The strongest proponent of a more dynamic approach to wildlife conservation in the 1920s was Aldo Leopold, the nation's first professor of wildlife management at the University of Wisconsin and the author of the seminal monograph on the subject, (1933). Leopold, whose (1949) joined the works of Thoreau and Muir as the founding texts of the environmental movement of the 1960s, believed that all species, including exist in a symbiotic interdependence. His theories prefigured the modern science of ecology, defined as "the study of the interrelationships of organisms to one another and to the environment," and his words were echoed later by proponents of the "Gaia hypothesis." Leopold preached the need for humans to appreciate "the indivisibility of the earth—its soil, mountains, rivers, forests, climate, plants and animals—and respect it collectively" (Chase, p. 45). He understood that a region's flora and fauna subsist in an intricate web of interdependencies and that to single out one species, such as the Kaibab deer, for protection at the expense of others is to disrupt a natural equilibrium that had been eons in the making. In a development emblematic of the evolution of conservationism from a movement staffed by upper-class amateurs to one composed of middle-class professionals, Leopold called for a new generation of scientifically trained experts conversant in population dynamics and the operation of food chains to become involved in game management. He taught that wildlife officials could institute a number of practices to maintain the balance of what became known as the "ecosystem," such as practicing selective castration, conducting breeding programs, and allowing predators and even licensed hunters to cull dangerously expanding populations.
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The federal government also took a number of steps to deal with the dust bowl, which ravaged western farmlands in the early 1930s thanks to poor agricultural practices, disastrous overgrazing, and a series of dry years. The Soil Erosion Service, established in 1933, and then the Soil Conservation Service, established in 1935 under Hugh Hammond Bennett, aided landowners in soil and water conservation. The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 halted overgrazing on public lands, the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenancy Act of 1937 provided for reforestation of abandoned or submarginal farmland, and the Shelterbelt Program planted more than 18,000 miles of tree belts on the Plains to break up the wind, to provide shade for livestock, and to retain moisture in the soil.