Wildlife Stewardship and Recreation on Private Lands
6 x 9, 184 pp.
23 b&w photos., 8 tables.
Pub Date: 01/05/2005
Texas A&M University Agriculture Series
Price:        $19.95 s


Published by Texas A&M University Press

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2000 Conservation Education Award from the Wildlife Society

Wildlife Stewardship and Recreation on Private Lands

By Delwin E. Benson, Ross ‘Skip’ Shelton and Don W. Steinbach
Edited by Judy F. Winn

Who owns wildlife? Common law, upheld by judicial decision, says that wildlife is owned in common by all citizens, and governments have the authority to manage wildlife on our behalf. An equally strong legal tradition, however, is the right of property owners to control the resources on and access to their lands. Two-thirds of lands are private and 85 percent of wildlife in the United States is found on these private lands, so how can governments carry out their management mission without encroaching on the property rights of landowners? If that mission is restricted, how can landowners be encouraged to manage and preserve wildlife?

Wildlife Stewardship and Recreation on Private Lands examines franchising systems that allow the public and private sectors to work together to set common goals and delegate responsibilities for the management of wildlife and users on private lands. Through enfranchisement, governments can empower landowners with management authority and offer guidance for them to manage wisely. The book considers ways governments and landowners can work together to be good stewards of the public's wildlife using recreation, tax advantages, and cost shares as incentives.

Although any enfranchisement system will have problems, Delwin E. Benson, Ross "Skip" Shelton, and Don W. Steinbach show that these problems can be overcome with cooperation and intelligent planning. Relationships among governments,

landowners, and recreational users should and can be based on trust and mutual respect. The authors focus on ways that these three groups can come together in a system of shared costs and benefits.

Conservationists, wildlife enthusiasts, hunters, land managers and landowners, wildlife professionals, and others interested in and involved with these issues will find this book an informative and indispensable guide to solving some of the problems of managing wildlife on private lands.

Delwin E. Benson is professor and extension wildlife specialist in the Department of Fishery and Wildlife Biology at Colorado State University. Ross "Skip" Shelton is distinguished professor of wildlife and land policy in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Don W. Steinbach is professor and extension specialist in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Wildlife Stewardship and Recreation on Private Lands is a useful guide for people interested in protecting in protecting biodiversity on private lands. It is full of creative ideas for encouraging landowners to be good stewards of the land. Private land conservation is essential to the future of wildlife in America and the rest of the world. This book will advance the cause of conservation by giving landowners practical tools that can be easily implemented.”--Melinda Taylor, Director, Environmental Defense Fund Landowner Conservation Assistance Program

“Wildlife Stewardship and Recreation on Private Lands offers practical solutions to some very real dilemmas that we face as resource managers. The global approach to evaluating the impact of mankind on our wild land resources, and the associated need and demand for sound stewardship practices are unique and valuable. The book is a timely work that offers some sound concepts about how we can work together in stewardship of these lands and in the process, offers a practical approach to gaining access to the 80 percent of our national wild lands that are privately owned.” --David E. Wesley, Vice President, Marketing & Planned Giving, Rocky Mounta

“As time passes, it becomes more and more obvious how important private lands are to maintenance of wildlife habitat—and in turn wildlife —in the United States. It is on those private lands that much of the future of wildlife and human/wildlife interactions will occur. This book does a most excellent job of delivery into the complexities, frustrations, rewards, and mechanism of management applicable to dealing with publicly owned wildlife on private lands.” --Jack Ward Thomas, Chief Emeritus, U.S. Forest Service, Boone and Crockett Pro

“The ‘Preface’ of this work starts: ‘The role of landowners in providing wildlife conservation, recreational opportunities and ecosystem management on private lands . . . is not well established in either theory or practice.’ The following pages constitute a recommended primer for the establishment in both.” --Richard McCabe, Vice President, Wildlife Management Institute

“A long-overdue volume . . .” --Texas Wildlife Extra

“If everything were free, what would you have? While the answer initially appears to be obvious, the final realization is you would probably have nothing. There would be no incentive for anyone to create or care for things you wanted. This analogy is especially true for wildlife management in the United States, and the authors have expertly illustrated the point . . . .” --Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society

“Since two-thirds of the land in the U.S. is privately owned, and contains 85% of the wildlife, it is critical for the government to work with landowners to manage wildlife without taking away their property rights. This thorny issue is of paramount interest for the 21st century, and the book provides a firm basis for understanding the complexities involved. . . . The book is organized in a coherent manner, allowing both professionals in the field and others to follow the arguments. . . . The extensive references will aid both students and managers who are interested in pursuing the literature further. . . . a thought-provoking book about a topic that is increasingly important. It will be very useful for conservationists, landowners, hunters, wildlife watchers, biologists, land managers, and policymakers who must face the thorny issues of individual versus collective rights. The management of wildlife is truly a ‘commons’ issue and books such as this are important within that context.” --The Quarterly Review of Biology

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