Rangelands, April 2018
Rangelands is proud to support the Society’s priority of developing skilled and talented young rangeland professionals by publishing outstanding research and synthesis articles developed by student authors. The Rangeland Cup, a yearly team problem-solving competition, challenges student teams to work collaboratively to critically evaluate current topics in rangeland ecology and management as a poster at the SRM Annual Meeting. The winners of the 2017 Rangeland Cup have turned their poster into a compelling article on the issues surrounding potential transfers of US federal lands to state control. The article described below will appear in the April issue of Rangelands, but it is available online now at:
We would like to draw special attention to this article because it represents the hard work and creativity of undergraduate and graduate students and their academic mentors.
Jason Karl, Editor in Chief
Eva Levi, Managing Editor
Why are Proposed Public Land Transfers a Source of Extreme Conflict and Resistance?
Tyler Wayland, Lisa West, Jose Mata, and Benjamin L. Turner
The United States Federal Government owns and manages one-third of the land in the United States, primarily in western US states. There is fierce debate on whether the federal government should transfer management of public lands to state control. We reviewed a variety of agency periodicals/websites, contemporary articles, and/or rangeland textbooks and articles to better understand the key ecologic and socioeconomic processes on public rangelands. Using a systems thinking approach, we identified a number of system archetype structures, including Fixes-that-Backfire, Success-to-the-Successful, and Escalation, in the event that public land is transferred from federal to state control. Transferring management of public lands to state control would affect rangelands from an ecological perspective (e.g., over- or under-grazing) and would have potential socioeconomic impacts on urban and rural communities in the western states through increased friction at the state legislative level rather than the federal level.