• How much sagebrush is too much: An economic threshold analysis

      Bastian, C. T.; Jacobs, J. J.; Smith, M. A. (Society for Range Management, 1995-01-01)
      Much research concerning sagebrush control methods and forage response after control has been conducted due to the importance of sagebrush-grass dominated rangelands for livestock and wildlife in the western United States. Very little research has addressed the economic feasibility of sagebrush control at various levels of abundance. This study estimates the economic thmhold abundance of sagebrush based on forage response data from a sagebrush control experiment in Carbon County, Wyo. Forage response data are based on the difference in herbage between treated and untreated experimental units from sites ranging in initial sagebrush canopy cover from 4 to 40%. Breakeven returns per AUM were estimated for each sagebrush canopy cover level assuming 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) or burning (for 28 to 40% canopy cover) as a control method with lives of control at 1S, 20, and 25 years. These breakeven returns were compared to a net lease rate of S6.13/AUM. Results indicate the economic threshold abundance of sagebrush is 12% assuming, 2,4-D as the control method and a control longevity of 25 years, but the feasible sagebrush abundance increases as longevity of control decreases. If the longevity of the control only lasts 20 years, the sagebrush abundance must be at least 20% before treating sagebrush becomes economically feasible. If the longevity of control is only 15 years, sagebrush abundance must be at least 24% canopy cover before treatment is economically viable. Given estimates of the cost of burning are almost half that of spraying with 2,4-D, all the scenarios which had enough biomass to sustain a burn (28% to 40%) indicated sagebrush controJ by fire was economically viable.
    • Multiple use of public rangeland: Antelope and stocker cattle in Wyoming

      Bastian, C. T.; Jacobs, J. J.; Held, L. J.; Smith, M. A. (Society for Range Management, 1991-07-01)
      The government must manage public rangeland in the face of alternative multiple use interests, including wildlife and domestic livestock production. The objectives of this study were to estimate a production possibilities frontier for antelope (Antilocapra americana (Ord)) and stocker cattle on the Wyoming Red Desert and then evaluate the most economical combination for the specific production and price assumptions used in the analysis. Nine antelope-steer combinations were derived by using a linear programming model to maximize total number of animals subject to annual forage production on a representative 405-ha range site. The resulting 9 combinations included 72 head of antelope with no steers at one extreme and 35 head of stocker steers with no antelope at the other extreme, with various combinations of each in between. Because of the different forage preferences of antelope (primarily browse) and cattle (primarily grass), the marginal rates of substitution of cattle for antelope varied widely along the production possibilities frontier. Specifically, the marginal rate of substitution of cattle for antelope was very low moving from 72 antelope-0 steers, to 69 antelope-29 steers, in terms of sacrificing only a few antelope (3) in exchange for a comparatively large number of steers (29). Conversely, the marginal rate of substitution of cattle for antelope moving from 69 antelope-29 steers, to 0 antelope-35 steers was very high in terms of sacrificing a relatively large number of antelope (69) in exchange for only a few additional steers (6). This wide range of substitution rates suggests that economic benefits from antelope and cattle would have to be extremely different before "multiple use" is not preferred in the case study setting.