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Why We Are Never Finished "Saving" Land

Why We Are Never Finished

The Importance of Stewardship

Since 1897, New Jersey Audubon has been advocating the protection of New Jersey's wildlife and unique natural habitats. Our state has one of the nation's best-funded land acquisition programs, the Garden State Preservation Trust. Unfortunately, while New Jersey has been very active in preserving land, our state has been highly inactive in determining what becomes of these lands after preservation. Although development and its related impacts continue to threaten our natural ecosystems, these systems are also adversely influenced by changes in management techniques, non-native species, and overpopulation of native species that can cause ecosystem harm at high population densities. Without active management, much of New Jersey's undeveloped land will become degraded habitat and will not provide support for our full range of native plants and animals.

The idea that nature is incapable of sustaining itself without intervention by humans may be troubling, but the unfortunate reality is that human civilization has deprived many natural systems of their ability to self-regulate. Fire suppression, river damming and channelization, ditching, diking, and draining wetlands have suppressed restorative ecosystem processes like flood and fire. The introduction of non-native species and the explosive increase in deer are also wreaking havoc on New Jersey's natural resources.

New Jersey Audubon's stewardship program promotes active management and stewardship of habitat on public and private lands throughout the state, with the goal of maintaining, restoring, and enhancing native environments. We provide both outreach and technical assistance. We also help secure funding so that public and private landowners in our priority conservation areas have the tools and the means to care for our native ecosystems and wildlife. You will find us on farms, in forests, on corporate campuses, in state parks, and in wildlife refuges, maintaining and enhancing the landscape for native species or helping other people to do so. We use both traditional tools such as forestry and farm equipment and novel approaches such as creating community restoration partnerships and new markets for Jersey-grown products.

We hope that you will get to know our work and be inspired to think about active conservation and management on your own land or in your own community.