Technologies for sustainable development of Chihuahuan Desert rangelands

TitleTechnologies for sustainable development of Chihuahuan Desert rangelands
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsHavstad K
Conference Name4th Symposium on Resources of the Chihuahuan Desert Region: US and Mexico
Date Published1993
KeywordsChihuahuan Desert, rangelands, sustainable development
AbstractOptions for management of Chihuahua Desert rangelands have been recently viewed as limited. Many technologies that had typically been seen as viable components of management have become expensive, inefficient, or inappropriate. Yet, the need for management of these desert rangelands is increasingly urgent. It is evident that simply withdrawing lands from use will not generally lead to improvements in resource values or restoration of prior condition. Human interventions are required, but the nature of those interventions must be based on knowledge of the ecological integrity of these lands. We view the northern Chihuahuan Desert as a complex and chaotic system. Management tools must be viewed as triggers for change within this complexity rather than obtrusive instruments for large scale alterations to the landscape. One trigger mechanism is domestic livestock. Planned manipulations of livestock grazing behaviors may achieve desirable changes in vegetation structure. Another trigger is selective reintroduction of germplasm. Seed dispersal technologies which rely on natural elements, such as animal, wind, and water, may slowly affect bioremediation with minimal impacts to other resources and with minimal expense. Development of these look requires detailed process level knowledge of the desert ecosystem. We are beginning to achieve this understanding through interdisciplinary and interinstitution research. However, we need to further expand these collaborations, especially internationally, to best develop livestock and revegetation tools that will be applicable for sustainable development throughout the Chihuahuan Desert.