Perceptions of barriers and opportunities for Conservation

Perceptions of barriers and opportunities for conservation in Central Coast California rangelands by landowners, managers, and range academics.

“Conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services on California rangelands hinges on partnerships among ranchers (many of whom are private landowners), agency and NGO managers, and academics. To inform efforts to make these partnerships as productive and mutually beneficial as possible, I used interviews and online surveys to evaluate the differences in conservation perspectives and perception of conservation priorities and barriers among these various rangeland stakeholders in the Central Coast region of California, USA. I found that a “sustainable use” perspective on conservation predominates among ranchers, while the perspective of NGO and agency managers is more preservation-oriented. Conservation priorities among ranchers and managers largely overlap, except that ranchers prioritize livestock production and ranch succession and managers prioritize habitat protection. Ranchers note a variety of barriers to conservation, including lack of public understanding of rangeland values, cumbersome paperwork for implementing conservation practices, and variable precipitation. Land use change is one of the threats to rangelands emphasized by all three groups. All interviewed ranchers who owned land showed interest in voluntary conservation easements, while others expressed concerns about access limitations and the inflexibility of lease contracts. Surveyed academics provided insights on opportunities for rangeland conservation as well as recent developments in scientific knowledge that are often not fully applied in range management.”

Aoyama, Lina. M.S. Range Management Candidate, CCRC Scholar, University of California, Berkeley, Draft: May 25, 2018.