Human and Economic Dimensions

Sustainability of rangelands and the communities that depend on them require that society and the values they place on various goods and services produced from rangelands are considered. In this section, we explore some of the major concepts related to ecosystem services, the land owners who provide them, and the communities where they live. Ecosystem services from rangelands may include forage and habitat for livestock and wildlife, open spaces, water quantity and quality, pollinators, scenic views, spiritual and cultural sites, biodiversity, and many others that society values. While the federal government owns vast areas of western rangeland, ranchers are the largest private landowners of rangelands. Their well-being determines to a large part how rangelands are managed and we as a society benefit based on their management. Communities, where ranchers live and work, also depend on rangelands and affect how rangelands are managed. Everyone in society has a stake in how our rangelands are managed and the goods and services they produce either as a direct or indirect user of what comes from the land.