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in the American Southwest!
of the most amazing landscapes that captures your imagination;
Where humans, animals, plants and all other elements of nature
function together to create a successful, sustainable reality.
Southwest is extraordinary because of its diverse open
landscapes and the remarkable people whose strength and
motivation create successful communities. This can be especially
challenging because of the arid and semi-arid environments.
Yet, if you truly observe all that is around you, a wonderful
display of the remarkable interactions between man and
the natural environment can be seen.
Arizona we have over 6.5 million men, women, and children
enjoying the resources our state has to offer. The
man-made resources designed to benefit those people include
150,000 water wells and 580 dams (small to moderate
in size) that capture our rainwater or snowmelt and hold
it for multiple uses. Residents use water for agricultural
uses, recreation, to control prescribed fire, or for
private, industrial or municipal use.
of the rivers and streams that are dammed create aquatic open
recreationists and wildlife. Without these developed
water sources, most who enjoy living in Arizona could not reside
management of several million acres of undeveloped
government managed lands continues to support complimentary
multiple uses, as evidenced in federal lands use
records combined with state and federal animal and
plant population indices. Public land activities
and wildlife can be observed on a single-day drive
through Arizona. Management of grazing lands, mining,
farming, logging, and restoration activities,
are a few examples of man ‘fine-tuning’ the
natural environment for the betterment of society
on public as well as private lands. A look in your
own backyard will likely hold evidence of man’s
activities and nature’s creatures in a sustaining
this complimentary connection, humans have experienced
beneficial interactions with the natural
environment and the
elements of nature for 1,000’s of years. There are
many examples of the natural environment improving after
Conversely, consumption by humans and animals, and catastrophic
natural events has caused loss of some resources. However,
land management practices have improved over time and are
designed to ensure extractive opportunities such as agriculture,
mining and water use, if managed wisely.
We must remember
that animals, plants, insects, and even microbes are also skillful
manipulating organisms. There are also abiotic or non-living components
in the environment that have an immeasurable influence on environmental
change. For example, light; air; climate (tornados, hurricanes,
blizzards); drought; radiation; temperature; water (flooding);
pressure; sound waves; soil evolution; atmospheric gases and pollution
such as that from volcanoes; sunlight; solar flares; wind patterns;
and wildfire all contribute to natural environment change.
As always, the determination of natural environment change is
relative to the time frame you are studying. Additionally,
we must not forget
all other variable factors in the natural environment equation
that exhibit resilience and persistence.
At times, it seems we must defend nature; her ability to function
and produce. Certainly, there are natural events which cause
severe devastation to the landscape such as hurricanes, tsunamis,
volcanic eruptions, and floods. Human activities also have the
potential to cause and have caused devastation. Again, the resulting
condition is relative to time, natural cycles, and our learned
reactions. We see that nature continues to serve all living things
in many altered forms, but to what extent and determined by whom?
We depend upon the natural environment for survival; therefore,
we must work to keep it healthy and productive. For humans, the
family or community unit has demonstrated they are integral to
the establishment of an environment with the capacity to ensure
survival, through hands-on manipulation and adaptation to changing
family and community group have carried humans through many
hardships, and played a significant role in the inspiration,
motivation and ingenuity of many young men and women to seek
ways to improve living conditions and our interactions with
the natural environment. Inspired by my family, an interest
of mine has been to encourage the cooperative spirit of people
and to challenge their understanding of nature to encourage
further investigation; which is driven by their ingenuity,
sense of responsibility, and the primary need to survive.
With that comes a passion to understand human history and the
environment … our habitat, which has sustained us.
This has created many challenging pathways to explore.
Those pathways include examining the
interactions of organisms; the interrelationships of biological,
physical, or chemical factors; biological adaptations; renewable
and nonrenewable resources.
As humans experience it, these elements of the natural
environment are all interconnected in some
way, whether naturally or artificially.
As we have learned to expect, disagreements arise concerning
the value or necessity of the connections.
man studies and documents his understanding of past, present,
and future natural environments. The information available
to us from all sources can be nearly limitless. Yet in
recent times addressing environmental issues, the words ‘preservation’ and ‘protection’ often
overrule logic based in evaluation of nature’s complex
systems and compromise that works towards reasonable adaptation
or alternatives that benefit all involved – including
nature. Many preservationists focus is to let nature do
what it will, a hands off, no human intervention situation.
Consider the many floods in recent years that changed people’s
lives, property, as well as surrounding landscapes. Most
would want to clean up the devastation left behind to rebuild
their lives, homes, and communities. Additionally, restoration
often occurs by replanting lost native plants or other
ground stabilizing cover.
data, manuscripts and photo documentation are not intended
to be an exhaustive treatise of those interconnected
things in our natural environment. Rather, an effort to continually
provide information that enlightens current knowledge through
fieldnotes and perspectives.
goal is to provide several intellectual keys to stimulate
thought which may have been
misinformation, muddled policy or inappropriate agendas.
The objective is to create a path for an intellectual adventure,
map before the reader a route that is wide enough for others
thought to join on this path and along the way realize the
similarities of each other’s point of view.
forward to sharing the marvel’s of our home – Arizona
Carolyn. E. Eppler
at home in Arizona
Environment Society Southwest
Action Analysis Partners
PO Box 3464
Payson, Arizona 85541
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