Conservation and the Next Renaissance

E. Max Nicholson

Given at Berkeley, California, March 4, 1964

According to a learned German the Brahmins of India, while conceding that it is necessary for some people to sweep the streets and others to administer the country, are privately convinced that no civilized man should ever sink to doing either. This a humbling thought for those who, like myself, serve in that substitute form of street sweeping called administration. I am grateful to be admitted here, even for a few days, into a higher caste, and to be able (so far as we street sweepers ever can be able) to discourse with you about the broad horizons and the ends as well as the means of conservation. As you will soon see, I intend to seize this opportunity to the full.

A Time of Rebirth

Once before there was a time when an old, stale, war-torn, and disillusioned Western society suddenly awoke to a thrilling, confusing, painful travail of rebirth, seeing with fresh eyes how man stands in nature. It happened some five hundred years ago, and it was called—but only afterwards—the Renaissance. Within about a century it transformed and enriched everything from painting to politics, from philosophy and literature to making goods or navigating ships. Yet it probably seemed, to nearly all of those who lived through it, no glorious rosy dawn but simply a time of incessant stress and trouble, of insecurity and disintegration. They were without the hindsight to perceive what was happening, with a rush, under their eyes. They knew too little of historical evolution to suspect that the very magnitude of the destruction of pre-existing values, idea-systems and customs might stimulate a correspondingly strong drive towards readjustment and reintegration on a new basis.

With our fuller knowledge we can appreciate that, the more sophisticated and aware of other cultures men become, the more inevitably any new order must reflect and pivot upon a new vision of men's place in nature. Might there not be some parallel between those years of strife and of the great voyages of discovery to Africa and the Americas and these present years of strife and of the first voyages into space and into the depths of the ocean

In those years, as in these, there arose a radical discontent with the way men were being educated, the types who received higher education and what they were educated for. There was a triumphant movement towards educating whole men, of broad and deep but immediately usable learning, able to inform them selves thoroughly and to act with understanding and assurance in all the affairs of life.

Novel educational institutes, such as Eton or the Academy of Ferrara, were created in the fifteenth century especially to train these new men. The new men in turn created a new kind of society, reflecting and responding to their hunger for new knowledge, their keenness to demonstrate in bold action the skill and sweep of their intellectual mastery, and their uninhibited appetite for new ways of living more fully in the light of their new ideas of what it meant to be a man. Yet even at this distance, when the fantastic legacy of their revolutionary enfranchisement is fully visible, we are still apt to underrate and misjudge its essentials on account of the many bitter and eventful feuds and struggles by which they were superficially divided. Journalists are not alone in their fondness for dwelling on the gory details of a good fight, and forgetting that while the dogs bark the caravan passes on.

The Role of Conservation
As present travelers in the caravan, can we perhaps briefly reflect on where it is now taking us, and whether we can help it to get to the right destination with less pain and grief? As contribution to such reflections I propose here to outline the thesis that a transformation of comparable magnitude and significance to the Renaissance may now once more be in train, and that ecology and conservation may be cast to play a big role in it. To test such a thesis it will be necessary to look at the processes of history as we look at those of ecology, in terms of the direction and rate and nature of energy flow and of the cycles of building and decay which underlie seral phases. I can only hope, at best, to indicate some of the factors which we need to isolate and appraise in order to gain some idea, however dim and imprecise, of where we stand in our social evolution, and thus be able to adopt some provisional hypothesis which we can test and confirm or discard in the light of our further experience.

Certain woodland types mature into forms which prohibit their own regeneration, and make it inevitable that a radically different type will rather quickly succeed their over-mature stage. It is perhaps not too fanciful to suggest that certain dominant idea-systems in the areas of politics, economics or religion can, through their very successes, come to a corresponding state, when they either decay through making impossible their own renewal or become vulnerable to destruction from the outside. The great theological and political idea-systems of the Middle Ages, vigorous and fertile as they initially had been, seem to have reached this kind of situation during the fourteenth century. The eventual fiasco of the Crusades, the chronic and sterile feud between the Empire and the Papacy, and the resulting disillusionment and decay of Christian unity and of clerical and regal authority encouraged dissident movements among scholars and artists, city merchants and schismatic religious leaders. No doubt the tremendous shock and dislocation of the Black Death, the sufferings of the Hundred Years War, and the fall of Constantinople opened up the first big clearings, in which the new seed set and flourished.

In its early generations much of this new seed came from the mathematically-minded University-forming Arab culture which penetrated the West through the Crusades, as well as from the long-dormant hoards of Greece and Rome (and the more recent mutants visible even in the medieval culture itself). This seed, however, like many colonizing aliens, needed a long period of acclimatization and genetic recombination before it could create viable and prolific new strains. The process was visibly stimulated and reinforced when the voyages of discovery brought much wider physical contacts with continents other than Europe.

In our present context the salient points seem to be the aging and discrediting of the medieval systems of thought and politics, the external defeats of the Crusading enterprise, the Black Death, and later the fall of Constantinople, and the brilliant and vigorous intellectual and artistic counter-movement which grew up, notably in Italy, where the new impacts were felt earliest and most strongly. Had there been a C. P. Snow to chronicle the conflict of two cultures it would have been the Latinists and classicists, now viewed as the reactionaries, who were then the avant-garde. In contrast to the collapse of the Roman Empire under barbarian attack, the medieval structure was demolished from within by brilliant intellectuals and artists who clearly analyzed and presented a dynamic, and overwhelmingly more attractive, alternative approach. Both sides had worthy and well thought-out concepts of what civilization should be like, and all the material and institutional changes sprang out of, and followed at some distance, the intellectual and moral victory of the new humanist ideas.

For us contemporaries of Dr. Strangelove it is evidently much easier to draw a parallel on the negative side, in the discrediting and defeat of so many of the key ideas, values, and economic and social aspirations of the modern Western world, than to find any parallel among our artists to those of the High Renaissance, or among poets and writers to those who demolished medievalism and replaced it by the new humanism. Perhaps we may charitably assume that there is now a brief interval between the great iconoclasts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and a new generation of intellectual and artistic leaders who are about to take the stage and show the way.
We Can Learn from Ecology

Ecology, however, can lend us two relevant thoughts on this situation. The march of ecological succession is not regular, even and uninterrupted but, at any given time and place, it is an untidy process, complicated by pauses and even major reversals. It is only with hindsight and much smoothing of the record that a textbook evolution can be presented. So it certainly was with the chequered and prolonged interplay of new and old in the Renaissance, and so it no doubt must be in any similar transformation.

The other thought which ecology prompts is this: decay or destruction of the old facilitates but cannot bring about its replacement by the appropriate successor stage. The right seed has to be there at the right time, and the conditions have to be suitable.

This suggests one important difference in the two sets of circumstances now before us. The medieval culture was in essence a closed system, in that way much more like Soviet Marxism than that of the modern West, which is conspicuously open and free of dogma. The modern intellectual, therefore, has little to fight against on his own ground, and nothing to defend except past victories, which have proved empty because the managers, owners, workers, administrators and technicians have learned to use and exploit the intellectual when they need him and to by-pass him when they do not. Moreover, the main enemy now is not a reactionary and well-policed system of ideas, nor even a personal tyrant, but the vast impersonal forces which the particular blinkers contemporary civilization has inadvertently fitted to itself have permitted to emerge. The sacred cows of national sovereignty, the economic free-for-all, uninhibited human reproduction, and so forth, have grown into devouring monsters, bringing into our midst nuclear bombs, unemployment, the population explosion, and physical destruction or pollution of man's habitat on an appalling scale. All these great troubles of our time have in common that no one has willed them, and therefore no one can directly "unwill" them. They have to be brought within the range of the human will by an expansion and infilling of man's consciousness of his indirect and often unsuspecting impacts on his environment, both natural and human.

Perusal of intellectual journals confirms, what common sense would anyway suggest, that contemporary intellectuals are hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with a challenge to civilization from such quarters. At a time when inspiring and creative leadership from them and from the artists is desperately needed we seem to get less than ever before. Freedom, and human existence itself, are threatened by the overwhelming powers of Nothing coming out of No Man's Land—a theme for Kafka, or William Blake, or Hieronymus Bosch. But it is unthinkable to both our classical and our scientific cultures that there should be anything in the world which man is incapable of apprehending and mastering. If man is, as he certainly seems to be, failing at this task, the reason must be that he is tackling the problem at the wrong point and in the wrong way. It is not difficult to find confirmation that this is so. Almost insensibly and unobserved, the natural system of evolution has suffered from the breakaway of a novel artificially developed rival evolutionary system based on human society, which has quickly grown so large, and so powerful in deliberate manipulation of natural processes, as to challenge and even supersede natural evolution over wide areas of the earth and varied ranges of activity.

Scorched Earth Policy Against the Future

Intent in exploiting these new powers, man is only belatedly recognizing that his new evolutionary vehicle is as yet far from stable or well-integrated, and that it is being directed on a collision course vis-a-vis nature. The need to change this course, so as to harmonize the man-directed systems with the naturally functioning systems, has only just presented itself to us as a coherent problem. It may be said that much of mankind has become involved in a kind of free-for-all guerilla warfare against nature, waged by burning and other forms of destruction familiar in such warfare. Indeed in such a continent as Latin America today the "scorched earth" methods adopted by the Russians to render their occupied lands useless to the German enemy are hourly being used by the inhabitants themselves against their own future interests in their own country. Forests of good timber are being reduced to ashes, sources of water flow destroyed, and vast tonnages of soil are being shifted from the upland slopes to block navigable rivers, leaving often scars of erosion spreading where they come from. Even important international organizations for technical and economic aid are tacitly associated with these destructive practices. Yet, like much guerilla warfare, this campaign is unavowed, sporadic and elusive. To come to grips with it calls for more intelligence—in both senses of the word—more organization and a better strategic concept than is yet understood by conservationists.

How can we bring about a new relationship between man and his natural and social environments? If stated this way, new possible approaches at once suggest themselves. Human freedom to fulfill human potentialities may now be viewed as a kind of organism which, following ecological laws, can flourish only in a suitable habitat. That habitat is partly physical, partly social, but at present man is rapidly impairing and eventually destroying both. The two key requirements are therefore for man to acquire the habit of viewing himself as flourishing, and only being able to flourish, in a certain blended natural and social habitat, and of defining and bringing about the essential conditions for the existence of that habitat. Of the two main sections of the problem, natural and social, the first is tangible, the second intangible. The more we can define, control, and spread awareness and understanding of the first, the more readily the right attitudes and methods will be created for dealing with the second.

Who Is Responsible?

If this train of thought is in any way sound, its implications for ecologists and conservationists are both important and disturbing. No doubt the blame for the failure to get on with the new Renaissance which we clearly need, and have some grounds to expect, can be laid at various doors. We may attribute it to the arrogance of Man the Conqueror of Nature and the Substitute for God, directly arising from the pride of the Renaissance, and gathering force to this day. Or we may attribute it to blindness and weakness in political, religious and other leaders over such matters as acceptance of war as an instrument of policy and refusal to face the plain implications of the population explosion. Or we can partly explain it by the bewildering development of urgent problems both internationally and domestically, or the tendency of urbanization to lead to an increasingly severe physical alienation of man from his roots in nature. It is difficult, however, to see how we can, in the end, avoid attributing a significant share of the blame to ecologists and conservationists themselves.

If ecology is not studied well enough, and if conservationists are not keenly enough interested in its development, people cannot be blamed for failing to understand its relevance or to appreciate its importance. Unfortunately, it is difficult to deny that this has been the case. Ecologists have failed on at least three major issues. First, unlike better disciplined sciences, ecology still uses different terms and standards for the same things, depending on whether the ecologist was trained in, say, Berkeley, Montpelier or Oslo, and there has been a serious lag in creating a firm experimental basis for many of its hypotheses. Secondly, there has been a failure to attract and to train adequately enough good men for the necessary effort in teaching, study, and practice. Thirdly, ecology has so far signally failed to demonstrate its essentiality to such key potential users as the National Park Service, in the way that the agricultural sciences have to agriculture, or the physical sciences to defense and industry, or the medical sciences to doctors. Thus, while other sciences forge ahead to a higher and more secure status, ecology remains at once the Cinderella and the Peter Pan of the family, always poverty-stricken, and apparently resolved never to grow up. If we wish (as ecologists certainly do) we can find plenty of reasons or excuses or alibis for this unenviable situation, but this is not making the best use of our time. We would do better to forget the alibis and simply to put our house in order.

Urgent Steps to Be Taken

Some of the most urgent steps to this end are suggested in the International Biological Program (IBP), if ecologists will apply themselves to realizing it. One of these is the simple need for a universal rational system of classification of plant and animal associations and their environment. Hitherto, sectional groups of ecologists have championed various incomplete and often subjective classifications, while many ecologists have looked askance at all of them. Some classifications have, for example, been expressed in terms of climate and of bioclimatic regions; others in form of vegetation as it might be seen in profile (such as woodland or grassland); and others on a basis of dominant species in associations, or of land use, or a blend of two or more of these. Evidently we need to apply to this problem the principles of taxonomy and to present all the relevant factors, each at its appropriate level and in its logical order, beginning with environment and going successively into more detail as to what is actually seen on the ground at a particular stage of succession on a particular site. When we have done this we can code the different types and subdivisions numerically, and produce data that can be sorted and analyzed in many different ways by computer, so that any natural or seminatural or humanly induced type of vegetation or animal life on the earth can be compared or contrasted with others in its composition, its affinities or evolution, and its environmental frame.

At the same time the IBP aims to measure and compare both primary and secondary production at selected sites in order to provide a basis for studying the comparative yields of different natural and artificial forms of land use. In this and other ways a scientific basis will emerge for presenting the probable effects of different choices in relation to land use and land management. This will enable us to assess recommended projects and policies more soundly and critically and to avoid costly mistakes in investment or treatment. Here we enter the area of applied ecology which we may call conservation.

Can we really feel satisfied that the current status and effectiveness of the conservation movement is commensurate either with what is needed or with the rather considerable effort invested in it over the past half century? And if not, why not? Again three major faults may be cited. First, conservation has been content with a philosophy which appeals to and satisfies few but the converted, and which leaves the big battalions of the unconverted too much in possession of the strategic initiative against it. Psychologically there has been too much reliance on sentimental appeal and on exploiting feelings of guilt at extinctions of species, destruction of trees, creation of dustbowls, erosion, and so forth. The positive aspect of conservation, and its foundations in science and in the framework of civilization, has failed to get across, partly because the rather crude propaganda approach has been unsuitable. Secondly, at all levels of education we have failed to demonstrate convincingly to skeptics that the undoubted educational potential of ecology applied in conservation has been tapped in the right form to make bright students feel drawn to it, and future employers pay heed to it as a background training which they like to find in their recruits to all kinds of vocations. Thirdly, and largely in consequence of the other two, we have so drastically failed to develop a recognized professional expertise, standard, and common interest in conservation that many have concluded that there is not and cannot be any such a profession. On the validity of that conclusion I remain unconvinced. Admittedly, the main professional role of conservation is to be part of the professional training of such related groups as foresters, parks and wildlife managers, land managers and regional planners. But the world needs some first-class conservationists working as such, and it should not be beyond the wit of man to make that demand effective, and to balance it with a suitable supply.

What has gone wrong with the next Renaissance? Ought one to be happening now, and if so, why isn't it? Are there basic weaknesses still in our approach to the science of ecology, and the art and science of conservation? If so, are these weaknesses of a type which might partly account for an overdue Renaissance having to be posted missing? Ought we to be sending out search parties to look for it?

New Approaches

Considering such questions in the light of the previous discussion, it seems to me that there is a case at any rate for pursuing the matter further. If there is anything in this argument, the responsibility for inaction is heavy. If there is nothing in it the effort will not have been wasted, if it only improves the performance and the status of ecology and conservation. These things are well worth doing on their own merits, anyway.

One new approach to this problem is to analyze all the different human activities which have some impact on the land and to ascertain what form this impact takes; whether it is continuous, intermittent, or regular; whether it is local or widespread; and what we have learned from concrete instances of its nature and of ways of cushioning, regulating, or harnessing it. Note that this approach allows for an impact to be "good," "bad” or "neutral," or any combination of the three, and emphasizes study and treatment rather than mere condemnation.

By following such an approach we come to understand that "development" and "conservation" are not poles apart but are two aspects of the process of harmonizing natural systems and man-made systems so that the interaction of the two permits the best practicable evolution of each. Every major development agency, therefore, needs the technical services of the modern conservationist, but every conservation agency needs to study and understand trends and requirements in development. Some forms of conservation activity, such as increased water storage, contour ploughing, or landscaping are an integral part of development projects. Others, such as management of strictly natural areas or protection of wildlife, may appear to be remote from development, but are actually part of the research base on which development in its land-use aspect must depend for guidance and information. It must increasingly become recognized as the public duty of developers and planners only to proceed in the light of conservation principles and guidance, but those who seek to make a cult of conservation are doing their best to prevent this happening and to perpetuate sterile divisions of which nature is the chief casualty. Although there must be give-and-take between conservationists and developers, there must still be adamant resistance to those short-sighted developers who pursue, for indefensible reasons, preconceived projects damaging to nature, and who are stubborn about proposing or discussing reasonable alternative means of realizing whatever essential purposes may be involved. Strengthened by a broader and deeper base in natural science, and by open and conciliatory tactics, conservation becomes better equipped to win the necessary decisive battles against the stupid, the selfish, and the intransigent. Each such victory helps toward fuller acceptance of conservation principles, and a reduction of future conflicts. Time and energy are thus freed for the more constructive tasks of studying formerly conflicting interests and helping them to adapt their policies and practices as a contribution to harmonizing the natural and human systems. But at the same time conservationists, aided by ecologists, must take a new look at nature and shake off some of the sentimental and literary nineteenth-century attitudes which we have inherited. Certainly we owe it to the great pioneers, such as John Muir, to recall and respect their thoughts, but we do poor service to them, and to nature, by assuming that these thoughts are all we need today.

The ecologist should be the most modern and deeply synthesizing of scientists; the conservationist should equally become the most wide-ranging and integrating of professionals concerned with the land and its use and welfare. Only in this way can the two together perform the service of healing the wound which will run through our society so long as man spurns and maltreats nature.

The Needs of Today

What, then, are the needs in 1964? I would put first the working out of a more coherent and satisfying statement of the true relation of technological man to his environment. Delight in wilderness is a noble and wonderful experience for the few who can be privileged to enjoy it and are able to appreciate it. But to lowing m Thoreau's footsteps is neither possible, nor desirable, nor desired on the part of numberless transient refugees from modern urban civilization. A romantic perfectionism must have its place, where true peace and remoteness can still be preserved but those who enjoy it have the duty also of shaping something quite different and attainable for the many, lest we become swamped in lost hordes of minicitizens erupting like bewildered human lemmings, from more and more megacities Conservation must shed its amiably nostalgic image, and win by a new realism full recognition as a serious and possibly crucial element in the central problem of our time-the problem of human survival and of the finding of a clear road for the further unfolding of civilization.

This is what Patriarch and the makers of the Renaissance were after. They, too, had to appeal to living nature, including human nature, against dead idea-systems and institutional fetters Conservation is liable to require culling in order to prevent erosion and as conservationists put their house in order they will be called on to assist in the overdue culling of our civilization's degenerate sacred cows. They must do this not as irresponsible propagandists but as professional practitioners in land use and land management. Moreover, they must cull their own sacred cows first of all. Only so will they have the status to play their role. This role, however coolly it must be played, is desperately urgent. The most that can be saved in the world in 1965 will already be gravely less than what we might save now if we at once make a less inadequate effort to that end than we are currently making. We owe this to our self-respect, and to our children's children, and to the nature whose cause our best feelings express to us. For the world's wildlife the moment of truth has come. Eagles expect that every man this day will do his duty

So we complete our pilgrimage through the cosmic wilderness and find ourselves back again to the task of street-sweeping armed, let us hope, with a new broom and a new resolution to get the job done, whatever the Brahmins may think. As we clear aside the clutter we may hope to reveal the buried pavement in which can be traced the true design of man's place in nature. Responding to this design, as children of these new days, we will learn to reshape our ideas and our skills in communicating them, and the techniques and organizations which we employ in dealing with the land and its creatures. Indeed, much is already happening in that sense. The world-wide revulsion against thoughtless exploitation and pollution of the natural environment is gaining impressive impetus. Organized world-wide efforts to conserve wildlife and its habitats have begun. The International Biological Program promises to go far in uniting and consolidating the work of ecologists within the ambit of the life and earth sciences, and in providing a firm base for scientific conservation. Both in North America and in Europe scholars and technologists are getting together to cope with the challenge of the human environment on a much wider front than ever before. As we contemplate these projects each in itself looks formidably large, yet against the cosmic scale by which they must be measured, the whole lot are still very small. Let us not be discouraged on this account. If we ask the right questions we will sooner or later get the right answers, and they will sooner or later prevail. But this time is terribly short, and ecology and conservation are short-handed. What is shortest of all is leadership, and here in Berkeley exists one of the few groups in the world that can provide leadership in a big way. May I then conclude with a further flight of fancy. How fine it would be if a new Renaissance should take shape with the help of ecologists and conservationists, and if history should record that Berkeley played in it the part of a Florence or a Ferrara.


The International Biological Program (IBP) of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) was formally launched at the General Assembly of ICSU at Vienna in November 1963, where it was entrusted to a Special Committee (SCIBP), modeled on that which recently carried through the successful International Geophysical Year (IGY). The president of SCIBP is Dr. G. Montalend (Rome), and its members include the conveners of the sub-commissions preparing the various sections of the program within the general theme of Biological Productivity and Human Welfare.

These sections cover:

Terrestrial Biological Communities

Physiology Convenor M. Florkin, Liege
Ecology Convenor H. Ellenberg, Zurich
Conservation Convenor E. M. Nicholson, London
Fresh Water Communities Convenor W. Rodhe, Uppsala
Marine Communities Convenor R. S. Glover, Edinburgh
Human Adaptability Convenor J. S. Weiner London
Public Relations and Training Convenor G. L. Stebbins, Davis
(and, in course of formation, Use and Management of Biological Resources) Convenor E. H. Graham, Washington (provisional)

Invitations have been dispatched to National Academies of Science to form national committees to prepare and supervise participation in IBP by their respective countries. The Royal Society of London established a British National Committee in January, 1964, based on a previous provisional committee. Representatives of national committees and scientists actively participating will meet on July 23-26, 1964, at UNESCO House Pans, to review and revise the plans. (Further information can be obtained from F. W. G. Baker, ICSU, 2 Via Sebenico, Rome, Italy.)

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) with headquarters at Merges, Switzerland, is the recognized world body dealing with conservation, under the presidency of Professor Francois Bourliere, Paris. It works through commissions on Ecology (Chairman, E. H. Graham, Washington, D.C.); Education (Chairman, L. Shaposnikov, Moscow); Survival Service (Chairman, Peter Scott, Slimbridge); and National Parks (Chairman, H. J. Coolidge, Washington). The Commission on Ecology is closely linked with those within the International Union of Biological Sciences and the International Biological Program. IUCN itself has close ties with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) whose international headquarters share the same building in Morges, while national offices are active in Great Britain, the U.S.A., Germany, and elsewhere.

Many of the projects and experiences on which this lecture is based are described in the Annual Reports to Parliament of the Nature Conservancy, published every December in respect of the year ended September 30 preceding by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London. The basis of the Nature Conservancy's combination of scientific, conservation and administrative functions is described in the Report of the Wildlife Special Committee, Command Paper 7122, 1947, published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London. A brief review of the main features is contained in "Comparisons in Resource Management: Six Notable Programs in other countries and their possible U.S. application" edited by Henry Jarrett (published for Resources for the Future, Inc. by The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1961). The analysis of human impacts on the land is given in the proceedings of the Study Conference on the Countryside in 1970, organized by the Nature Conservancy in November, 1963, under the presidency of H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh (and published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, in March, 1964). This also contains information about current progress and thinking in Great Britain regarding the reconciliation of conservation and development. The best perspective on the evolution of the relations of human and natural systems is contained in Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth, edited by William L. Thomas (University of Chicago Press, 1956), and in the Ecology of Invasions by Animals and Plants, by Charles Eiton (Methuen, London, 1958).

Much important recent North American thinking on the application of ecology in conservation has been focused in private symposia, results of which have in some cases not been published. Two valuable sources available are The Suburban Forest, Bulletin 652, Conneticut Agricultural ExpenmentStation, edited by J. D. Ovington (United Printing Services Inc. New Haven Connecticut, 1962), and Resources, the Metropolis, and the Land-Grant University Proceedings of the Conference on Natural Resources, January-May, 1963, edited by A. J. W. Scheffey (Publication 410, Cooperative Extension Service, College of Agriculture, University of Massachusetts). (A more comprehensive symposium for 1965 is currently being prepared by the Conservation Foundation under the Chairmanship of Frank Darling.)

The reflections regarding possible parallels between the Renaissance and the present-day have been stimulated by works on the history and paintings of the Renaissance too numerous to mention, supplemented by reference to writings of some of the leading contemporaries who placed on record the kind of aims they had in mind

Finally acknowledgement must be made to the second Horace M. Albnght lecture by Dr. Marston Bates, who has himself provided further references to his stimulating discussion of the Human Environment.

10th March, 1964.


Introducing: Edward Max Nicholson

RATIONAL CONSERVATION of natural resources requires both research to help us understand how nature works, and conscious management to insure that we work with nature instead of against it. To put this concept effectively to work presents a challenge to the breadth of the scientist and to the skill of the administrator. Edward Max Nicholson, Director-General of the British Nature Conservancy, has for many years occupied a position of leadership in the demonstration of how this challenge might be met on a practical basis.

Mr. Nicholson was born in Ireland of English parents and was educated at Hertford College, Oxford, where he read history. But his interest in nature had already been established and much of his time while in the University was devoted to organizing biological expeditions to Greenland and South America, to a national census of heronries, and to work in bird ecology and populations. During the i93o's he was largely responsible for running a social and economic research organization known as Political and Economic Planning. He was also first Secretary of the British Trust for Ornithology.

During World War II Mr. Nicholson was Head of the Allocation of Tonnage Division of the Ministry of War Transport. In that capacity he attended the Cairo, Quebec, Yalta, and Potsdam conferences and followed up in action resulting decisions affecting shipping. From 1945 to 1952 he was Secretary of the Office of the Lord President of the Council and he represented his Government on the Council which organized the 1951 Festival of Britain. Since 1948 he has served as a member of the Government's Advisory Council on Scientific Policy. Mr. Nicholson became a charter member of the official Nature Conservancy in 1949, after having served under Dr. Julian Huxley on the committee which drew up plans for Conservation of Nature in England and Wales. After serving as Leader of a Joint U.N./F.A.O. Economic Development Survey Team in Baluchistan, he was appointed Director-General of the Nature Conservancy in 1952. Under his leadership the Nature Conservancy has grown into an important and unique organization conducting and sponsoring research, owning and managing more than one hundred National Nature Reserves, and carrying on extensive informational and educational functions. Cooperating in these endeavors with many other national and international groups the Nature Conservancy may be thought of not so much as a body which does conservation but as a body which enables and encourages it to be done.

In addition to his responsibilities as Director-General, Mr Nicholson has served as Senior Editor of British Birds, held office in leading ornithological societies, and been a Trustee of The Observer newspaper. In 1963 he was awarded the John C. Phillips Medal of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. He is the author of numerous books, articles, and scientific papers. As an active contributor to scientific inquiry and as one who has added meaning to the very concept of conservation, Mr. Nicholson brings to his 1964 Albright Lecture an unrivalled breadth of experience.