What's a bioregion?

What if you couldn't use the geographical names and boundariescities, counties, stateswhich humans have imposed on the landscape to describe where you live?

Well, you'd probably have to look at the landscape itself for a new way to describe your home. You might, for example, say that you live near a river or a lake. Or you might live in an area characterized by a beech-maple forest or outcroppings of a certain erosion-resistant sandstone. Or the dominant feature in your life might be an urban landscape of concrete and asphalt.

In any case, you would have to look about your home with fresh eyes and find new landmarks. And, ultimately, your new way of defining your home territoryyour new "address"would tell a lot about what you value in your surroundings.

This creative act of redefining your home in terms of patterns in the landscape is the essence of bioregionalism. A bioregion, or life-place, is a geographic area of interconnected natural systems and their characteristic watersheds, landforms, species and human cultures. It's a place that "hangs together" in ecological and human terms. And it's typically small enough so that you can know it deeply and learn how to care for the natural systems that support all life within it. As Kirkpatrick Sale says in his book Dwellers in the Land, the bioregion is the scale at which "human potential can match ecological reality."


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Cuyahoga Bioregion
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