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 interpreting the nationwide battle on soil erosion within the Thirties, a arguable genuine property improvement scheme, Amish land payment, a U.S. military Corps of Engineers dam venture, and local American efforts to claim longstanding land claims, Lynne Heasley strains the old improvement of contemporary American estate debates inside ever-more-diverse rural landscapes and cultures. Heasley argues that the way in which public discourse has framed environmental debates hides the entire form our method of estate has taken in rural groups and landscapes. She exhibits how democratic and fluid visions of property—based on neighborhood relationships—have coexisted along individualistic visions of estate rights. during this environmental biography of a panorama and its humans lie robust classes for rural groups looking to comprehend and reconcile competing values approximately land and their position in it.

Published in organization with the guts for American areas, 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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The commitment to reduce soil erosion raised a mountain of government agencies and programs from the federal to the local level. The Soil Conservation Service and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration became the base of the mountain. To the public these were not faceless bureaucracies. What is important to understand is that soil conservation gained momentum not as a series of programs but as a peculiar hybrid, a sociogovernmental movement. It is hard to exaggerate the zeal, personal commitment, and sheer force of personality that permeated this movement in the 1930s.

But more than one hundred years later, the basic concept remains intact. 13 The maps of Liberty represent a succession of sorts—agricultural succession. But was contour strip cropping the inevitable outcome of an environmental problem? That individual farmers shifted from one practice to another reasonably suggests good risk management at a time when soil Figure 4. Contour strip cropping in Liberty, 1939–67. Contour strip cropping spread noticeably between 1939 and 1954, but not between 1954 and 1967.

By 1964, thirty thousand Wisconsin landowners had developed conservation plans. What is striking is the everyday quality these plans came to exude. When farmers started taking it for A classic Driftless Area scene. 78 Most of this soil conservation history falls between the first two maps of Liberty in figure 4. This was a period when contour strips expanded onto nearly one-third of Liberty’s cropped land. Contour strips covered 52 acres in 1939, whereas in 1954 they covered 1,395 acres. There is a third date to consider, however.

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