A Sand County Almanac combines natural history, scene painting with words, and philosophy. It is well known for the phrase “When something is right, it tends to perpetuate the biotic community’s integrity, stability, and beauty,” which encapsulates his land ethic. When it leans to the contrary, it is incorrect.” Oxford University Press published the first edition of the book in 1949. It was a collection of previously published pieces by Leopold for popular hunting and conservation periodicals, as well as a collection of longer, more philosophical essays. Luna Leopold put up the final format shortly after his father died, but it was based on notes that apparently matched Aldo Leopold’s ideas. The format and content of the pieces contained in the original have changed in subsequent editions.
The book begins with a collection of writings titled “Sand County Almanac,” which is divided into twelve sections, one for each month of the year. The majority of these papers are on Leopold’s farm near Baraboo, Wisconsin, and the changes that have occurred there in the ecology. (In Wisconsin, there is no such thing as “Sand County.”) The term “sand counties” refers to a region of the state where sandy soils predominate. There are anecdotes and observations about how the seasons affect the flora and animals, as well as comments of conservation issues.