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American Prairie Reserve: Protecting Wildlife Habitat on a Grand Scale


The American Prairie Reserve (APR) is an ambitious private effort “to create the largest nature reserve in the continental United States, a refuge for people and wildlife preserved forever as part of America’s heritage.” To achieve this mission, APR must acquire title to hundreds of thousands of acres of private land while working closely with the federal and state agencies that manage public lands within and adjacent to the projected reserve. This effort has the potential to reestablish a population of as many as 10,000 bison that will help restore a prairie ecology over three and a half million acres once the Reserve reaches its intended size. APR is also controversial among many of the people who live in this sparsely populated region of Montana. How these issues might be resolved makes the American Prairie Reserve a useful case study of the potential role for markets in the future use and management of the vast grasslands administered by the BLM and the Forest Service.

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