Manager perceptions of goals and outcomes of public rangeland management in San Diego County

Authors: Kathleen Farley*, San Diego State University
Topics: Environment, Human-Environment Geography, Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Keywords: conservation, ecosystem services, land tenure, public land, rangeland
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Land tenure is one of the key factors influencing land use in rangelands, which cover 50% of California and where 63% of rangelands are privately owned. However, tenure is also undergoing rapid change. For example, in San Diego County, the area of publicly owned rangelands increased by 9% between 1990 and 2009. Shifts in rangeland tenure are likely to result in changes in prioritization of ecosystem services and associated management practices. However, while this shift in ownership has recently been documented in San Diego County, the implications for the way rangelands are managed remain unclear. In this research, I sought to evaluate: 1) The primary management goals on public rangelands and the role of grazing in relation to management objectives and 2) The perceived outcomes of grazing on public rangelands. Semi-structured interviews with managers of public rangelands revealed a range of goals, including providing habitat, recreation, protection of cultural resources, fire management, watershed management, and supporting local communities. The findings indicate that regulating and cultural ecosystem services were prioritized over provisioning services on public rangelands, in contrast with private rangelands; and, where provisioning services were considered a top priority, the focus was on water rather than forage. These changes in goals and priorities have implications for how rangelands are managed and the types of grazing practices used. Respondents varied widely in their use of grazing to meet management objectives, but findings suggest that lessons from both private and public rangeland managers could be useful across ownership categories.

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