Creating certainty in an uncertain world: An analysis of voluntary land conservation in Texas




Vryn, Michelle

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While urban sprawl continues to spread through once unsubdivided private property, conservation easements are gaining increasing popularity among Texas landowners. A conservation easement restricts specific development rights in order to protect natural or heritage resources. The ways in which people balance the benefits and drawbacks of conservation easements when deciding to apply for them can vary with personal histories, memories, and ideal visions of future landscapes--all informed by cultural values.

This thesis uses a qualitative approach with semi-structured interviews as the main research methodology to describe Texas landowners' perceptions of conservation easements in relation to their primary land management goals. Texas terrains were found to not only be contested in terms of property rights and natural resources, but also how they were both seen and imagined. This research will contribute to an anthropology of the environment, specifically regarding the relationship between landowner values and public-private natural resource management.


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American West, Conservation Easements, Land Use Policy, Natural Resource Conservation, Texas