The University of Arizona

The Cultural Heritage of Family Ranches

Kimberly D. Kirner


On the Ground
• Historic family ranching is a uniquely American
cultural heritage that should be considered a
cultural resource when managing rangeland.
• Public land agencies need to consider the effects of
land management decisions on the cultural continuity
of historic ranching families and communities.
• Ranching communities maintain and transmit cultural
heritage, including folk stories and local
ecological knowledge, through their interactions
with historic working landscapes.
• Experiential learning forges emotional ties to the land
and community necessary for cultural continuity.
• Local ecological knowledge is useful for adaptive
comanagement, monitoring, and conservation.
• Continuity of local ecological knowledge is a
significant factor in the resilience of ranching culture,
rural pastoral economies, and working landscapes.

Keywords: public land management, cultural heritage,
local ecological knowledge, comanagement, cultural
continuity, resilience, cultural resource.

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