Perceptions of landowners concerning conservation, grazing, fire, and Eastern Redcedar management in tallgrass prairie

Lois Wright Morton, Elise Regen, David M. Engle, James R. Miller, Ryan N. Harr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Successful prairie restoration will depend in part on convincing private landowners with agricultural and recreational use goals to implement appropriate rangeland management practices, such as prescribed burning and cattle grazing, to control invasive species and encroachment of woody plants. However, landowners have been slow to adopt appropriate practices in the US Midwest. The purpose of this study was to explore attitudes and behaviors of private landowners toward prescribed burning and moderate stocking as rangeland management tools. A survey was mailed to 193 landowners (response rate 51) in the Grand River Grasslands region of southern Iowa and northern Missouri. While 68% of landowners viewed grazing as a legitimate land management tool, only half of landowners thought of fire as a legitimate tool. Over 75% of respondents believed that the increase in eastern redcedar and other trees in grasslands was a problem, with 44% considering it a major problem. Although 84% of landowners said that they had taken action to control eastern redcedar, only 25% had participated in a prescribed burn. Income from agriculture and recreational goals were negatively and significantly correlated (-0.252, P=0.035). While holding recreational goals constant in the analysis, landowners reporting income from agriculture goals as very or extremely important were negatively and significantly associated with reporting environment and grassland factors as very or extremely important. Adoption of prescribed burning by private landowners might be more widespread if proponents focus on the effectiveness of fire for controlling eastern redcedar, which is viewed as a problem by most landowners in the region. Intervention efforts must include landowners with different goals as part of the promotion and educational process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-654
Number of pages10
JournalRangeland Ecology and Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Juniperus virginiana
  • adaptive ecosystem management
  • biodiversity
  • grazing management
  • landowner attitudes
  • prairie restoration
  • prescribed burning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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