Stakeholder Theory and Rangeland Management: The Importance of Ranch Income Dependence

TitleStakeholder Theory and Rangeland Management: The Importance of Ranch Income Dependence
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsElias S, Roche L, Elias E
Conference NameAmerican Geophysical Union Fall Meeting
Date Published12/2016
PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union
Conference LocationSan Francisco, CA
ARIS Log Number336579
Abstract
The California drought beginning in 2012 has been driven by reduced precipitation and record high temperatures. Hydrologic drought in the Southwest United States is projected to become the new climatology of the region. While ranchers are considered naturally adaptive, often adeptly altering management based upon conditions, the projected increased aridity may challenge rangeland management. Certain rancher characteristics are likely to impact how well ranchers adapt. Based on Stakeholder Theory (ST), we hypothesize that the extent to which ranchers are dependent on their ranches as a source of income would serve as a predictor of several key variables related to ranching adaptation and success. Data were obtained from 507 ranchers throughout the State of California via the Rangeland Decision-Making Survey implemented by University of California, Davis in 2010, just prior to the unprecedented California drought. Consistent with the ST urgency facet, results of linear regression analyses indicate the more dependent ranchers are on their ranches for their income, the more aware they are of USDA ranching initiatives (' = .19, p < .001) and state ranching initiatives (' = .10, p < .05). In addition, more dependent ranchers are more likely to use multiple and diverse sources of information about ranching (' = .18, p < .001), are more likely to realize the severity and extent of the most recent drought’s impacts (' = .18, p < .001), and were more likely to have a drought management plan in place during the most recent drought (' = .18, p < .001). These findings are important in relation to both outreach/extension efforts and rangeland research. Outreach/extension efforts should take into account that people less dependent on their ranches are less aware of resources, as well as, less prepared to adapt to drought. Researchers should control for the extent to which ranchers are dependent on their ranches for income in order to ensure more accurate findings.