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- SW Climate
The results (Conley et al., 1999) suggest that the ranchers are sensitive to a variety of factors in addition to climate variability. Other factors include adverse market conditions, land use policies, political pressures, and individual management strategies and resource access. Vulnerability to climate variability varies within the ranching sector, with smaller operations being the most vulnerable since they do not possess the capital to undertake large investments and make changes in operations based on long-term forecasts with an unknown track record. The ability to cope with drought is further complicated by changes in environmental policy and pressure from urban growth. In these circumstances, ranchers reported being tempted to sell their private ranch property to development interests. Although our pilot study identified smaller operations as the most vulnerable to climatic variability in the context of policy and economic uncertainty, these operations reported less utility in climate information. For large operations, the utility of climate information to ranchers in southeastern Arizona would be increased if the climate information were provided within the decision-structure used by ranchers. More specifically, climate information incorporated into the sources of information upon which ranchers base their decisions (i.e. journals that contain market data) could prove to be an effective method for improving ranchers’ information for making decisions.