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BOOK REVIEW

For the Love of Alberta: Ways to Save your Natural Heritage by Lesley Patricia Curthoys; Publisher: Federation of Alberta Naturalists, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Year of Publication: 1998 (1st ed.); Pages 122; Format: Softcover; ISBN: 0-9696134-1-5

Review by Saikat Kumar Basu
School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Center for Applied Arts and Sciences, Lethbridge College, Lethbridge, AB Canada T1K 1L6; email: saikat.basu@lethbridgecollege.ca


Guyana Journal, October, 2011

Land management is an important global issue and sustainable land development and management is another important facet in this broad area of land conservation efforts. Globally land ownership and conflicts with wildlife habitats have been gaining momentum. The wildlife habitats are vanishing rapidly at the cost of global and regional agricultural and industrial developments and encroachments. Man and animal conflicts have been portraying grimmer pictures on the pages of journals, magazines and newspapers in many parts of the world. In this context it is quite depressing to look for positive approaches to bring back stakeholders, land stewards/owners and land managers/officials/enthusiasts for establishing wildlife habitats and refuges through positive conservation efforts. However, it was so interesting to read though the current volume by the author Lesley Patricia Curthoys dealing with land conservation efforts for wildlife habitat development through generation of funds, land donations and endowments in the province of Alberta in Western Canada.

The volume starts with a vision for the future and options available for possible land owners, and explores in vivid details the stewardship recognition program, contacts for conservation agencies, discussion of their roles, responsibilities, duties, and explaining how they could help the land owners' vision and wishes for potential land donation for wildlife habitat development or sustainable, eco-friendly use of the donated land, conservation easements procedures, principles and practices. The author has also very convincingly covered issues such as land donations, land transfers, land sales and raising funds, community land trusts for conservation efforts from an Albertan and Canadian perspective. The volume concludes in a positive tone of how to find the reality of one's vision in supporting and establishing a reserve for wildlife and how to meet one's goals in establishing a wildlife refuge through land donations and related positive conservation practices. Although modeled specifically on the context of Alberta, Canada, however this small volume could act as model in many countries in both developed, developing and/or underdeveloped for land stewardship and protecting wildlife habitats and in developing new ones. Within its volume, the book has candidly caught the attention of most of the burning issues associated with sustainable land development and developing lands for wildlife and natural habitat purposes. The author deserves enormous credits for tackling these monumental and challenging issues in simple, common terms easily comprehended and understood by non-technical persons.

The use of catchy phrases, simple story telling manner, easy to understand examples, concrete and relevant case studies, superb illustrations and an unseen but strong sense of connectedness of the ten different chapters are enough to keep the readers engaged from cover to cover till they complete the entire volume in a go. The credit goes to the author for explaining complex legal terms, phrases, steps and procedures in simple, non-technical terms. The definitions of complex litigation terminologies in such simplistic manner is an added boost to the overall quality of the production - small but clear, abridged but concrete, and informative while exciting! The several scenarios and possibilities described and explained by the authors, the tax deduction calculations involved in dealing with land grants, land transfers and endowments, steps to be followed and actions to be taken are very well documented and presented. The illustrations and figures used throughout the volume are also awe inspiring to the underneath powerful message disseminated in the process.

This volume is presented in different sections in the form of ten chapters with a foreword from the noted Alberta conservationist Kevin Van Tighem. The chapters are as follows: Chapter 1: Visualizing a brighter future; Chapter 2: Exploring your options; Chapter 3: Stewardship recognition programs; Chapter 4: Contacts for conservation; Chapter 5: Conservation endowments; Chapter 6: Selling land for conservation purposes; Chapter 7: Donating lands for conservation purposes. Chapter 8: Generating conservation funds; Chapter 9: A word about community land trusts; and Chapter 10: Making your vision a reality.

The volume also included a bunch of helpful appendices providing individual profiles and physical addresses for conservation agencies, their history, activities and achievements in brief (Appendix A) and providing information about useful resources such as reports, guidebooks, handbooks and information regarding government and non-government brochures, policy books, proceedings, conference reports and legal documents (Appendix B), a comprehensive listing of technical terms under the glossary of terms and an exhaustive bibliography.

The current volume will be a handy and interesting reference resource for ecologists, foresters, botanists, environmental enthusiasts, conservationists, land stewards, environmental managers; and for leaders, organizers, administrators, law and policy makers, officials and managers belonging to both government and non-government organizations working with land endowment, land transfers, sustainability land deals and land ownership issues; environment management of land, land protection, wildlife habitat developers, ranchers, farmers, endowment experts and for general interest readers who are actively engaged and interested in land stewardship for sustainable development; stakeholders in sustainable land development and management, land owners interested in donating lands for wildlife habitat development and also for serious and enthusiastic habitat developers, naturalists, wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers.

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