Responsibilities of Land Ownership of Natural Areas
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Responsibilities of Land Ownership of Natural Areas


IN A WORKING LANDSCAPE, WHAT LANDOWNERS DO WITH
THEIR LAND CAN HAVE EFFECTS ON THE SOCIAL, ECOLOGICAL,
AND ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF THE AREA AROUND THEM. DO THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO WHATEVER THEY WANT
WITH THEIR LAND? DO THEY HAVE THE RIGHT
TO BUILD ON IT? THE RIGHT TO FARM ON IT? WHAT ABOUT PUTTING UP
A GIANT BILLBOARD? CONSIDERING THE RARE AND FRAGILE
NATURE OF THE LOESS HILLS, OWNERSHIP RIGHTS CAN TAKE ON
A WHOLE NEW MEANING.>>WE LOOK AT LAND
AS A BUNDLE OF RIGHTS. LET’S TAKE A BUNDLE OF STICKS. ONE OF THE RIGHTS
IN THAT BUNDLE IS THE RIGHT TO BUILD A HOUSE. ONE OF THE RIGHTS IS
TO PUT A SIDEWALK ON IT. ONE OF THE RIGHTS, PERHAPS,
IS TO BUILD A BUSINESS ON IT. ONE OF THE RIGHTS
IS NOT TO POLLUTE THE WATER. ONE OF THE RIGHTS
IS NOT TO BUILD A SMELTING PLANT IN
A RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD. SO THE IDEA IS THERE ARE SOME RIGHTS WE HAVE
WITH PRIVATE PROPERTY, BUT THERE ARE
SOME RIGHTS WE DON’T. YOU CAN’T DO JUST
ANYTHING YOU WANT. THE KEY IS HOW DO WE DECIDE
WHAT THOSE RIGHTS ARE: HOW BIG IS THAT BUNDLE OF STICKS AND WHAT TYPE OF STICK
SHOULD BE IN IT?>>IF YOU LIVE IN A CITY, ZONING CAN DETERMINE LAND-USE
RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES. IT CAN DETERMINE
IF LAND SHOULD BE USED FOR HOUSING OR FOR BUSINESS. BUT SOME OF THE ZONING LAWS
IN THE LOESS HILLS AREN’T VERY RESTRICTIVE, AND SOME AREAS
DON’T EVEN HAVE ZONING. WHAT ONE NEIGHBOR DOES
TO THE LAND MIGHT NOT
BE AGAINST THE LAW, BUT IT COULD INFLUENCE
THE NEIGHBORS’ PROPERTY.>>THE WAY A GIVEN LANDOWNER
MIGHT USE HIS LAND DOES OR CAN IMPACT HIS
NEIGHBOR’S ADJOINING PROPERTY. FOR EXAMPLE, TAKE A HOMEOWNER
IN A CITY NEIGHBORHOOD, IF HE DECIDES HE’S NOT GOING TO
PICK UP THE TRASH IN HIS YARD OR HE’S NOT GOING TO
MOW THE LAWN, THAT’S GOING TO HAVE A NEGATIVE
IMPACT ON HIS NEIGHBOR BY MAKING THE
NEIGHBORHOOD, IN GENERAL, LOOK RUN DOWN, DIRTY, TRASHY. HERE OUT IN THE LOESS HILLS,
WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THAT, IF YOU’VE GOT AN INDIVIDUAL
THAT IS USING HIS LAND IN A WAY THAT ISN’T COMPATIBLE
WITH NATURAL RESOURCES, FOR EXAMPLE, HE’S BUILDING
A HOME OR A STRUCTURE
ON TOP OF A RIDGE AND HE’S GOT A NEIGHBOR THAT OWNS
LAND AT THE BOTTOM OF A HILL, HE MIGHT GET SOME EROSION
AND SLUMPING OF THE HILL.>>THE LAND OPERATES ON A PHILOSOPHY MUCH
DIFFERENT THAN OURS. WE TALK ABOUT NEIGHBORS
HAVING THIS PIECE OF PROPERTY AND THIS PIECE OF PROPERTY AND THERE IS A PROPERTY LINE,
MAYBE EVEN A FENCE LINE, BETWEEN THESE TWO PROPERTIES. BUT IN TERMS OF THE LAND, THERE’S NOT A CARE IN THE WORLD
ABOUT THAT PROPERTY LINE BECAUSE LAND OPERATES
BASED ON WATERSHEDS OR BASED ON
BIOLOGICAL COMMUNITIES. THESE PROCESSES THAT
INTERACT ON THE LAND DON’T CARE ABOUT POLITICAL
BOUNDARIES THAT SAY, “I OWN THIS SIDE,
YOU OWN THAT SIDE.” SO THESE PROCESSES
ARE WORKING TOGETHER REGARDLESS OF THOSE BOUNDARIES, AND NEIGHBORS NEED
TO RECOGNIZE THAT AND UNDERSTAND HOW THEY
FIT INTO THAT SYSTEM AND, IN A SENSE, FORGET ABOUT
THOSE POLITICAL BOUNDARIES.>>WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR NEIGHBORS’ RIGHTS
AND RESPONSIBILITIES SHOULD BE WHEN IT COMES TO THEIR LAND USE? WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY OWN
WHEN YOU BUY LAND?>>I THINK WHAT YOU OWN
WHEN THE BUY THE LAND IS YOU OWN EVERYTHING
EXCEPT THE ANIMALS, BUT YOU SHOULD
RESPECT THE LAND. IT’S NOT JUST YOURS
BUT IT’S EVERYBODY ELSE’S TOO.>>DON’T LET THE SOIL
ERODE OR ANYTHING, AND BUILD TERRACES
AND STUFF TO HELP THAT.>>PUT TREES UP.>>IF IT’S GOING TO
HURT SOMEBODY ELSE, I DON’T THINK YOU SHOULD DO IT
UNLESS YOU ASK THEM FIRST.>>DON’T DO ANYTHING STUPID TO HARM, LIKE,
YOUR NEIGHBORS’ WATER SUPPLY.>>OR LIKE, MAKE ONE OF THOSE
BIG HOG CONFINEMENT BUILDINGS AND THEN HAVE A WHOLE BUNCH OF
RUNOFF GO INTO THEIR WATER.>>IF IT’S SOMETHING
THAT’S GOING TO SMELL, YOU’RE GOING TO SMELL IT
ON YOUR LAND TOO,

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