joel brown's blog

It’s the management, stupid

In the 1992 U.S. Presidential campaign, Bill Clinton’s staff (specifically James Carville) kept the candidate and the campaign organization focused with “it’s the economy, stupid” printed on Post-it notes (another 90s innovation) stuck to every flat surface.  Who knows how popular this particular snowclone (a popular cliché that can be adapted to many different uses) would have remained had the election outcome been different, but it has stuck around and been adapted to many situations as a reminder about the need to stay focused on what is really important. 

Can Soil Survey become the basis for land management?

One of the most challenging aspects of land management and restoration is to balance the generation of new information and the application of existing accepted knowledge.  At one end of the spectrum is the argument that we can always learn more but we should not wait to get on with the job.  At the opposite end is the rationale for a learning-based approach (adaptive management)-as we do more, we should learn more and we should constantly be revising the information base.  These questions are complicated by the lack of a centralized decision-making structure in most landscapes.

Scale, management, and ecosystem services

The idea of ecosystem services is appealing to land ecologists.  It promises a new way to convey the value of ecosystems and ecological processes to a broad audience and focus attention on sustainable management of those services.  While this effort gives monetary value to what many of us have only been able to describe in terms of the passion we have for the workings of nature, quantifying ecosystem services to the point where they can be ‘monetized’ is a step or two beyond what most of us had in mind when we entered the profession.  Yet, if we are serious about communicating the value of

Why am I always the last to know?

'I have done that,' says my memory. 'I cannot have done that' -- says my pride, and remains adamant. At last -- memory yields.  Frederic Nietzsche

A Sense of Place

I recently visited Santa Fe with some friends.  When we go there, we always seem to wind up at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.  Although most widely known as a pioneer of American Modernism and for her large format paintings of blossoms, she also revolutionized the way people viewed landscapes, especially New Mexico landscapes.  Many tourist guides now refer to the landscapes of northern New Mexico as ‘O’Keeffe Country’.  One of the popular exhibits mounted in the last decade is titled ‘

The Lesser Prairie Chicken says rangelands aren’t as healthy as we thought

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just proposed to list as ‘threatened’ the Lesser Prairie Chicken throughout much of the high plains region based on a precipitous decline over the past 10-15 years.  This shouldn’t have happened.

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