£23.99 | $41.95

11 August 2011
ISBN: 9781848139626
224 pages
216 x 138mm

Agriculture, Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Development, Geography, Sociology and Social Policy

Common Ground

The Sharing of Land and Landscapes for Sustainability

By Mark Everard Mark

Common Ground explores the shifting relationship between human society and the landscapes that bear it. Examining the changing understandings of the natural world and its management and exploitation, environmental activist Mark Everard presents solutions in the nature of ecosystem services.
Notwithstanding our total dependence on the Earth's natural resources, the relationship between humanity and the land has shifted significantly and frequently throughout our tenure, brief as it is relative to the evolution of planetary life. Appropriating increasing proportions of nature's resources to meet our shifting and growing demands, we have been degrading the quality and extent of ecosystems, nearly destroying their capacities to meet the needs of a burgeoning population.
The book offers a fresh and vital whole-system approach to the key under-pinning the issue of sustainability. Everard looks ahead to what is required to live sustainably, respecting the central role of landscapes in supporting human wellbeing into the long-term future.


''Common Ground' is a must-read for anyone concerned about the sustainability of the landscapes that support us.  The book is based on the many societal benefits provided by ecosystems, exploring shifting perceptions of people's rights, priorities for land management and economic flows across landscapes, and suggesting a range of pragmatic implications for achieving sustainable 'living landscapes'.  Insightful, engaging and extremely well researched, 'Common Ground' is an indispensible guide for academics, policy-makers and the concerned public.' - Professor Jim Longhurst, Assistant Vice Chancellor, University of the West of England

'We have inherited a pattern of land ownership, which has a feudal and more recently, a market-driven derivation. However, we are only now starting to recognise the full multifaceted value of services associated with land and the surrounding ecosystem. The process of recognition, quantification and economic valuation of ecosystem services has been rapidly refined as the environmental limits of the functionality of ecosystems becomes clearer and nearer. In some cases markets for the newly described ecosystem service commodities develop, normally where transaction costs are low and economic beneficiaries can be clearly identified. This could be a positive step but the question remains, how can market forces be regulated to ensure that the needs of society are met locally and globally and that the services with a very diffuse, often remote benefit and with no exploitable market value, like biodiversity, are not lost in fray? This is the job for those who govern in the coming years and Mark's text sets out the task at hand, its origins and the current status quo and he uses graphic case studies to annotate his discussion and give life the his amazing overview of the subject area.' - Dr Dylan Bright, Director, Westcountry Rivers Trust, Trustee, Association of Rivers Trusts.

'Few people have grasped the need for humanity to reconnect itself to the planet’s landscape and natural resources more than Mark Everard, and this intuition is manifest throughout Common Ground. Ancient peoples relied totally on the Earth’s resources for their existence, but modern society is largely oblivious to this dependence, being more concerned over land ownership and exploitation, and the political power that ensues, than valuing the crucial services provided by properly managed, sustainable ecosystems. Global decision makers should be made to read this book before it is too late!' - Paul Knight, CEO of the Salmon and Trout Association

'Common ground is a skilful exposition of the historical, cultural, scientific and economic reasons for mankind's short-sighted reductive disconnection from the environment. But more importantly it makes the powerful case for progressive reconnection-before it's too late: a common-sense recipe for human survival, readjusting current values and behaviours to meet future needs in a sustainable way-with real examples of how it can be done, given the political will. As such, this is a 'must-read' for all those shaping our future.' - Dr Paul Raven, former Head of Conservation and Ecology at the Environment Agency

Table of Contents

1 Privatisation of the land
2 Reclaiming the common good
3. The ends of the Earth
4 Shifting conceptual landscapes
5 A landscape at our service
6 The great food challenge
7 Valuing land and landscapes
8 Living landscapes
9 Lessons for tomorrow's world
10 The people's land

About the Author:

Dr Mark Everard's work in all four sectors of society - private, public, academic and voluntary - has taken him across five continents to undertake applied research, policy development and capacity-building relating to the ways in which people connect with ecosystems. The author of six other books, over 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers and over 150 technical magazine articles, Mark is also a communicator on sustainability and wider aquatic matters on TV and radio. He has served on numerous government advisory and expert groups in the UK, as well as advising other governments and multinational corporations on sustainability matters.