Range and forest resources of New Mexico

TitleRange and forest resources of New Mexico
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1970
AuthorsDwyer D.D., Herbel C.H., Davis C.A.
Conference NameNew Mexico State University Meeting: Environment, People, and Culture
Date Published1970
Keywordsforest resources, New Mexico, range resources
AbstractNew Mexico is big country. Its 122,600 square miles make it the fifth largest state. It extends nearly 350 miles from north to south and slightly less from east to west. Within these boundaries lie the vast extremes of sun-scorched arid land and pine-topped mountain ranges. Climate is greatly varied. Temperatures have reached54°F below zero in the northern mountains and 110°F in the southern deserts. Precipitation is low and undependable, ranging from 8 inches annually in the southern Rio Grande Valley to 20 inches in the higher mountains. The average elevation of the state is nearly 5700 feet, ranging from the low point of 2800 feet where the Pecos River enters Texas, to 13,150 feet at the top of Wheeler Peak in Taos County. New Mexico's forest and range resources are made up of six general vegetation types: grassland, woodland, forest, semidesert brush, big sagebrush and shinnery oak. Forest Service figures indicate that 23 percent of these lands, or 18.2 million acres, are forested, with 6.3 million acres of commercial forests and 11.9 million acres classed as woodland. Only 2.6 million acres of the state's 77.7 million acres are cultivated, leaving about 95 percent of the state's area available to livestock and wildlife for grazing, excluding acreage in urban and highway development.