Thursday, February 23, 2017

Study on grazing in the West

On the 20th I linked to a column by Matthew Anderson, Grazing should be critical piece of lands management. The column referred to a new study released by the Coalition For Self-Government In The West, wherein they looked at the number of aum's and grazing permits authorized and issued by the BLM from 1949-2014.

The study, Dusty Trails: The Erosion of Grazing in the American West, is now available on their website. Data is available on the eleven Western states and for individual states. Westwide, the number of aum's authorized has declined from 14,572,272 to 7,160,432 and the number of permittees has gone from 21,081 to 10,187. In New Mexico, the number of aum's has declined by 46% and the number of permittees by a whopping 65%.

Many thanks to the author, Matthew Anderson, for sharing this information with The Westerner. Let's hope their next study will look at the Forest Service.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anderson claims that grazing animals are 24/7 on duty to prevent wild fires. If the ranch is managing their land into a fire proof condition they might have a hard time overcoming this type of range management. Since most ranches are still managed in large pastures the control of grazing to prevent the spread of a wild fire might not work too well. Today, landscapes are a mixture of grass, brush and tree cover all of which defy fire proofing by grazing animals. How can you know where a wild fire might start? You might use grazing to protect your camps or headquarters but that would take fencing to control the livestock, except possibly for herded sheep. Given a 20+ mph wind a wildfire is hard to stop under the best of conditions. No science, just IMO.
Anderson should pick more cogent points for the use of grazing to manage wild-lands than for fire control.