Using stakeholders' values to apply ecosystem management in an Upper Midwest landscape

Taylor V. Stein, Dorothy H. Anderson, Tim Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


How people impact the environment is driven by how they value it; therefore, it is important to understand what these values are and who holds them. This study's objectives were to understand how community members in a rural area of the Upper Midwest value the landscape in which they live and to identify the kinds of management practices they support. The Red River Basin, in northwestern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota, served as the study area. University of Minnesota researchers used a two-phase approach to gather data. First, information attained from focus group meetings was used to help develop a questionnaire. Second, this questionnaire was sent to Red River Basin residents who were identified as stakeholders in the landscape. Data analysis examined the entire sample as a whole and divided the sample into rural and urban groups. Results show stakeholders value the landscape for a variety of noneconomic and economic reasons. They see the landscape as something that not only can help them attain an income, but also as something that affects their overall quality of life. Their preferences for management centered around education and cooperative planning efforts. Implications for management include: identify and manage for benefit opportunities dependent upon healthy ecosystems, acknowledge key ecosystem components in planning and management, increase education and cooperative planning with local residents, and stress mutual goals between land managers and constituents as well as between different interest groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-413
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Agriculture
  • Benefits-based management
  • Cooperative planning
  • Ecosystem management
  • Landscape values


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