Social Values Mapping

Mapping Social Values of Residents of the Upper Missouri River Basin for Current and Future Land Uses 


The Upper Missouri River Basin (UMRB), which is comprised mostly of South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming, is among the least populated regions in the contiguous United States, and it produces large amounts of food, feed, and energy. Therefore, the use of the landscape is foundational to the economy and identities of many of the people in the region. The purpose of this research is to assess the social values of residents of the UMRB towards the landscape and map the portions of the landscape where those values originate. In 2018 and 2019, we administered a two-part survey to people living in rural, micropolitan, and metropolitan communities in the UMRB. In the first part of the survey, respondents identified their demographic characteristics, their current uses of the surrounding landscape, and their attitudes and preferences towards current and future land uses. The second part of the survey used a customized social-values typology to conduct a value-allocation exercise and then asked respondents to identify locations where residents currently experience those values on the landscape. Data analysis is ongoing, and we are linking the mapped social values with the biophysical landscape features and to create integrated social-values maps of the UMRB. We are also modeling where and how social values are likely to change under alternative future land uses. We anticipate that the geographic location, community size, and respondent demographics will affect the types and locations of social values perceived by the respondents. We further anticipate that the current dominant land use surrounding respondents will affect how alternative future land uses are valued. Because the UMRB covers a large geographic area and produces food, feed, and energy for the region and beyond, changes in land use in this region are likely to have broad impacts influenced by the social values held by its residents.

This research is ongoing. Please contact Amin Rastandeh (contact information can be found on the Team page) for more information.