Exurban development is an increasingly common form of sprawl impacting rural areas of North America. Since these developments consist of 10-40 acre tracts outside of the urban/suburban boundary sometimes in deep isolation of other developments, the toll they take on the landscape seems insignificant; yet as open valleys are fenced, unbroken forests are divided into parcels, and generalist species replace specialists in the region, these unique landscapes are becoming altered. Indeed, exurban development, or “rural sprawl,” is changing the landscape ten times faster than urban and suburban sprawl combined. The research project examines if and how individual land ethics or the regional land-use context influence landowners' activities and land-use decisions at two study sites: the Adirondack region of upstate New York and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Montana. Data will come from a mail survey with 80-90 exurban landowners at each test site and follow-up in-depth interviews with a subset of these same landowners entities governing land-use, such as town and county planning departments and homeowner associations. This mixed methods research design builds on social-psychological frameworks such as hierarchy and structuration theory, as well as the theory of planned behavior, to develop a concrete understanding of the social forces at play that impact how landowners manage their land. The results of this social inquiry will be integrated with ecological field data on avian community structure from a broader project to provide a clearer picture of how exurban development affects natural resources and the steps that can be taken to better manage the land and mitigate for any negative externalities of exurban land-use. Explicit understanding of how landowners navigate outside constraints and internal values to influence local biota will yield better management opportunities and potentially ecologically healthier landscapes.