Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Geography (Cartography and GIS Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Dr. Ulrich Kamp

Commitee Members

Dr. Thomas Sullivan, Dr. Alexander L. Metcalf, Rick Graetz


Conservation History, Blackfoot Valley, Swan Valley, Montana, Game Theory


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Nature and Society Relations


Conservation strategies are essential tools for protecting landscapes and ecosystems. The Blackfoot and Swan Valleys in Montana, which are analyzed in this study, are considered to be prime examples of conservation efforts. Key conservation agencies in the study area include the Blackfoot Challenge and Swan Valley Connections. This study analyzes the history of conservation in the Blackfoot and Swan Valleys, current conservation practices, and contributors to successful conservation. The study uses the theoretical background of game theory and contributes to conservation theory and aims to contribute to the field of mountain geography. The methodological approach of the study is qualitative in nature. Research was conducted in the form of fourteen semi-structured interviews with key players in the local conservation movement. Major themes discussed in the interviews included the development of the conservation movement, the current conservation practices, as well as the importance of collaboration and perceptions by the locals. The study produced a written history of conservation in the Blackfoot and Swan Valleys and discusses current practices in conservation and contributors to successful conservation. Through the application of game theory, the study views those who are involved in conservation work as a ‘players’ in a ‘game of conservation’ and found that the game in which conservation is being practiced changed from relatively independently operating players to a network of strongly collaborating players.



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