Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Too many moose? … the first in a series about American Resettlement …

[American Resettlement –- the first in a series about how land use law responds to changing residential patterns]

   How are trends in geographic settlement shaping land use and the laws that seek to regulate it?  Commentary is filled with alarming reports of how rural land is being “gobbled up” (a favorite verb phrase) by big-lot housing subdivisions and strip malls.  But this is not the whole story, of course. 

    Here’s a welcome story (for rural land conservation, at least).  Most eastern seaboard states have experienced over the past century a significant re-growth of forest land that was logged in order to create farms in the 18th and 19th centuries (in the 20th century, these small eastern farms could no longer compete with those in the Midwest and California).  As a result of this reforestation,Moose_2  wildlife that was once pushed away is returning.  In Vermont, the moose is making a comeback –- so vigorous a comeback that the state government is calling for an aggressive hunting season this autumn to cut back the population of the large and iconic animals.  Elsewhere in the nation, the mountain lion –- that once-elusive creature also called a puma, cougar, panther, and catamount (in Vermont) –- is popping up in surprising places –- not only among the red rocks outside Boulder, Col., but even in Iowa.

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