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Public Land, Private Land: An Overview of Ownership and Its Management Challenges l In an era when privatization and deregulation have widespread appeal, proposals to extend public ownership of land must prove that such own- ership is in the public interest. Land acquisition decisions must account for conservation incentives and disincentives confronted by private and public land managers, as well as other factors (e.g., population growth, changing occupational structure, and new institutional conservation mechanisms). CONSERVATION: A TERM OF MANY MEANINGS Although the history of conservation has been characterized by con- flict over the meaning of the term, one element has been common to nearly all sides. Ciriacy-Wantrup (1985) noted that Me theme underly- ing various uses of conservation is a concern for Be future. He argued that conservation is concerned with the "intertemporal distribution of resource use." Thus, land conservation could be defined as the manage- ment of land resources to sustain their productivity in the long term and to avoid losses of valuable components. Dana and Fairfax (1980) warned that conservation can be defined only in the context of particular times and places. Its meaning might even vary wig the purposes of He speaker. A brief examination of the history of the concept can help to circumscribe the range of meanings as well as to identify prominent =d common elements of conservation ~inking. 27

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28 SEWING PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION The Nineteenth Century: Preservationists and Progressives During the late nineteenth century, conservation was a contested term used by those advocating preservation of vast tracts of land for natural and intrinsic values, as well as by those who supported orderly develop- ment of natural resources Ways, 1959; Fox, 1986~. Preservationism is apparent in the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thor- eau, and John Muir, who saw wilderness as a place of escape, re-crea- tion, and closeness to nature. Many preservationists believed that as We country became increasingly urban, experience with nature was neces- sary to rebuild the American character (Gilligan, 1953~. But preserva- tionists also saw wilderness being lost to private exploitation. They argued Mat government should act to reserve portions of Me public domain to ensure that present and future generations would have Me opportunity to observe virgin forests, mountain meadows, and other features of nature. Some, such as John Muir, argued Mat nature had a right to exist that was independent of society's needs (Fox, 1986~. Scientists also played a crucial role in the emergence of Me preserva- tion movement (Fleming, 1972~. The linkage between aesthetic appreci- ation of nature and observation and explanation of natural processes provided a foundation for arguments to preserve some lands for scientif- ic exploration, public visitation, and nature preservation. Another preservationist argument was what historian Alfred Runte (1990) has called monumentalism that preservation of visually spectacu- lar landscapes would reflect the riches of America. The United States of the nineteenth century lacked the cultural achievements of Europe, but it had tremendous natural wonders. Preservation of these landscapes provided a favorable basis for comparison wig Europe as well as an additional base for economic development. Preservationists used a variety of arguments to promote the reserva- tion of vast tracts of land from disposition under Me public land laws. Preservationists were influential in the establishment of forest reserves, national monuments, and national parks through Me early years of the twentieth century. Those who advocated development of natural resources also exercised considerable influence on federal land policy. The progressive conser- vation movement, led by Theodore Roosevelt, Bernhard Fernow, Gif

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OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT 29 ford P~nchot, and much of We federal scientific establishment, attempted to bring about efficient use of natural resources Trough large-scare management systems directed by professional resource specialists (Hays, 1959~. Progressive conservationists argued that professional managers would be free from We corrupting forces of politics; ~us, resource management would be based on scientific principles and the public wel- fare. The broader goal of these conservationists was "foresight and restraint in the exploitation of the physical resources of wealth as neces- sary for the perpetuity of civilization and the welfare of present and future generations" (Wells, 19701. This concept prevailed in federal conservation agencies Trough Me first half of Me twenties century QIays, 1959, 1987; Fleming, 1972; Worster, 19851. The Early Twentieth Century: Expansion of Resource Management and the Movement for Wilderness Preservation Conservation strategies and techniques were developed and extended to a range of natural resources during He 1920s and 1930s (Hays, 1987~. In the Forest Service (USES), conservation meant management of forests to yield crops of timber in perpetuity. Foresters would pro- mote conservation by practicing sustained yield on the national forests and by providing a knowledge base and technical and protection services to make scientific forest management possible on private lands (Greeley, 1972; Steen, 1991~. Water conservation, as practiced by He Bureau of Reclamation, meant construction of large dams to provide irrigation, flood control, and electric power (Reisner, 19861. Water projects facili- tated human use of rivers so that water would not be "wasted" by flow- ing out to sea. Moreover, waterways were regulated to minimize the damage Hat flooding rivers could cause. During He New Deal, the Soil Conservation Service encouraged farmers to adopt practices that would minimize soil erosion. Conservationists also developed wildlife policies Hat emphasized limited hunting seasons, bag limits, predator control, and establishment of refuges (Worster, 1985; Fox, 1986; DunIap, 1991). Perhaps the most distinctive development in conservation policy dur- ing He 1920s and 1930s was the designation of wilderness areas in He national forests. Several USES officials, including AIdo Leopold and

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30 SETTING PRIOR117ES FOR ~ CONSERVATION Robert Marshall, argued that the agency should preserve areas where natural resources would not be exploited (Gilligan, 19531. Leopold argued that wilderness was a resource that could be used to preserve the best parts of American culture. He believed that by bringing Americans into regular contact with the frontier that shaped their culture, qualities such as individualism mediated by cooperativeness, intellectual curiosity combined wig pragmatism, and independence would survive Leopold, 1925~. Thus, for Leopold, an impor~t criterion for the designation of wilderness was proximity to population centers. Leopold also offered an argument for wilderness preservation based on scientific and resource management needs (Leopold, 19331. His ob- servations of wildlife and work in game management coupled with his understanding of ecology lead him to suggest the need for preserving areas to provide opportunities for scientific study of undisturbed nature and thus to improve understanding of the consequences of manipulating natural systems. Like Leopold, Marshall (1930) emphasized the cultural benefits of wilderness. He argued that confrontation wig the wilderness built physical and mental stamina, provided intellectual stimulation, and of- fered a distinctive beauty. Numerous other authors have extolled the values of wilderness, and nearly all have emphas~zed~the enhancement of human character or spirituality associated with confronting nature. Despite such efforts, the progressive conservationists continued to dominate federal policy. Resource-management schools trained cadres of professional foresters and wildlife and range managers to staff federal agencies. But during Me 19SOs, a small core of citizens' groups was increasingly successful in gaining public support for wilderness preserva- tion and protection of nature for nonutilitarian ends. They depicted federal resource-management policies as destructive of nature and de- fined conservation as preservation of land untouched by human develop- ment. Their perspective gained support from a growing segment of the public, and during He 1960s, Hat support was reflected in congressional passage of wilderness, wild and scenic river, and endangered species legislation. Conservation in the Age of Environmentalism The rise of He environmental movement during He 1960s gave impe

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OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT 3 tus to even more widespread public acceptance of preservationist think- ing and once again made conservation a contested term in public policy debates (Dana and Fairfax, 1980; Hays, 1987). Advocates of resource exploitation and of preservation both claimed the title of conservationist. This contest over federal land, water, and wildlife policies continue to be waged today. Competing interpretations of conservation were reflect- ed in battles over clearcutt~ng, wilderness designation, old-growth and ancient forest preservation, and endangered species protection. One major commission provided a forum for conservation debates and shaped subsequent institutional responses: In 195S, Congress created the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (ORRRC). The 1963 ORRRC report recommended the creation of federal grants-in-aid to states to support recreation planning, land acquisition, and site devel- opment. Other proposals included adoption of wilderness legislation, a wild rivers program, and more efforts to support urban recreation (Dana and Fairfax, 1980~. The ORRRC report was well received by both major parties, and Congress acted on many of its proposals. In 1964, Congress passed wilderness legislation and created the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). A primary purpose of EWCF was to support federal, state, and local acquisition of lands for outdoor recreation resources. In addition, EWCF wads used for state recreation planning and state and local construction of recreation developments (Dana and Fairfax, 1980~. The EWCF was largely noncontroversial, however, the Wilderness Act, along with subsequent preservationist legislation, provided a stage for numerous later conservation battles. In subsequent years, scientific, institutional, and political develop- ments reshaped many of the dimensions of the conservation scene. Private land trusts or conservancies became increasingly important in conserving land (13remer, 1984; Elfring, 1989; Morine, 1990~. These organizations are private, nonprofit corporations that protect specific parcels of land through direct transactions, including acquisition by purchase or donation of land or Interests in land. Purposes range from preserving wildlife habitat to establishing community gardens (Bremer, 1984~. Although the objectives of these organizations reflect various understandings of conservation, the common theme among them is to save land from development- particularly urban development- that would be inconsistent wig the goals of He organization. Another trend was the movement for deregulation, privatization, and

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32 SElTING PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION generally less government, sometimes called the "Wise Use Agenda" (Gottlieb, 1989~. "New resource economists" were at the front of this movement, and they advocated alienation of natural resources from the public to Me private sector (Anderson and Leal, 1991~. They argued that private ownership and management would yield more efficient and equitable outcomes Wan would public ownership and management (Sala- zar and Lee, 1990~. Conservation goals could be achieved by defining private property rights to natural resources and permitting their exchange in competitive markets (Anderson, 1983~. Private owners would have incentives to maintain the productivity of resource lands while ensuring that they produced desired goods. The new resource economists, toge~- er wig the "sagebrush rebels" (who advocated Tat public lands be ceded to the states), mounted an attack not just on federal acquisition but on continued federal ownership of conservation lands. During the 1950s and 1960s, resource economists focused their efforts on modeling socially efficient rates of resource exploitation (Ciriacy- Wantrup, 1952; Gordon, 1954). They calculated rotation ages for tim- ber stands, maximum sustainable yields for fisheries, and tile net bene- fits of water developments and related Rem to vesting people with pri- vate-property rights ~n-those commodities. During Me 1970s and 1980s, many resource economists turned Weir attention to valuation of noncom- modity resources, such as recreation and biological diversity (Randall, 1987; Montgomery and Brown, 1991~. Resource economics, which had been the social science arm of progressive conservation, increasingly addressed issues raised by conservation biology. Conservation biology contributed to changing understandings of con- servation during the 1970s and 19SOs. Conservation biology is a multi- disciplinary field (Soule, 1985; Noss, 1991) that draws on research in ecology, population biology, and biological geography to preserve bio- logical diversity. Conservation biologists have developed management strategies to conserve diversity at Me levels of gene pools, species, and ecosystems. Many conservationists and environmentalists have used conservation biology as the scientific basis to advocate expansion of the wilderness system and to support biological diversity. Advocates include radical and mainstream elements of the conservation movement. They have argued Mat conservation should not be pursued solely for human ends; species and ecosystems should be preserved in Weir own right. More

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OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT 33 over, an important criterion in Me creation of wilderness preserves should be to maintain biological diversity. Progress in the natural sciences often precipitates changes in popular conceptions of conservation, but changes in public policy do not neces- sarily follow immediately. For example, although the Endangered Spe- cies Act offers a means to achieve biological diversity at the species level, there is little statutory basis for a conservation strategy aimed at protecting biological diversity at either the level of genetic material or ecosystems. Natural Sciences and Conservation Efforts Developments in the physical and biological sciences influenced con- servation ~inking. This section examines whether the criteria used to acquire lands for conservation reflect current scientific knowledge about the requirements for the conservation of natural resources. The key concept of sustainability attracts considerable attention and expanded application today. Each of the four agencies reviewed by the committee has mandates involving sustained production or maintenance of some element of the resource base. Language such as "in perpetu- ity," "to leave unimpaired," "Ion", wise use," and "multiple-use sus- tained yield" imply the maintenance of the land and resource base far into the future. Early discussions of conservation pitted preservationists against pro- gressive conservationists. The progressive conservationists developed the science of resource management and resource economics but often ignored the ecological factors affecting resource use and management, that is, a more comprehensive perspective on the environment, its eco- systems, and interactions. Lands for conservation in America were ac- quired in part to protect specific resources without regard to the broader ecological issues that affect sustainability. The result was a fragmented pattern of reserves for protecting specific resources. The emergence of the field of wildlife biology and information about species distribution, threats, and extinction contributed to development of endangered species legislation. Focusing on the protection of single species without emphasis on ecosystems has led to land acquisition crite- ria that do not adequately address protection of species within an ecosys

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34 SETTING PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION tem or landscape context. For example, water resources have not been considered in land acquisition decisions for conservation until recently. And natural-resource management has suffered from some erroneous concepts fostered by a fragmented view of resources. Numerous other examples demonstrate instances In which lack of knowledge of the re- source base contributed to conservation policies that were not compre- hensive in approach. Equally disturbing, however, is that essential works of science that might have guided land acquisitions, such as John Wesley Powell's work on arid lands (Powell, 1879), were ignored wig respect to settlement, and policies were developed that circumvented resource-limiting factors. As the turn of the century approaches, it is useful to take stock of the sciences and their role in shaping conservation thinking. Moreover, impor~t developments and perspectives in several related scientific fields in the past several years will contribute significantly to long-ter~ conservation thinking and fi~IfilIment of agency mandates in the next decade. Elements of Conservation and Its Institutionalization Conservationists have tried to achieve an array of objectives using numerous managerial strategies and a small set of institutional arrange- ments. Managerial strategies have included sustained production of commodity resources using an agricultural model, active management of reserves either to maintain a particular type of landscape or to protect biological diversity, and holding wilderness areas that are not directly managed. Progressive conservation continues to influence federal land management agencies, and the agricultural mode! of conservation for commodity production is embodied in much of what those agencies do. However, conservation biology and related disciplines are gaining sup- port; hence, active reserve management is receiving more emphasis. Federal ownership and management has been the predominant institu- tional arrangement for land conservation, but this situation is changing as state and local governments and private entities undertake more con- servation activities. In a broad sense, acquisition includes obtaining partial interests ("less

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OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT 35 than-fee" interests) in land. Federal acquisition is not the only available conservation tool. Acquisition by state and private conservation organi- zations may become increasingly important, and regulatory and tax authorities can be used to achieve conservation ends. Efforts to analyze conservation policy will be most useful if they address the diverse set of purposes that conservation has served and might serve as well as the broad array of instruments for achieving conservation goals. Conservation efforts largely have reflected interests in different uses of land. The issue Hat has divided conservationists is He purpose to be served. Thus, one way to analyze conservation policy options is to identify and characterize He resources or goods associated wig He various meanings of conservation. Social scientists have developed con- ceptual models that link characteristics of resources to appropriate insti- tutional arrangements for Heir management (Ostrom, 1990; Salazar and Lenard, 19921. Those kinds of models can be used to consider how particular conservation goals can be achieved. PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LA N DOWN ER f i H I P Public Landownership in the United States The use of criteria to establish priorities for land acquisition is limited by the lack of a comprehensive source of information on public and private landownership that provides an overview of lands that are pro- tected or suited for conservation purposes. All of the land the United States has acquired on the Norm American continent previously was owned by other nations and Indian tribes. Federal acquisition came about through a combination of purchase and conquest (Cogging and Wilkinson, 1987) (gable 2-1 and Figure 2-~. Until passage of the Indi- an Appropriations Act in 1871 (IJ.S. Stat. 544, 566), treaties were negotiated to transfer Indian title to the public domain and reserve cer- tain lands Belt in trust by the federal government) for He tribes. Much of the reserved lands became public domain and was transferred to non- Indian ownership after passage of He Dawes Severalty Act of ISS7 (also known as He General Allotment Act). That act assigned 160-acre allot- ments to individual Indians; the remaining reserved lands-more Dan 60

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36 SE7-llNG PRIORIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION TABLE 2-1 Acquisition of U.S. Temto~y from Foreign Nations Total area (land and water) Date MillionPercent and acquired acresU.S. total Ordinal public domain Cessions by original states 1781-1802 23710.2 Louisiana Purchase 1803 56024.2 Florida Purchase 1819 462.0 Oregon Compromise 1846 1838.0 Mexican Treater 1848 33914.6 Purchase from Texas 1850 793.4 GaWen Purchase 1853 19.8 Alaska 1867 37516.1 .2.,:.', .......... - - : ..... ................. Never public domain Original states Texas Hawaii , ~ . - - .. - ........ Total 305 170 4.1 13.2 7.3 .2 .................... ...... ... . .. 2,316.1 100 million acres were opened to homesteaders. Through the mid-1930s, federal policy was to sell or give away Me public lands to private own- ers and to states so Mat the nation would be "tamed, farmed, and devel- oped"(Coggins and Wilkinson, 1987)(F;igure2-2~. By1976,mored~an ~ billion acres of Me public domain had been disposed of under public land laws. Public land laws usually distinguish between the public domain lands obtained by the United States from other sovereigns and acquired lands lands obtained from private or state ownership by gift, purchase, exchange, or condemnation (Cogging, 1991~. Today's federal lands con- sist of Me remains of the original public domain in states west of Me original 13 colonies, some of Weir claims, Vermont, and lands that have

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OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT 37 . b l - . : ,::::: ~ ,- = U:) =2= .: __,/ ~ o, ~ ~ if- X2 ,o ~ ~ .e o E.= C),~ c o c 3 ~ ~ ~ 0 ~ SEX 0 0 - ,. ......... ,.~......... 1 a, r I. ~ ~ ;m ~ ~ 1 J. ~ ~ =.0! ~ <::~:::~::::::~N , . . ,, .. .. . . . . . . . . ~ N. ~ . . ~ . . . .~ . . . . . ., N~` i;_ ~ V\ ~ \\ o o ._ - ._ U' ._ g to AD CO _ US on Ct to al - - - 0 0 0 0 ~ - 0 ~ ~ O Q {2. , _ co In 0 ~ .- 1,, ~ 3 3 ~ ~ 0 ~ age; _ en CO

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40 SE]-llNG PRIORIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION been acquired by Me federal government. The remains are public do- ma~n lands that were not claimed by settlers or miners under various homestead and over disposal laws or were not granted to states, rail- roads, and over entities to promote development and expansion of set- tIement. t Designation of Federal Lands Starting with Yellowstone Park in 1872, some of We public domain was reserved in federal ownership as national parks, monuments, and forests. Formally, a reservation is a federal tract of land Mat Congress or Me president has dedicated for particular uses (Cogging, 19914. The bulk of Me reservations outside of those in Alaska were made from ache IS70s Trough the 1930s. Federal reservations from Me public domain in Alaska largely were created by Me Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA). The federal rangelands now managed by the Bureau of L`and Management (ELM) effectively were closed to settlement in 1934, although the policy of retaining most of them in federal ownership was not made explicit until 1976 win passage of Me Federal Land Policy Management Act (F~PMA). Some shifts in status of and jurisdiction over Me federal lands still occur. The parks and refuges created by AN~CA shiftM jurisdiction mainly from BEM to the National Park Service (NPS) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Other federal lands have been shifted from Me Forest Service (USFS) to NPS and from BEM to the over Tree federal agencies. Lands reserved from the public domain decades ago and federal lands more recently added usually are not solid blocks or units. Lands re- served since IS72 for national forests, parks, and refuges generally were unsuited for private ownership, in large part because much of Me land was semiarid. Homestead laws gave little recognition to the basic condi- tion of the lands, but homesteaders generally chose watered land. Val- leys and riparian corridors that provided access to water, natural vegeta- tion, and opportunities for irrigated pastures were homesteaded in fin- gers reaching up streams, wig higher, unwatered public land on both sides; many of Me inholdings in the West today are He legacy of such homesteads. Much of the public lands and some of He lands now managed by

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OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT 41 BLM were overgrazed, and large portions of Me public domain lands still are poorly suited for private ownership of large populations. Most of He national forests and BEM lands continue to be available for min- eral prospecting and, under the provisions of the Mining Act of IS72, ultimately are available for transfer to private ownership if mineral deposits are discoverer]. Particularly in the case of NPS' the inholdings often are considered priority acquisition sites. Nearly all of the national parks and grasslands and most of the nation- al wildlife refuges and forests east of the Rockies are acquired lands. The national parks and wildlife refuges were acquired mainly for their particular natural-resource characteristics. The national forests and grasslands, however, often were acquired for over reasons; for exam- ple, abandoned farmlands were acquired during the Great Depression. The only large areas of federal lands reserved from Me public domain east of the Great Plains are the Superior National Forest in Minnesota and the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas and Oklahoma. The 191~ Weeks Act, under which most of the eastern national forests were established, provided for land acquisition to protect the headwaters of navigable streams and to ensure continuous supplies of timber. The lands were in poor condition cutover and burned- from the wave of logging that took place from 1850-1920; those conditions and burden- some property taxes made economic management as private timberlands infeasible. The federal government acquired rundown farmlands under Me feder- al emergency land utilization CUD program from 1935 to 1937 and under Me Bankhead-Iones Farm Tenant Act from 1938 to 1946. The responsibility for restoring the lands was given to the Soil Conservation Service. Of Me roughly 11.3 million acres of LU lands, about 2.2 million acres ultimately were transferred to BUM, I.5 million acres were incorporated into eastern national forests, and 3.8 million acres in the Great Plains formed the national grasslands, which are administered by ache USES (Woolen, 1965~. The remaining lands were conveyed to various other parties. Federal Landownership Public land comprises the holdings of the federal government, as well as Lose of state and local governments (Indian lands held in trust are

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42 SEl-llNG PRIORI"ES FOR LAND CONSERVATION discussed in Chapter 31. All Free land accounts have grown as a result of EWCF outlays. State and local land holdings compose 8% of We total U.S. land base exclusive of Alaska and are increasing (Wolf, 1981~. Like federal lands, state and local holdings are concentratM in the West and are a small proportion of total land in Me nation, ranging from 2% in Me Soup to Il% in the West. In a few states, such as New York, state and local holdings exceed federal holdings. Most govern- ment reports estimate that federal lands constitute roughly one-third of the nation's land base. If only Me West is considered, as much as 48 % of Me land is federally owned; 63% of the West is federal land when Alaska is considered. Federal landownership in the United States has fluctuated greatly with time. Originally, this was because of federal acquisitions and annex- ations; more recently it follows from federal commitment to protect land for aesthetic, recreational and environmental reasons. Whereas in the nineteenth century public lands were sold to mobilize private develop- ment, in the present century there has been an impetus to buy back federal lands. From the IS90s through the 1930s, federal land policy In America gradually shifted from disposition toward reservation of the remaining public domain. By the middle of the century, federal owner- ship stabilized briefly at 760 million acres, or 33 ~ of the total U.S. land base of 2.275 billion acres. This includes 365 million acres in Alaska, nearly all of which was federal land before statehood in 1959.~ Despite heightened environmental awareness in Me 1970s, concerns about further federal land acquisition persisted. In 1979, the General Accounting Office stated Mat current federal land policies tended to overlook least expensive laud protection strategies, adversely affected private landowners, and underestimated facility maintenance costs of Me expanding land base (GAO, 1979~. Early in the 1980s, the Reagan At statehood, Alaska was gram ted slightly more than 104 million acres from federal lands. Alaska made its selections gradually as federal lands were surveyed. Furthermore, the settlement of native claims in Alaska under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 led to the transfer of about 44 million acres of federal land to native villages and regional corporations. Thus, the total acreage of federal land in Alaska decreased considerably during the past 3 decades. In the rest of the country, however, the federal land base grew slowly. l \

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OWNERSHIP AND MA Ye 43 administration made known its intentions to sell as much 5% (35,000,000 acres) of Me federal lands for budget relief (Short, 1989) and to place a moratorium on EWCF appropriations. The latter pledge may account for We downward trend in EWCF appropriations Figure 2- 3~. Federal acreage purchased was abnormally low in the early years of the Reagan administration Cable 2-21. $800 $700 $600 ~o $500 o ._ $300 $200 $100 $goo $0 - - 1 1 ~. 78 79 80 81 82 T r T T I I I I I I 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 I:~Au~orized amount-Total $ appropriated FIGURE 2-3 I'd and Water Conservation Fund, fiscal years 1978-92 The final years of We Reagan administration were marked by an executive order creating the President's Commission on Americans Outdoors (PCAO). The PCAO's mandate in some ways resembled Cat of ORRRC, but it made no assumption Cat additional public lands were necessary to achieve ache public heady and vitality associated wig out

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44 SE1317NG PRIOR177ES FOR LAND CONSERVATION TABLE 2-2 Federal Acreage Purchased Using I and and Water Con- servation Fund Money National Fish & Forest Park Wildlife Year Service Service Service BLM* Total 1965n/a729n/an/a729 196629,4373,974n/an/a33,411 196770,05852,6713n/a122,732 196885,86158,5222,561n/a146,944 196991,32798,355832n/a190,514 197079,72070,540~15,0310165,291 197180,94444,6514,530536130,661 197275,46968,49911,506594156,068 197391,13849,6433,0172,117145,915 197435,93386,2772,8594,599129,668 197544,05175,4122,6251,744123,832 197657,235149,24625,0641,903233,448 197739,472218,24527,4051,840286,962 197832,429260,55526,5995,249324,832 197994,861122,16737,8423,400258,270 198066,04953,70221,5403,760145,051 1981102,46318,18521,2022,119143,969 19828,33218,06114,10118540,679 198310,44713,28518,92112,04954,702 198419,16214,369164,4482,004199,983 198534,44827,05179,620151,613292,732 198642,86073,68928,66372,842218,054 198785,83217,64555,26848,161206,906 198857,76843,57788,54357,465247,353 1989106,35429,02983,21672,475291,074 Total1,441,6501,668,079735,396444,6554,289,780 Source: The Conservation Fund. Includes land acquired by exchange.

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OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT 45 door recreation.2 As win ORRRC, Me PCAO noted Rat most of Me nation's population was in the East, whereas most of Me federal lands were in the West, a regional equity issue requiring attention. Perhaps more important, the PCAO substantiated ORRRC's earlier estimates of recreational demand. Indeed, some levels of outdoor use and participa- tion projected by ORRRC for the year 2000 were surpassed as early as the 1970s (PCAO, 1986~. Figure 2 - provides an overview of user de- mand for NPS facilities, a partial indicator of this demand. Private Landownership in the United States Alexis de Tocqueville, traveling in He United States early in Me nine- teen~ century, made note of Me unalloyed devotion to private ownership in Be new republic: In rzo country in the world is the love of property more active aru] more atrocious than in the United States; nowhere does the majority display less incli- nationfor those principles which threaten: to alter, in whatever manner, the laws of property (cited in Sakolski, 1957~. Of tile 2.27 billion acres composing Me United States today, 1.35 billion are owned privately. Although a majority of He American land base is privately owned, He 1980 census data (the most recent govern- ment information available3, show Hat the nation's private real estate was held by only 34 million owners, or approximately 15% of the popu- lation Lewis, 1980~. The distribution of holdings among the owners is also skewed: S% of landowners (including corporations) have title to 40% of private lands, and He top 5% own three-four~s of the total. In contrast, ache bottom 78% of Hose who own land own 3%. Private landownership is most concentrated in the West and least concentrated in He norm central states (Gustafson, 1983~. 2PCAO did, however, argue for a dedicated trust fund of approximately $1 billion per year for recreational ends (Madson, 1988), a fund many have inter- preted as an extension of the LWCF. LWCF is not strictly a trust fund, be- cause authorizations Mat are not appropriated return to Me federal government for discretionary use.

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46 SElTING PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION 400- 300- 200- 100- O- 346.19 ~ . /~ / / 1/ 65./ 52.2~ 0.14 0.2 I iII II IIIII ~iI1 ~ 9 ~TO9~9 ~9 ~9 ~9~9 ~9~9~9O~9O ~909 .9 29. - 6.33 / 0.34 1.06 ~_~ ./ FIGURE 24 Visits to national parks, in millions, 1905-89. Source: NPS, 1990. Private landownership has changed over time. As Me land base of me nation increased, We federal government's share at times grew to 80% of the total. Witch the help of numerous homestead acts, cash sales, and grants to railroads, private landownership expanded to well over half of the nation at some times (CIawson, 1973~. Despite We central place of private ownership in American life and culture, however, little systemat- ic federal information has been kept on who owns what land. Wig We exception of We Agricultural Census of We Department of Agriculture, which covers only agricultural lands, We federal government publishes only piecemeal information on private ownership (Geisler, 1983; Gustaf- son, 1983~.3 3Government time-series data on private forest landownership are presented in acres rather than numbers of owners (e.ge ~ Waddell et ale ~ 1987)' preventing trend analyses of ownership e

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OWNERSHIP AND MANAGE- 47 Available data confirm that a small fraction of private landowners control most of the land in private hands, and this concentration does not seem to be abating. The proportion of privately owned lands and the distribution of ownership among a few are of considerable interest in light of the consistently high percentages of Americans supporting ex- panded federal ownership in public opinion surveys (see Appendix C). Public ownership might be viewed as a way to access land in the ab- sence of widespread opportunity or material means to own it. On the other hand, periodic public clamor against federal ownership as a barrier to private ownership might be more directed protest over private land concentrations and the ownership access obstacles it presents. DISINCENTIVES FOR CONSERVATION Many incentives and disincentives affect the ownership, management, and use of federal and other public lands. Some of those are the lack of market pricing for some resources, accrual of costs or benefits to some who are not direct parties to transactions, uneven effects of government interventions, and structural problems in particular markets (e.g., long periods required to renew resources). For example, in the market econ- omy, near-term results are given priority over long-ter~ results, which can encourage farming practices Hat lead to soil erosion and rapid cut- ting of timber. In addition, high inheritance taxes can lead to fragmen- tation of large land holdings- which also favors short-term over long- term results. And farmers have long been paid for draining wetlands and planting croplands from roadside to roadside, although payment for the former practice was halted with the passage of the 1985 farm bill. Private owners have little incentive to manage lands for conservation of biological diversity or other values for which markets do not exist, at least in the short term. Yet without the cooperation of private landhold- ers, the size of individual holdings might limit the conservation actions of landowners, because large areas often are necessary to maintain bio- logica] diversity and avoid fragmentation of ecosystems.

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48 SElTING PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION THE ROLE OF LANDOWNERSHIP IN CONSERVATION Public landownership has been an important aspect of America's social and economic history. How much of the nation should remain in federal ownership is a contentious issue fueled by political philosophies, changing perceptions of the public interest, and different impressions about private ownership trends and He "American Dread." But in the long run, the wisdom of expanded federal ownership in America's future is contingent on historical circumstances well beyond a scoreboard sum- mary of public- versus private-sector ownership trends. Factors worm pondering include population growth and distribution, the nation's changing occupational structure, new institutional developments that might lessen the traditional polarity between public and private landown- er, and growing sophistication about conservation at He ecosystem level. The potential effect of population change on public ownership is striking. By 2010, He nation's population is expected to increase by 44 million people ff,CAO, 1986) people who are expected to have an increasing appetite for outdoor recreation in many forms. As population grows, the national land base shrinks relatively Her capita), and less land is available for each new generation. Another relevant demograph- ic characteristic is age structure. Overall, the American population is aging, and recreational and aesthetic uses of the public land are changing as a consequence. In ways Hat often go unrecognized, die American land base is also shrinking in an absolute sense. This occurs as public and private lands undergo changes that eliminate certain uses, e.g., open space used for recreational or residential sites. Such changes include designation of lands as Superfund and hazardous waste sites or lands subjected to soil erosion and aquifer depletion, overgrazing, atmospheric pollution, and conversion to highways. Land dedicated for highways already is rough- ly equivalent to lands held by NPS (EUockenbrink, 1991~. And 13 million acres of U.S. rangeland show signs of severe desertification (C)regne, 1991~. Relative and absolute shrinkage in the nation's land base warrant serious consideration in planning and land allocation to public- and private-sector uses. America has undergone and faces fiercer occupational restructuring, wig an associated redefinition of land-use needs and ethics. As service

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OVfENERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT 49 sector employment grows at the expense of manufacturing and more basic extractive livelihoods, land assumes new importance as a consump- tive, recreational, and aesthetic good, reducing further a direct survival relationship between Me population and the land. As use requirements change, so will ownerhsip imperatives and the forms of public and private ownership. New forms of public-private ownership dull the distinctions between public and private. Those new forms include land trusts and intergen- erational lease-back mechanisms, easements and less-than-fee manage- ment options, covenants between private owners, development rights that are purchased or transferred, compensatory zoning, reserved and dedi- cated rights, and other evolving mechanisms that partition equity in land to benefit public and private interests. Such quasi-public institutions are proliferating and offer alternatives to the proponents of traditional public or private ownership and to planners who must try to balance the inter- ests of each. The comTnittee's study concluded that public and private values cannot be conveniently separated. The vigorous pursuit of public values no longer takes place only on public lands or out-of-the-way preserves and set-asides. Just as federal lands host a broad array of private uses and ownership rights, private lands are shouldering an increasing public responsibility in the areas of conservation, environmental protection, and public-interest health and recreation.

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