Award Date

5-9-1997

Degree Type

Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Environmental Science

Number of Pages

18

Abstract

"Whose Home Is the Range, Anyway?: The latest research is confirming that in the West's fragile public lands, cattle are often bad news for wildlife." This is the title and headline of Lisa Drew's article in the December/January 1994 issue of National Wildlife. It shows a picture of what looks like a wasteland with only cattle, manure and a fence, no vegetation (Drew, 1994). Inside the article, Drew quotes biologist Bob Ohmart at Arizona State University's Center for Environmental Studies as saying, "Livestock grazing is without a doubt the greatest threat to western wildlife" (p. 15). Drew contends that, "The more researchers learn, the more of a villain seems the cow, which eats 12,000 pounds of plants a year and lingers in riparian areas" (p. 16).

Livestock grazing on the public rangelands has come under much criticism in both the past and the present. In a 1977 report to the Congress by the Comptroller General of the United States, the first sentence was, "The Nation's public rangelands have been deteriorating for years and, for the most part, are not improving" (p. i). Many environmentalists agree with this statement today. In Ending the Range Wars?, William Riebsame writes: "Environmentalists claim that much of the federal rangeland is overgrazed and that low grazing fees and lax agency oversight give ranchers defacto control of the land and make them careless of the resource" (p. 6).

On the other end of the spectrum is the statement by Thadis Box, "I believe the range, on a whole, is in the best condition it has been in this century" (Box, 1988, p. 1). Box is a Certified Range Management Consultant, past president of the Society for Range Management, professor and Dean Emeritus of Natural Resources at Utah State University. Box made the same statement in 1979 in a paper presented for the Rangelands Policy Symposium in Tucson, Arizona (Box, 1979).

The purpose of this paper is to examine some of the available data concerning range condition on BLM administered lands, and to determine the trend for those lands.

Keywords

Bureau of Land Management (BLM); Cattle; Environmental degradation; Grazing; Livestock; Overgrazing; Range land; Range management

Disciplines

Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Sciences | Natural Resources Management and Policy

Language

English


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