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Private landowners are the linchpin for the conservation of this country’s biodiversity, including endangered species. They are intimately familiar with the nuances of their own land and deeply committed to preserving and protecting these lands for their future generations. As such, these communities and families are far and away the best suited and most equipped to implement sustainable environmental practices due to first-hand experience and knowledge of the land.

Private Landowners as Stewards of Biodiversity and Endangered Species

America’s private landowners, especially its working landowners, are best positioned to be stewards of this country’s wildlife because they own most of the habitat, live on the land, are extremely committed to being good stewards, are professional resource managers, and have detailed knowledge of local social networks – which is a key, but often overlooked factor to successful stewardship.

These private landowners are the Southwest’s most capable stewards because they engage in actual boots-on-ground conservation that achieves tangible results; most notable owning and leasing land, but also a wide range of actions such as conserving soil, controlling invasive species, planting trees, and enhancing aquatic habitat by constructing water retention structures. The Southwest’s true natural resource stewards should be celebrated and valued as one of this country’s treasures.

Opposition to Private Landowner Stewardship

Despite the value of the Southwest’s true natural resource stewards, there are increasingly powerful “astroturf” groups – fake environmentalists – that are bent on impeding private landowners and even driving them off the land through lawsuits. These groups are essentially lawsuit mills which alienate Southwestern landowners and even drive them off the land by making it impossible to earn a living.

The Southwestern Communities Coalition is dedicated to supporting sound stewardship including the Southwest’s true stewards and opposing “astroturf” groups that are doing far more harm than good.