Resolving Range Conflict in Nevada? The Potential for Compensation via Monetary Payouts and Grazing Alternatives
In response to environmental pressure, public land agencies in Nevada have reduced animal unit months (AUMs) of grazing on public lands. This has resulted in economic losses to ranchers, increased conflict between ranchers and the public land agencies, and general unrest in the ranch community. One approach to resolving the problems might be to compensate ranchers for lost grazing privileges. In this study, we employ the results of the Nevada Ranch Survey to examine ranchers’ willingness to accept a one-time payment to retire grazing rights, as well as three other means of “compensating” ranchers that enable them to earn a living from the public lands despite reduced access to public forage. The results suggest that ranchers are not keen on being compensated in any form, expressing a desire to continue ranching. However, those most amenable to compensation and a reworking of the social contract are those who have the best relationship with the public land manager and view the public agencies in a positive light.
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