Range management history and philosophy

TitleRange management history and philosophy
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1951
AuthorsChapline W.R.
JournalJournal of Forestry
Date PublishedSeptember 1951
Keywordsconservation, efficient management, history and philosophy, range management, unrestricted grazing
AbstractRangeland management has come a long way from the widespread, unrestricted grazing in the clays of western settlement. Early public land policy tended to encourage such grazing: Insufficient area allowed in individual homesteads, the hope of many settlers to make a stake and return to their former homes, economic pressures, and the necessity of grazing ranges closely to discourage others from settling or remainingall played a part. Such philosophy and the failure to appreciate the damage caused by overgrazing seriously deteriorated most Western ranges and left in their wake bankruptcy, blasted hopes, deserted homes and distressed communities. Fortunately, during the 50 years in which the Society of American Foresters has been growing to its present stature, range management philosophy has evolved to where conservation is more generally emphasized. Most federal range lands have been brought under administration. Private owners now have a greater appreciation of the benefits which can accrue to them and the public generally from efficient management of their ranges. Improved practices developed by research have already brought millions of dollars in savings and increased revenue to stockmen annually. Such progress might indicate that range conservation has already attained a high degree of success. However, the condition of Western ranges was so bad 50 years ago and there was such a lack of understanding of efficient range management that major progress has been attained only within recent years. This paper reviews some of the milestones in the development of range management philosophy in its relation to land use management.