Exploring the linkages between socio-economic & ecological processes in rangeland landscapes

TitleExploring the linkages between socio-economic & ecological processes in rangeland landscapes
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSkaggs R.K, Bestelmeyer BT
Conference Name62nd Society for Range Management Annual Meeting
Date PublishedFebruary 8-12, 2
PublisherSociety for Range Mangement
Conference LocationAlb., NM
ARIS Log Number237914
Keywordsabstract, ecological, land-use and land-cover change, LULCC, socio-economic, SRM
AbstractEcological and socio-economic processes are driving land-use and land-cover change (LULCC) on many of the world’s rangelands, but we have a poor understanding of the mechanisms by which these processes are linked to each other. This is largely because data for socio-economic and ecological factors are usually expressed at distinct (and multiple) scales, and because of a lack of data on region-scale patterns. It is widely held that human behaviors underlie LULCC tipping points, but we have little systematic understanding of how variations in behavior affect them. In the U.S., for example, spatial patterns of control of public grazing lands established under the Taylor Grazing Act, the adoption of more stringent rangeland oversight policies (e.g., the National Environmental Policy Act), goals, motivations, and objectives of ranch operators as well as the constraints under which ranchers operate may have large and unrecognized impacts on the occurrence of LULCC. We are conducting research that is overcoming scale mis-matches to link socio-economic and ecological processes to explain southwestern U.S. public rangeland LULCC with unprecedented detail. The objective of this research is to develop a framework for linking socio-economic and ecological data at landscape to regional scales in order to explain past rangeland LULCC and forecast future changes. This paper reports on this research in its early stages and presents preliminary results of the research.