associates, New York, N.Y.: xvi + 335 pp., illustr.

American Conservation Viewpoints

  • Suk-han Shin (a1)


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