NATIONAL CONFERENCE TO DISCUSS CHANGING RURAL LANDSCAPES

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  1. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Allen Kenitzer September 19, 2000
    Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
    (Phone: )

    Annette Trinity-Stevens
    Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont.
    (Phone: )

    Release No. 00-116/Notice to Editors/News Directors


    NATIONAL CONFERENCE TO DISCUSS CHANGING RURAL LANDSCAPES

    A NASA sponsored conference to discuss urban sprawl in America
    will be held at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park,
    Wyo., on Sept. 22-24.

    "The size and character of the populations of rural areas are
    changing rapidly, as are their livelihoods," said Andrew Hansen,
    associate professor of ecology at Montana State University-Bozeman.
    "These socioeconomic trends are dramatically altering patterns of
    land use and land cover, with important consequences for ecosystems
    and human communities. To understand the causes and consequences of
    these changes, a multidisciplinary approach is needed to involve
    social scientists, ecologists, geospatial technology specialists and
    land managers."

    "Changing Landscapes of Rural America" will be open to the
    public and should be of special interest to county commissioners,
    land managers, private developers, realtors and other people
    concerned about changes in land use, Hansen added.

    Wild fires, the rates of loss of agriculture land to urban
    sprawl, the rural population rebound in the upper Midwest, the
    ecological basis of the "New West" economy and new tools for
    measuring and understanding these changes are among the topics to be
    discussed.

    "No matter where people live in the country, they see urban
    sprawl," said Hansen. "They see more cars on the highways. They see
    changes in land use that can only be described as 'stunning.' But
    most people don't know how much the rural landscape is changing. They
    may not realize that, for only the second time in 100 years, more
    people are moving into rural areas than away from them. They haven't
    had the opportunity to discuss the consequences.

    Speakers will include the top land use experts in the nation,
    such as Garik Gutman of NASA's Land Cover Land Use Change Program.
    Many of the research projects to be discussed are funded by NASA's
    Earth Science Enterprise, and presentations will be illustrated with
    the latest satellite photos and other imagery provided by NASA
    technology. NASA, MSU, the Montana EPSCoR Program and Gallatin
    Writers, Inc., are funding the conference.

    "The whole package is going to be eye-opening," Hansen said.
    "People are going to say, 'I had no idea.'"

    The public portion of the conference will begin Saturday, Sept.
    23, with a talk on "Land Use, Ecology and Society: The Current
    Frontier" by Daniel Brown of the University of Michigan. Brown is
    coordinating the conference with Hansen. The rest of the morning and
    the first part of the afternoon will focus on land use trends, rates
    and concepts. The latter part of the afternoon will be devoted to
    case studies showing ecological and socioeconomic causes and
    consequences of land use changes. Gutman will speak at 8 p.m. on the
    NASA Land Cover Land Use Change Program. Popular Montana humorist
    Greg Keeler will provide the entertainment.

    Sunday's sessions will look at decision support and management.
    One talk from 2 to 2:30 p.m. will be given by a Yellowstone National
    Park official discussing "Managing Nature Reserves in the Context of
    Surrounding Private Lands." The formal meetings will end at 5 p.m.

    One purpose of the conference is to synthesize the findings of
    scientists who have been working on rural land use topics, Hansen
    said. He hopes the conference will lead to future collaborations for
    the researchers and greater understanding for those attending the
    conference.

    "These talks will put meat on the bones of what people are
    already saying and feeling," he commented. "These talks will show the
    world is a different place than 20 years ago, but nobody has had a
    finger on the pulse of these changes -- up until now."

    The Land Cover Land Use Change Program is part of NASA's Earth
    Science Enterprise; a long-term research program designed to study
    the Earth's land, oceans, air, ice and life as a total system.

    For more information, send an e-mail to Hansen at hansen@montana.edu
    or check the web at: http://www.homepage.montana.edu/~hansen/hansen/lab/documents/conferenc
    e.htm

    -end-

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    It's all very large.
     
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