Ankeny, Iowa – In the midst of today’s environmental challenges, it can be difficult to recognize and appreciate the extent of soil and water conservation progress that has been made since the devastating events of the 1930s Dust Bowl. However, review of US conservation history can highlight pivot points, reveal conditions for change, and ultimately, benefit current understanding of natural resource management.

A new publication from the Soil and Water Conservation Society, the organization for professionals who practice and advance the science and art of natural resource conservation, celebrates progress of the past and explores the future of conservation at a critical time when all natural resources are threatened by the imminent impact of a changing climate. In the collection, Soil and Water Conservation: A Celebration of 75 Years, expert authors describe key developments and offer potential future solutions.

Decades of published research and in-field experience are distilled into informative chapters that provide perspective on the complex relationships between land managers and the environment in the face of current challenges, such as a changing climate, shrinking water resources, a growing global population, and shifting land uses.

“Society has learned that we need to keep conservation management at the center of land use to develop sustainable agricultural systems for food security,” write the book’s editors, USDA ARS soil scientist Jorge Delgado; University of Missouri emeritus professor of soil and water conservation Clark Gantzer; and Kansas State University agronomy professor Gretchen Sassenrath. “Even if we successfully tackle current great challenges, we must remain vigilant to emerging challenges.”

In addition to recording advancements in conservation science, practice, and policy, authors recognize the essential collaborations and contributions of policymakers, industry, producers, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies, including the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Agricultural Research Service, US Geological Survey, and US Environmental Protection Agency.

“This collection, completed in just over a year, is a testament to the passion that our members and partners have for sharing their knowledge and communicating their work to a broad audience,” says SWCS CEO Clare Lindahl.

“Our community of conservation professionals works tirelessly to understand, protect, and improve our natural resources, just as Hugh Hammond Bennett and the founders of the conservation movement did 75 years ago.”

A free PDF copy of the book is now available for download through SWCS Publications.