by Steven Davis
Temple University Press, 2018
eISBN: 978-1-4399-1538-7 | Cloth: 978-1-4399-1536-3 | Paper: 978-1-4399-1537-0
Library of Congress Classification HD216.D38 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 331.160973


Debates continue to rage over the merits or flaws of public land and whether or not it should be privatized—or at least, radically reconfigured in some way. In Defense of Public Lands offers a comprehensive refutation of the market-oriented arguments. Steven Davis passionately advocates that public land ought to remain firmly in the public’s hands. He reviews empirical data and theoretical arguments from biological, economic, and political perspectives in order to build a case for why our public lands are an invaluable and irreplaceable asset for the American people. 

In Defense of Public Lands briefly lays out the history and characteristics of public lands at the local, state, and federal levels while examining the numerous policy prescriptions for their privatization or, in the case of federal lands, transfer. He considers the dimensions of environmental health; markets and valuation of public land, the tensions between collective values and individual preferences, the nature and performance of bureaucratic management, and the legitimacy of interest groups and community decision-making. Offering a fair, good faith overview of the privatizers’ best arguments before refuting them, this timely book contemplates both the immediate and long-term future of our public lands.

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