Paying for Stewardship
A Western Landowners' Guide to Conservation Finance
Restoring habitat, water courses, and soils have costs, and unfortunately, mainstream agricultural policy passes them not to taxpayers or consumers, but to farmers and ranchers. This guide presents some ways landowners can earn compensation for their stewardship efforts directly or indirectly—schemes sometimes referred to as payments for ecosystem services, ecosystem services markets, or conservation finance. It goes beyond description to provide illustrative case studies of these strategies at work.
Aspen trees and forests are especially important in the Rocky Mountains. Aspens add beauty to landscapes, foster high diversity and productivity of understory plants, provide for the habitat needs of many species of animals, and moderate fire behavior. There is a perception that aspen trees and stands are not regenerating well in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico; cohorts of trees younger than a few decades are scarce, at least in some areas. The next generation of aspen in the southern Rockies will be influenced by land use decisions, including harvesting, fire policy and management, and browsing by livestock and wildlife.
This guide presents some ways landowners can earn compensation for their stewardship efforts directly or indirectly—schemes sometimes referred to as payments for ecosystem services, ecosystem services markets, or conservation finance. It goes beyond description to provide illustrative case studies of these strategies at work.
This report provides an overview of the latest efforts towards migration corridor management in each of the three states, and reports findings from the workshops. The report summarizes the discussion by workshop participants about what is working in their state, as well as opportunities to improve migration corridor management and conservation.
What factors should you consider when selecting an ownership structure for your ranch? What questions should you be sure to answer before deciding? What are differences between an LLC, a C Corporation, and an S Corporation? What are the benefits to partnership, cooperative or shared ownership structures, and what are the drawbacks? Why or when would someone choose a less common ownership structure?
Landowner perspectives gained through one-on-one interviews and focus groups throughout the Upper Rio Grande region provide the foundation for the recommendations contained within this toolkit. These perspectives are shared side-by-side with concise strategies for policymakers, funders, and organizations looking to improve wildlife habitat in this dynamic trans-boundary region of Colorado and New Mexico.
What defines “family governance” and what key factors drive the type of governance structure a family puts into place? How does one effectively integrate family members into its governing structure? What are some governance issues one encounters when creating and administering trusts?
Conservation is a form of economics What policy conditions would empower landowners to allocate time, talent and resources to biodiversity and connectivity? This question is the center of this paper,…
When should a succession plan be put in place? Who should be involved? What are the basic components of a farm or ranch business succession plan? Who can help put it in place?
In this guide, WLA offers the collective knowledge and hands-on experience of over 30 land, livestock and resource managers constructively engaged in one of the greatest conservation challenges of our time: how to share and manage a wild, working landscape that sustains both people and wildlife.
Landowners speak from experience on forestry The American West is home to some of our nation’s most iconic forests. WLA staff interviewed landowners throughout the West to gain their perspective…
Upland Bare Ground and Riparian Vegetative Cover Under Strategic Grazing Management, Continuous Stocking, and Multiyear Rest in New Mexico Mid-grass Prairie
By Rick Danvir, Gregg Simonds, Eric Sant, Eric Thacker, Randy Larsen, Tony Svejcar, Douglas Ramsey, Fred Provenza, and Chad Boyd Journal article published in February 2018 issue of Rangelands, the…
Few things are as crucial to ranch operations as water. Getting a handle on your water rights may seem akin to drinking from a fire hose, but it is wildly important. Western water is complex, contentious, and rooted in rich history. This must-read article will help you keep your head above water.
This informative guide on the Endangered Species Act provides essential information on the law itself, changes currently being proposed and perspectives from experienced landowners.
Six common sense principles endorsed by more than 130 organizations light the path to a better West. We urge Congress and the Administration to advance these principles to achieve rural economic health and a productive agricultural sector, provide for our human needs, and protect the landscapes in which we live and work.
The land and people of rural America are the foundation of our national economy and way of life, providing the food, water, energy and wildlife upon which we all depend. Yet rural America is struggling and working lands are disappearing. With the right public policies and strategic investments we can change this. Read WLA’s 2017 policy platform to learn more.
In Summer 2016, WLA co-hosted the Beyond Boundaries Landowner Symposium in Cody, Wyoming, which included discussions on emerging science and new policies related to working lands and private ownership in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and beyond. This is the report of that gathering.
In this vital guide’s second edition, revised and updated in 2015, from the Wyoming Wildlife Foundation, building effective yet wildlife-friendly fencing is beautifully illustrated and clearly explained.
This Brief consists of five sections and an appendix, as follows: Background and Overview covers the basics of the federal Clean Water Act and an overview of the proposal. Considerations…
Highlighting strategies to restore this beautiful species The decline of aspen in western forests over the past several decades has been a significant concern to scientists, foresters and land managers,…
Caring for New Mexico’s Streams Private stewardship of Western land and water plays a vital role in the health of the West. This must-read guide highlights the importance of New…
Perspectives on Collaborative Conservation: Lessons Learned from the Greater Sage-Grouse Collaboration
The collaborative partnerships that developed from 2010 to 2015 have been recognized as a key reason why the greater sage-grouse was kept off the federal endangered species list. But what made these efforts unique? What can we learn from the greater sage-grouse saga to apply to other conservation challenges?
Economic implications of differential taxation for agriculture in the Intermountain West
Property tax incentives for diversified management have the potential to provide significant economic and environmental benefits to states and local communities.
Growing Abundant Ranges
With recommendations for planning, practicing and monitoring grazing management, this guide is designed to help practitioners significantly improve soil health, water retention and pasture productivity.
Private Land: Conservation’s New Frontier in America
An insightful paper on the private land conservation movement by WLA’s founding board chair Paul Vahldiek and High Lonesome Institute Director Shane Mahoney.
Controlled Burning on Private Land in New Mexico
This paper reviews some of the key organizational and legal issues that create barriers to controlled burning in New Mexico and has identified a number of opportunities and practices to increase controlled burning.
California's Working Landscapes: Annual Rangelands
Through active stewardship and conservation, rangeland owners can manage for agricultural production and a diversity of other ecosystem services across working landscapes.
Developing Payment for Ecosystem Services Programs in California’s Central Valley
Payment for Ecosystem Services programs and markets are a promising alternative to traditional conservation initiatives and can help California’s ranchers stay on their land.
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