The High Plains Society
Applied Anthropology

“Cowboys” and Conservation: The Influence of Private Landowners on the Success of Conservation Partnerships in the Western United States

Rebecca S. Toupal

Public/private conservation partnerships throughout the United States realize varied success in addressing natural resource problems in local watersheds. Successful guides developed from agency and organization perspectives are available, however, partnerships are often locally led. The guides, consequently, are potentially more useful to public managers than to private landowners. This study compared a thirteen-characteristic success model, created from agency and organization sources, with three locally led partnerships. The results illustrate the importance of (1) private landowner values in conservation partnership success, and (2) qualitative measures of success. Differences between public and private responses were determined statistically. Measurement of the degree of difference for each characteristic, determined through a quartile division of the model, resulted in only eight of the characteristics contributing conclusively to partnership success. These eight characteristics are proposed as the basis of a more broadly applicable guide to successful partnerships involving private landowners.

High Plains Applied Anthropologist No. 1, Vol. 20, Spring, 2000 pp 53 – 66

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