According to Aldo Leopold, there were two things that interested him: the relation of people to each other, and the relation of people to land. In the 1920s and through much of the early 1930s, when Leopold used the term land he usually meant “soil.” His interest in soil quality and stability came from his early days as a forester in Arizona and New Mexico, where he saw firsthand the effects of grazing on stream courses and the surrounding landscape. This interest continued with, indeed was reaffirmed by, the drought of the middle 1930s and the Dust Bowl that followed. But later, Leopold was using the word “land” as a catch-all term for the environment; it included soils, water systems, and wild and tame plants and animals. In 1936 and again in 1937, Leopold traveled to Chihuahua, Mexico. The term “unspoiled wilderness” took on a new meaning. Appreciating this, Leopold became increasingly interested in defining what he called “land health.” He also invented the term “land ethic.”.
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