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New Research Brief: Rancher Attitudes and Participation in Conservation Easements in California

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By Matthew Hamilton - Posted on 16 March 2012

CEPB researchers and colleagues have released a new research brief--"Rancher Attitudes and Participation in Conservation Easements in California"--as part of ongoing work on a USDA-funded project on grazing management and ecosystem services.

Data were collected from a survey of 475 ranchers in California. The research brief casts doubt on the stereotype that a strong property rights orientation is a barrier to conservation easements. Although ranchers expressed a strong commitment to private property rights, these attitudes had no significant relationship to the likelihood of currently holding a conservation easement, or planning to in the future. In contrast, positive views about government’s role in conservation significantly increase rates of current and future planned participation.

These preliminary results suggest that ranchers' views on property rights may have little to do with their likelihood of selling conservation easements. Efforts to increase participation in the conservation easement program may be most successful if they focus on developing trusting relationships between government, non-profit partners, and landowners.

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Research Brief - Attitudes and Participation in Conservation Easements.pdf132.37 KB