Demographic Change in the New West: Exurban Development Around Nature Reserves

EPA Grant Number: R828786
Title: Demographic Change in the New West: Exurban Development Around Nature Reserves
Investigators: Hansen, Andrew , Maxwell, Bruce , Rasker, Ray
Institution: Montana State University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: May 1, 2001 through April 30, 2003 (Extended to April 30, 2004)
Project Amount: $400,000
RFA: Futures Research in Socio-Economics (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice


The objectives of the research are: (1) determine socioeconomic and ecological predictors of exurban development among and within communities of Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE); (2) construct the Exurban Development Simulator (EDS) and parameterize the model with the results from Objective 1; (3) use EDS to simulate three alternative future scenarios of exurban development across the GYE; and (4) demonstrate a method of assessing ecosystem vulnerability to exurban development.


Regression analyses will be used to better understand the relationships between exurban development and a suite of socioeconomic and ecological predictor variables. The results will be used to parameterize a computer model and simulate three alternative future growth scenarios. Potential impacts on biodiversity of future exurban development will be evaluated using a risk assessment method that considers both habitat and population response to land use. The study is important in developing methods that can be used in other rural locations to understand and model exurban development. The concepts tested here should stimulate research on exurban development and biodiversity in other greater ecosystems. Moreover, the results will provide policy makers with knowledge to guide sustainable development here in the GYE, an internationally important ecosystem.

Expected Results:

The results are likely to show that exurban development is strongly related to specific suites of biophysical, demographic, and socioeconomic variables. The simulated alternative scenarios are likely to differ radically in the rate and spatial location of future exurban development. We anticipate that these simulations will be considered highly valuable to citizens and policy makers as aids to visualizing, understanding, and managing future land use. Finally, the methods developed here should be applicable to the many other regions where exurban development is encroaching around nature reserves.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 20 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 2 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

rural residential development; biodiversity; land use modeling; ecosystem risk assessment, Yellowstone., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Economics, decision-making, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Urban and Regional Planning, Economics & Decision Making, demographic, biodiversity option values, economic research, assessing ecosystem vulnerability, exurban development simulator, futures, environmental policy, regression analysis, nature reserves, changing environmental conditions, land use, ecological predictors

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2001 Progress Report
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • Final Report