Private property rights and community goods: Negotiating landowner cooperation amid changing ownership on the Rocky Mountain Front

Laurie Yung, Jill M. Belsky

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The cooperative practices of private landowners, while critical to cross-boundary conservation, are not well understood. Based on research along the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana, we document the ways that established customs governing cooperation between ranchers meet both individual and community needs. While ranchers argued for landowner control of private property, in practice, rancher property boundaries were permeable and contingent with regard to livelihood needs and certain community goods, such as hunting access to private lands. But changing landownership was causing conflict between neighbors and tension in local communities, because new landowners either inadvertently or intentionally challenged established boundary practices. Efforts at cross-boundary conservation need to recognize the challenges of changing landownership and the ways that existing customs might provide important foundations for cooperation. At the same time, an increasingly diverse set of private landowners must negotiate mutually beneficial boundary practices that meet both existing and emerging community and conservation needs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)689-703
    Number of pages15
    JournalSociety and Natural Resources
    Volume20
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 2007

    Keywords

    • Amenity owners
    • Community
    • Cross-boundary conservation
    • Land tenure
    • Property rights
    • Rural change

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