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Publication Information

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Title: Public land grazing for private land conservation?

Author: Sulak, Adriana; Huntsinger, Lynn; Barry, Sheila; Forero, Larry;

Date: 2008

Source: In: Merenlender, Adina; McCreary, Douglas; Purcell, Kathryn L., tech. eds. 2008. Proceedings of the sixth California oak symposium: today's challenges, tomorrow's opportunities. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-217. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: pp. 7-18

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: California ranchers with substantial private oak woodlands sometimes use public lands as an important component of their production cycle. Yet allowed public grazing has declined and is likely to continue to decline. This, combined with intensifying development pressure and land use change, dramatically affects the resource base for ranch operations, which in turn influences landowner management decisions and practices. Such individual decisions have a significant role in shaping California’s future landscape. As private rangelands are developed and taken out of production, public lands become a greatly sought after forage resource for livestock operators. Public agencies could dramatically expand their spheres of conservation influence by leveraging these important connections between private oak woodland ranches and their public leases. This scenario is examined in two key areas in California: the central Sierra’s oak woodland foothills, and the San Francisco Bay Area’s East Bay grassland and hardwood rangelands. In both of these areas, the public manages large and crucial swaths of grazed lands surrounded by privately held oak woodland ranch lands. After conducting more than 50 in-depth interviews over the past six years, we find differences between the two groups of operators in reactions to public forage reductions. In the Sierra foothills seeking replacement forage is a common response, whereas in the Bay Area reducing the herd is the most common reaction to a reduction in allowed public grazing. Nevertheless, in response to a total loss of public grazing more than one-third of both groups feel it is likely they would sell their ranches. When the private acreage attached to these public leases is taken into consideration, this study reveals how public land management decisions affect the risks to California’s remaining hardwood range.

Keywords: conservation, development, land use change, leasing, livestock, permittees, public

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Sulak, Adriana; Huntsinger, Lynn; Barry, Sheila; Forero, Larry. 2008. Public land grazing for private land conservation? In: Merenlender, Adina; McCreary, Douglas; Purcell, Kathryn L., tech. eds. 2008. Proceedings of the sixth California oak symposium: today's challenges, tomorrow's opportunities. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-217. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: pp. 7-18

 


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