From Old-Growth Forests to Old-Growth Grasslands: Managing Rangelands for Structure and Function
Arizona Law Review, Vol. 42, p. 319, 2000
23 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2009
Date Written: 2000
This article considers the similarities and differences between public forest management and public rangeland management. The latter should adopt many of the former’s recent reforms. It Explores the transformation of public forest management from a focus on timber production to a recognition of ecological and social functions, the ecological and social functions of rangelands and the ways in which those functions can be disrupted by domestic livestock grazing, the prevalent methods used by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to evaluate rangeland conditions and grazing’s impact on those conditions, and finally how modern developments in public forest management can be used as a model for a transformed approach to rangeland management based on ecological and social functions rather than merely on livestock production. While these changes in rangeland management carry consequences, the consequences in forestry management were far greater and yet the result has been positive. The understandable desire to preserve a relatively small number of ranching jobs should not prevent management of rangelands in a manner that restores and maintains their structure and function, just as the desire to preserve a much larger number of timber jobs has not prevented a transformation in the management of our forests.
Keywords: natural resource law, environmental law,land management
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