When Ranching Is For The Birds (And Fish And Elk), Ranchland Ownership Changes In The Greater Yellowstone And Implications For Conservation

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  • 1. When Ranching is for the Birds (and Fish and Elk): Ranchland Ownership Change in Greater Yellowstone and Implications for Conservation Hannah Gosnell Julia H. Haggerty Department of Geosciences Headwaters Economics Sustainable Rural Communities Initiative Oregon State University William R. Travis University of Colorado 2007 RVCC Annual Policy Meeting
  • 2. Ranchlands Research at CAW 2000-2005 Pilot study (2000-2001) 3 Rocky Mountain Counties in CO, WY, and MT In collaboration with TNC and AFT GYE study (2001-2003) 10 counties in WY and MT Ownership fragmentation; ranch sales; buyer types Mgmt practices of new vs. longtime owners (2003-2005) Several ranch landscapes in MT, AZ, CA Semi-structured interviews with ranch owners
  • 3. Case Study Counties
  • 4. Large Agricultural Ownership
  • 5. Large Ranch Sales as Percentage of All Large Ranches GYE Ranchlands Study Counties, 1990-2001 50% 40% 45% 45% 35% % of Acreage in Large Ag Ops Sold 40% 30% % of Large Ag Ops Sold 35% 32% 29% 25% 28% 27% 30% 24% 23% 25% 20% 20% 15% 14% 14% 13% 15% 10% 10% 5% 5% 0% 0% S Li Fr B M P S P S C ub ea ar w ar til ar ad nc em ee lw k, k, bo ve le i ol so on tG tt at W M n rh n e n T er t Y ea ra ss d % of Large Ag Ops Sold % of Acreage in Large Ops Sold
  • 6. Working Typology - Large Agricultural Landowners Amenity Buyer Traditional Rancher • Purchases ranch for Part-time Rancher ambience, recreation, and other amenities, not primarily Amenity Buyer for ag production • Often absentee Investor • Hires ranch manager to make day-to-day decisions and do majority of work Corporation • May lease land to Developer neighboring rancher • Majority of income from off- Conservation Organization ranch sources • Economic viability of ranch Other usually not an issue
  • 7. Number of Ranch Sales to Different Buyer Types GYE Ranchlands Study Counties, 1990-2001 90 80 70 Number of Sales 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Su Pa St C Fr Sw B Li Pa M ar ea ad nc il e r bl r ee lw k, m bo k, v is ol e er on at tG tte M W on n n he er T t Y ra a ss d Amenity Buyer Traditional Rancher Investor Part Time Rancher Developer Unknown Other Conservation Org Corporation
  • 8. Amenity Buyers and Traditional Ranchers in the Market Purchases as a percentage of all acres changing hands in large ranch sales Amenity Buyers Traditional Ranchers Park, MT 73% Fremont, WY 46% Madison, MT 64% Beaverhead, MT 41% Sublette, WY 62% Lincoln, WY 39% Park, WY 57% Stillwater, MT 38% Sweet Grass, MT 55% Carbon, MT 20% Beaverhead, MT 49% Sublette, WY 18% Lincoln, WY 34% Park, WY 14% Fremont, WY 14% Sweet Grass, MT 11% Carbon, MT 14% Park, MT 5% Stillwater, MT 11% Madison, MT <1%
  • 9. Megasite Conservation Priorities: Irreplaceability and Vulnerability A Biological Conservation Assessment for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Noss et al 2001
  • 10. Ownership Heterogeneity (Dickinson 2007)
  • 11. Conservation Implications Potential Benefits: Conservation easement opportunities Agglomeration of parcels Well-financed ranch operations Reduced pressure on public lands New leaders and ideas
  • 12. Conservation Implications Challenges: Net loss of local knowledge Unprecedented levels of absenteeism Implications for public lands mgmt Continued instability of ownership
  • 13. New Ruralities? Contingencies: Longtime owners’ openness to new ways New owners’ interest in privacy vs. community RANCH MANAGERS An issue to rally around Supportive laws institutions
  • 14. www.centerwest.org/ranchlands Major funding provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation with additional support from Yellowstone Heritage and the Turner Foundation gosnellh@geo.oregonstate.edu
  • 15. “Multifunctional” Landscapes Wood River Wetland, Root Ranch
  • 16. Wolf-cattle coexistence experiment in the Madison Valley Madison Valley Ranchlands Group Wildlife Working Group
  • 17. A New Restoration Economy? Paying Landowners for Provision of Ecological Services (PES) Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust ranchers idling land for $ in the Wood River Valley, OR
  • 18. Summary and Implications • Ranch landscapes in the American West are increasingly heterogeneous • New types of communities and ruralities are emerging • Geographies of conflict and cooperation • Agroecological partnerships seem to be contributing to strong(er) multifunctional landscapes • Formation of agroecological alliances is contingent on a number of factors • Need more research on contingencies, new institutional arrangements, socioecological outcomes
  • 19. Ag Land Sales and Ecosystem Values in Sublette County, WY
  • 20. Acres in Large Agricultural Operations GYE Ranchlands Study Counties, 2002 1,000,000 100% 900,000 800,000 95% Acres in Large Ag Operations % of Acres in Large Ag Ops 700,000 600,000 90% 500,000 400,000 85% 300,000 200,000 80% 100,000 0 75% St B M Sw Pa Fr Pa C Su Li ea ar ad ill nc em rk rk b ee bo w ve le is ol ,M ,W on at tG tte on r n n he er T t Y ra ad ss Acres in Large Ag Operations % of Ag Acres in Large Ag Ops