Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland Page: 35
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Land Ownership and Grazing Management
Land use is closely interlinked with land ownership, and these proportions reflect historic
land management priorities. Over 60 % of the land in the United States is privately owned. The
federal government is the second largest landowner with more than 28 %, mostly in the Western
United States. State and local governments own nearly 9 % and Indian trust land accounts for
over 2 % (Lubowski et al., 2006).
If the land is privately owned it may be used, with few restrictions, as its owner wishes to
satisfy his or her goals and objectives. If it is publicly owned, the land must be used to satisfy the
goals of society (Conner, 1991). Property rights and the way different landowners interpret them,
can influence social factors affecting sustainability. The classic 1968 paper by Garrett Hardin,
The Tragedy of the Commons, sounded a warning that the sustainable management of rangelands
is unattainable without some consideration of property rights.
Values and perspectives about property rights may differ between existing landowners
and newcomers or neighboring communities. Two common property right issues include water
pollution and endangered species (Maczko and Hidinger, 2008). In the context of a business
firm, ranches included, the major goal is continuous survival of the business enterprise. This
goal predicates other goals for the property owner (Conner, 1984). While survival of the
business, may be the primary goal of property owners of rangeland, they also express a strong
agreement that they had obligations to be good environmental stewards of their land based on
their individual morals, not because of a belief that proper land management would be beneficial
to society as a whole (Kreuter et al., 2006).
Private land is America's working land. It includes 99 % of the Nation's cropland, 61 %
of the grassland pasture and range, 56 % of the forest-use land, and 30 % of the special-use,
urban, and miscellaneous land (Lubowski et al., 2006). With privately owned land, business
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Becker, Wayne. Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland, dissertation, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103289/m1/46/: accessed April 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .