From David Kline’s “Great Possessions”

Lots of land in America is set aside for conservation easement or given to land conservancies, and many landowners do this to preserve visual landscapes and/or protect local wildlife from development.  Last night, in the introduction of Kline’s book, I read this:

Great Possessions“Gary Nabhan wrote in the The Desert Smells Like Rain about two Sonora Desert oases, the first of which, in Arizona, began to die when the Park Service turned it into a bird sanctuary and, in an effort to preserve it for wildlife, removed the Indians who farmed and lived there.  The other oasis, across the Mexican border, has long been tended by a village of Papago Indians and is thriving.  An ornithologist found twice as many species of birds there as he found at the bird sanctuary in Arizona.”

He goes on, “As Mr. Nabhan’s Indian friend said, ‘That’s because those birds, they come where the people are.  When the people live and work in a place, and plant their seeds, and water their trees, the birds go live with them.  They like those places, there’s plenty to eat, and that’s when we are friends to them.'”

If done thoughtfully, small-scale farming (the typical Amish farm is 80 acres) can create beautiful visual landscapes and sanctuary for wildlife.  Human and animal habitation can exist in harmony.


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