WILDLANDS AND WOODLANDS – THE INSPIRATION FOR ALPINE
Alarmed that every state in New England was losing forests to development, a group of academics in 2010 launched Wildlands and Woodlands, a bold regional vision for land protection. Capitalizing on New England’s remarkable conservation capacity, the vision calls for permanent protection of 70% of the region as forests, most actively managed as woodlands and some as large wildland reserves, and the existing farmland by 2060.
With their academic roots, the authors of Wildlands and Woodlands recognize that an untapped source of energy, skill, and commitment for land protection lies in the four pillars of every college and university in New England: students, faculty and staff, administration, and alumni. In 2013, a dozen representatives of New England institutions convened the first ALPINE (Academics for Land Protection in New England) meeting. Now, after four meetings, the number of institutions participating is 45 and growing (Figure 16). These include all of the main campuses of the six state universities, many small private colleges, community colleges, rural institutions, and urban institutions in densely populated areas.
The Wildlands and Woodlands Initiative, centered at Harvard University, initiated ALPINE in collaboration with Highstead Foundation and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy out of recognition of the tremendous history and potential future for the region’s academic institutions in advancing conservation in the region, nation, and world.