Rangeland conservation needs, technology, and policy alternatives

TitleRangeland conservation needs, technology, and policy alternatives
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication1981
AuthorsHedrick W.W., Schuster J.L., Busby F., Herbel C.H., Kearl G., Mayland H.F., Renard K.G., Shiflet T.N., Teer J.G., Whetsell D.
Conference NameProceedings of the Soil Science Society of America Conference, Soil and Water Resources: Research Priorities for the Nation
Date Published1981
Conference LocationMadison, WI

Range-or more appropriately rangeland-is a kind of land and not a use of land.Rangeland provides or is capable of providing forage for grazing or browsing animals. Range includes grasslands  and  shrublands and those forest lands that continually or periodically, naturally or through management, support an understory of herbaceous or shrubby vegetation that provides forage. Also included are those lands that have been seeded to non-native plants but are managed like lands that support native vegetation. Lands designated as improved pastures, cropland pasture, and grazed croplands are not classified as rangeland because they are routinely cultivated, seeded, fertilized, and/or irrigated.

Rangeland management is limited by environmental and economic factors. Many rangelands are dry or precipitation is so erratic that arid land management practices must be followed. However, riparian zones that occur as part of the rangeland  ecosystem must be managed according to their particular characteristics. Other environmental characteristic that dictate range management options are steep slopes, short  growing seasons, and  unfavorable soil conditions. All of these environmental factors  lower the productive capacity of the land and limit the amount and regularity of economic input into management. Cultural improvement practices, such as brush management and seeding, are most useful in attempting to improve deteriorated conditions or in meeting special management objectives. Economically inexpensive and  energy efficient range  management practices, such  as controlled grazing and prescribed burning, can then be used to maintain desired  ecological conditions.