Land ownership change in critical conservation areas
Since the 1990s, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) has undergone and continues to undergo significant demographic and land use change (Hansen et al 2002, Gude et al 2006, Haggerty and Travis 2006). These changes are largely driven by a region-wide transition away from production-type land uses (ranching, timber extraction etc.) towards amenity-type land uses (tourism, recreation etc) (Gosnell et al 2006). Although this so-called amenity transition is concentrated on private lands, changing trends in ownership impact the wildlife that migrate and utilize both private and public landscapes. This research focuses on tracking the changing human dynamic on private lands in the GYE from the perspective of how elk move and can be managed. Drawing from a social-ecological systems and political ecology perspective, the goals of this research are to explore how private landowners make decisions that affect elk habitat and distribution and how the relationships between landowners, elk and the landscape they share change over time. Findings from this study will contribute to improving land and wildlife conservation outcomes for private lands in the GYE and support the work of wildlife managers, regional planners, and landscape-scale conservation initiatives. This work is currently supported by the US Geological Survey, the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the Montana Institute on Ecosystems.
Haggerty, J., Epstein, K., Stone, M., and Cross, P. 2018. Land Use Diversification and Intensification on Elk Winter Range in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 71(2):171-174.