Restrictions based on local and state laws (zoning codes)

What does it mean to “own” something?

Human Populations Using Ecosystems:

Natural Resources include water, soil, timber, minerals, and wild animals (fish and game).

These are typically unevenly distributed across a landscape making some areas more valuable than others.

Rights to access of natural resources involve mixtures of country, county, municipality, or private ownership.

Each of these may have restrictions placed on their control with respect to various resources that they contain.

The Concept of Ownership

Ownership is historically a fairly recent idea and is tied to complex issues with the definition of modern national states under a variety of forms of governance.

Outright ownership is usually tied to the core of a states economic system and formal deeds that are free market, legally binding instruments that tie resource use to a defined area referred to as a property.

There are typically a host of regulations and restrictions imposed on what can be done with these properties. These, in particular, restrict resources that are mobile such as water and wild animals.

Federal Law: Water and Soils

ECS 403

Fall 2014

U.S. Code Title 16 Conservation

U.S. Forest Service Dept. Agriculture

Water use and right-of-way

Wilderness Areas

Sustainable Yield

U.S. Code Title 43 Public Lands

Desert Land Act of 1877

Carey Act of 1894 (desert land states)

Reclamation Act of 1902

Taylor Grazing Act of 1934

Homestead Act of 1862

First Homesteader

Beatrice, Nebraska 1863

Provides 160 acres of land to any adult citizen or intended citizen who has never borne arms against the U.S.

Upon improvements including a dwelling this was free and clear in 5 years

Title could be gained earlier under improvements for a cost of $1.25 per acre and 6 months residence.

Business Day

NYT Friday 25 Sept. 2015

Location, location, location….


Water table

Owning Land: What do you get for your money?

Right of domicile (dwelling place) and use

Restrictions based on local and state laws (zoning codes)

Rights to water and public infrastructure

Right to sell or lease your property within regulations set down by government.

Assets of the Land

Living space: Just want to hang out.

Crops and live stock: subsistence or profit

Timber or pulp wood.

Mining and oil/gas production

Right of ways

Ecosystem Character and Landuse


– Temperatures

– Precipitation



– Physical

– Biotic (flora and fauna)

Converting the Land:

Choices in crops and the problem of crop yield.

Trying to remind ourselves of home

Extreme events and habitability: Winter 1886.

Invasive species issues: Englishmen, rabbits and foxes

A history of bubbles?

Choose your cash crop.

Technology Tames the West

Public Land in the United States

Federal Lands

100th Meridian and the West

Clive Bundy and grazing fees

What about the “native American” wild horse?

Who Owns the United States?

Those cows

Irrigation and Water Rights

Drought Update: October 2014

National Geographic

This winter was even drier. Just 6% of normal snow in the Sierras.

Limits to Land Use?