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Public Land Management

Public lands are those lands formally owned by the modern state and subject to the management authority of local, state, or federal/national institutions. In the United States, this status sets them apart from private property and commons-based regimes of land tenure in which individuals or nongovernmental stakeholder groups effectively determine the access, use, and management of land-based resources. Questions of setting and implementing public land management priorities, therefore, are inextricably linked to modern state politics and capitalist economic development.

There are two key seams in public land management debates. First, in terms of management outcomes, debates center on the extent to which lands should be managed for the purposes of environmental preservation, human recreation, or economic development. The second seam addresses questions of governance, such as ...

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