Dynamics project attempts to obtain a clearer picture
of the rates and patterns of changes in ownership and use of
the West's ranchlands, and to assess the land conservation implications
of this transition. Of particular interest is the widespread
transfer of ranches out of traditional hands to a new generation
of owners with different land management models and goals. This
transition affects ranching as a cultural and economic system,
changes rural communities, and influences the conservation opportunities
offered by large, intact private land parcels. The American
Farmland Trust has recently mapped ranchlands
at risk of development in the Rocky Mountain West and many
conservation organizations look to ranches as key parcels of
open space, productive land and wildlife habitat to be protected
in this rapidly-developing region. But despite much discussion,
geographical details of this phenomenon have been lacking. Neither
researchers nor conservationists have a good grasp of the rates
or extent of ranch turnover, despite frequent comments in the
media that "a large percent of ranches are likely to change
hands over the next decade."
Change Patterns: Our latest results tracking changes in ranchland ownership in the West.
Strategies: A tool for fitting land conservation to ranching landscapes in different stages of transition.
Use in Transition: First results from our interviews
of new and long-time ranch owners.
Click here to view contact information for members of
the Ranchland Study Team.
A Center of the American West project with funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Yellowstone Heritage, and The Nature Conservancy