Range research in New Mexico by ARS

TitleRange research in New Mexico by ARS
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication1981
AuthorsHerbel C.H., Gibbens, Robert P.
Conference NameProceedings of the United States/Mexico Range Management Workshop, New Mexico State University
Date Published1981
Conference LocationLas Cruces, NM

Southwest depends on proper management of the forage resource. In this region, periods of low precipitation are frequent and fluctuations in seasonal and annual amounts are extreme. Substantial vegetation changes have occurred since 1900 because of past grazing abuses, severe droughts, and a rapid increase of unwanted shrubs.

The Jornada Experimental Range was established in 1912 as a 78,200ha tract 37km northeast of Las Cruces to study range management practices and the effects of weather on semidesert rangelands. Results are directly applicable to other semidesert ranges in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Northern Mexico. The experimental work on the Jornada has been a combination of empirical studies on large range pastures and detailed studies of the relations among climate, soils, plants, and animals. Some of the contributions toward better management of arid rangelands are: 1) developing better utilization standards and principles of use for black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda) and tobosa (Hilaria mutica) ranges; 2) obtaining better livestock distribution by water development and salting away from water; 3) improving range livestock; 4) establishing the principles of flexible herd management to cope with a fluctuating forage crop; 5) studying the ecology of arid rangelands; 6) improving the control of mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), creosotebush (Larrea tridentata), and tarbush (Flourensia cernua); 7) developing methods for revegetation of depleted rangelands; and 8) determining effective grazing management for sustained yielu and protection of the range resource. Continuous records of vegetation, weather, and stocking, are available for more than 65 years and assist in interpreting present studies. Additional studies, conducted prior to 1973, are summarized in bulletins prepared by Paulsen and Ares (1962): Ares (1974), and Herbel and Gould (1980).