Conservation Innovation in America: Past, Present, and Future


James N. Levitt, December 2002

Observers throughout the course of U.S. history, including such prominent commentators as Alexis de Tocqueville in his classic volume Democracy in America, have dismissed Americans’ willingness to appreciate or conserve nature. In fact, Americans have a long and distinguished record of realizing landmark conservation innovations that are novel on a worldwide basis; politically significant; measurably effective; transferable to separate organizations, jurisdictions, and nations; and, particularly significant in the field of conservation, enduring. This paper reviews conservation innovations in the U.S., starting with the observation that among the many important conservation innovations that Americans have achieved, only a distinct subset of them has had an enduring impact and so can be considered landmark innovations.

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Last updated on 03/16/2020