The Land Ethic

Categories: Environmental Ethics

The Land Ethic, Aldo Leopold discusses how humans should consider themselves as a part of a community; instead of viewing nature as property. This includes enlarging boundaries to add soils, water, plants, and animals to the community. In some cases, a weakness and a conservation system that is based on economic motive are excluded and have no economic value and have to show evidence to be economic to be valid. Many conservation systems are based around economic interest that eventually eliminate many species in the land community, but are entitled to continuance for the biotic community.

The ‘balance of nature’ includes humans as a part of a pyramid and we depend on the sustainability of the pyramid for our survival. It is necessary for humans to preserve stability of biotic communities and maintain self-awareness to respect the community. Humans need to develop an ecological conscience of responsibility for an individual to maintain a healthy land. Unregulated property and human population density are  not consistent with land health.

A land ethic for conservation must have a corresponding relationship between man and land; instead of for economical use for profit, According to Leopold a ‘land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member” to becoming a part of a community (Leopold 1949).

The “value of an ecosystem service depends on high biological diversity and cannot be increased by modifying it” (Adams 2014). Humans depend on the environment through ecosystem services, and we need to work hard to maintain an ecosystem sustainable enough for all living things.

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Management decisions reflect the interests of capital services including infrastructure and use ecosystem services to produce and consume in different way to control these services for economic valuation. Some people value nature through economic reasons to make a profit for the individual benefits. An individual’s action depends on the consequences of the actions that abuse the environment. Big corporations and some politicians suggest that all the environmental disasters are either a myth and are set out to get more money. “Environmental economists measure environmental value by identifying units of goods and services derived from nature that can be purchased in markets” (Norton 2012). The economists; instead of respecting the environment, sees nature as an economic value for monetary gains. Lack of education and awareness of how ecological systems can support the human well-being can contribute to the failures of economists to regulate functions for a more stabilized system.

I believe everything in nature has a right to have a place on this Earth and to respect nature. I think humans not only need to respect nature, but also help maintain these ecosystems. People need to be less concerned with determining if something is economically valued, and to be more concerned with the well-being of the ecosystem in the biotic community.  I learned to respect nature through my life of helping manage a ranch, taking care of the land, and watching my family plant native grasses and maintaining the wooded areas. In this way, I grew up loving nature and always wanting to take care of it. According to Leopold, economists and companies use economic self-interest that eliminates many resources needed in the land community; they are not maintaining a healthy land ethic. Economists believe the “value of natural resources is crucial when deciding whether our use of a resource is sustainable” (Harvey 2016). Economists even go as far as calculating the price for investment on groundwater and forests. Economists view natural resources as capital assets and consider an investment to spend money to protect the natural resources. Economists attempts to place a currency value on the ecosystem services and on the natural resources.

If natural resources show to bring economic value, then the policymakers will be more interested to invest in protecting these natural resources. In order to solve the differences in opinion between my view of nature and the views of economists is to compromise and thinks of ideas together. Economists want to make money off of nature then we can do ecotourism to let a tourist visit an undisturbed natural area without disrupting the ecosystem. In ecotourism we can have tourist pay toward a good cause to help the natural areas they wish to visit and in turn not to destroy the ecosystem by building small souvenir shops. By, supporting an ecotourism idea we can both support the conservation of the environment and earn some profit from the tourist for the economist who want to make a profit on nature. Leopold discussed topics that happen today, even though the paper was written in 1949. He also discussed how we should value nature with respect, and not for our self-interests. There are various ways that people value nature, from economic gain to love of nature, which is where my values lie. The economists oppose my idea of valuing nature, as they prefer economic gain to sustainable land use. However; there are methods such as sustainable land use that can resolve the difference in opinions that can improve the environment.

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The Land Ethic. (2022, Apr 22). Retrieved from

The Land Ethic
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