cover of book

For the Health of the Land: Previously Unpublished Essays And Other Writings
edited by J. Baird Callicott and Eric T. Freyfogle
by Aldo Leopold
foreword by Scott Russell Sanders
Island Press, 1999
eISBN: 978-1-59726-798-4 | Cloth: 978-1-55963-763-3 | Paper: 978-1-55963-764-0
Library of Congress Classification QH75.L38 1999
Dewey Decimal Classification 333.72


Aldo Leopold's classic work A Sand County Almanac is widely regarded as one of the most influential conservation books of all time. In it, Leopold sets forth an eloquent plea for the development of a "land ethic" -- a belief that humans have a duty to interact with the soils, waters, plants, and animals that collectively comprise "the land" in ways that ensure their well-being and survival.

For the Health of the Land, a new collection of rare and previously unpublished essays by Leopold, builds on that vision of ethical land use and develops the concept of "land health" and the practical measures landowners can take to sustain it. The writings are vintage Leopold -- clear, sensible, and provocative, sometimes humorous, often lyrical, and always inspiring. Joining them together are a wisdom and a passion that transcend the time and place of the author's life.

The book offers a series of forty short pieces, arranged in seasonal "almanac" form, along with longer essays, arranged chronologically, which show the development of Leopold's approach to managing private lands for conservation ends. The final essay is a never before published work, left in pencil draft at his death, which proposes the concept of land health as an organizing principle for conservation. Also featured is an introduction by noted Leopold scholars J. Baird Callicott and Eric T. Freyfogle that provides a brief biography of Leopold and places the essays in the context of his life and work, and an afterword by conservation biologist Stanley A. Temple that comments on Leopold's ideas from the perspective of modern wildlife management.

The book's conservation message and practical ideas are as relevant today as they were when first written over fifty years ago. For the Health of the Land represents a stunning new addition to the literary legacy of Aldo Leopold.

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