• Hardwood Rangeland Landowners in California from 1985 to 2004: Production, Ecosystem Services, and Permanence

      Huntsinger, Lynn; Johnson, Martin; Stafford, Monica; Fried, Jeremy (Society for Range Management, 2010-05-01)
      A longitudinal study of California hardwood rangelands shows significant change in landowner characteristics and goals. Results of three studies spanning 1985 to 2004 were used to develop and evaluate a multiagency research and extension program known as the Integrated Hardwood Range Management Program. Program-sponsored education and research aimed at encouraging landowners to change woodland management has been reflected in a significant reduction in oak cutting and an increase in oak planting. Recent changes have come with the times: landowners were as likely to have consulted land trusts about oaks as Cooperative Extension, and the number engaged in production of crops or livestock continued to decline. On the other hand, the proportion of landowners, including ranchers, reporting that they live in the oak woodland to benefit from ecosystem services such as natural beauty, recreation, and lifestyle benefits significantly increased. Though owners of large properties and ranchers were more strongly against regulation and ‘‘government interference’’ than other respondents, this did not appear to affect oak values and management. Property size remained significantly related to landowner goals, values, and practices, with those producing livestock owning most of the larger properties. There has been a decline in the number of properties being studied due to conversion of some from oak woodland to other uses, though the remaining respondents still own at least 10% of the woodlands. Landowners with conservation easements or those who are willing to consider them, who believe oak recruitment is inadequate, or who use advisory services were significantly less likely to cut oaks and more likely to plant them. Policy, management, and outreach that support synergies between production and conservation activities, and that combine ecosystem service-based income streams that encourage keeping land intact and increased land-use stability, are needed to support conservation of private rangelands.