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A Model for Federal Public Land Surface Rights' Management


  • Ronald W. Spahr

    () (University of Memphis)

  • Mark A. Sunderman

    () (University of Memphis)


The U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management control larges tracts of Federal public lands mainly in the western United States. Management goals for lands controlled by these agencies are described as "multiple-use." Some of the lands are forested, mountainous, contain wildlife or possess other scenic and recreational attributes and warrant the federal multiple-use designation; however, a significant portion of the land, especially that under BLM control, contains little scenic, recreation or wildlife value, thus offering very little multiple-use potential and non-pecuniary value. Much of the land not warranting multiple-use potential has never been titled to anyone except the Federal Government (never sold nor homesteaded). Inherent in the management of all Federal lands is a defacto fiduciary responsibility to prudently and efficiently manage these assets. We develop a framework that measures present values of both quantitative and qualitative economic benefits and costs of Federal public lands to assist managers and policy makers in determining future management policy. By applying this framework, Federal public land policymakers may be aided in fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald W. Spahr & Mark A. Sunderman, 2009. "A Model for Federal Public Land Surface Rights' Management," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 31(2), pages 119-146.
  • Handle: RePEc:jre:issued:v:31:n:2:2009:p:119-146

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ronald W. Spahr & Mark A. Sunderman, 1999. "Valuation of Property Surrounding a Resort Community," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 17(2), pages 227-244.
    2. Brian L. Bentick & Thomas F. Pogue, 1988. "The Impact on Development Timing of Property and Profit Taxation," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 64(4), pages 317-324.
    3. Ronald W. Spahr & Mark A. Sunderman, 1995. "Additional Evidence on the Homogeneity of the Value of Government Grazing Leases and Changing Attributes for Ranch Values," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 10(5), pages 601-616.
    4. Torell, L. Allen & Bailey, Scott A., 2000. "Is The Profit Motive An Important Determinant Of Grazing Land Use And Rancher Motive?," 2000 Annual Meeting, June 29-July 1, 2000, Vancouver, British Columbia 36451, Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    5. Vitaliano, Donald F & Hill, Constance, 1994. "Agricultural Districts and Farmland Prices," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 213-223, May.
    6. Ronald W. Spahr & Mark A. Sunderman, 1998. "Property Tax Inequities on Ranch and Farm Properties," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 74(3), pages 374-389.
    7. Mark A. Sunderman & Ronald W. Spahr & John W. Birch & Russell M. Oster, 2000. "Impact of Ranch and Market Factors on an Index of Agricultural Holding Period Returns," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 19(2), pages 209-234.
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    JEL classification:

    • L85 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Real Estate Services


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