Land Use

The resources in parks and on public lands are influenced by ecological processes and land use activities on surrounding landscapes. Examining patterns and changes in land use and land cover is an important way to understand past, current, and future trends that may affect valued resources and visitor experiences in the Greater Yellowstone Area, most of which is managed for the public by the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, and other federal agencies. However, private holdings, primarily at lower elevations, account for roughly 27% of the GYA and some are formally designated as conservation lands. Trends in regional human population, rural residential development, road density, and agricultural uses contribute to the information managers use in planning and decision making. Continued study of land use and landscape dynamics at multiple scales will help build a solid foundation for addressing complex issues like climate change, wildland fire use, and management of migratory wildlife.