‘‘The Range Problem’’ After a Century of Rangeland Science: New Research Themes for Altered Landscapes
range science history
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CitationSayre, N. F., deBuys, W., Bestelmeyer, B. T., & Havstad, K. M. (2012). “The range problem” after a century of rangeland science: new research themes for altered landscapes. Rangeland Ecology & Management, 65(6), 545-552.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalRangeland Ecology & Management
AbstractThe rangeland science profession in the United States has its roots in the widespread overgrazing and concurrent severe droughts of the late 19th century. These drivers contributed to rangeland resource degradation especially in the American Southwest—what E. O. Wooton (1908) called the ‘‘Range Problem.’’ Although logical for the time, the scientific activities and resulting policies that arose out of this catastrophe were based on reductionist experimentation and productionist emphases on food and fiber. After a century of science and policy, there are two additional perspectives that shape our vision for the emphases of the future. First, rangeland landscapes are extremely heterogeneous; general principles derived from scientific experimentation cannot be easily or generally applied without adjusting to the distinct societal and ecological characteristics of a location. Second, rangeland management occurs at spatial scales considerably larger than those that have typically been addressed in range science. Scaling up science results is not a simple, additive process. The leading features of the emerging science are 1) research at landscape scales and 2) over longer time spans that 3) approaches conservation and management practices as treatments requiring scientific evaluation, 4) incorporates local knowledge, 5) is explicitly applied in nature, and 6) is transparent in its practice. We strongly argue for a science that supports resource management by testing hypotheses relevant to actual conservation practices and iteratively applying its findings in partnership with managers in an ongoing, adaptive fashion./La profesión de ciencia del pastizal en Estados Unidos tiene sus races en el sobrepastoreo y recurrentes y severas sequias a finales del siglo XIX. Estos factores contribuyeron a la degradación de los recursos del pastizal especialmente en el Suroeste de los Estados Unidos—a lo que E. O. Wooton (1908) llamo el “Problema del Pastizal.” Aunque por la lógica del tiempo, las actividades científicas y políticas resultantes que surgen de esta catástrofe fueron basadas en experimentación reduccionista y énfasis en producción de alimentos y fibras. Después de un siglo de ciencia y politicas hay dos perspectivas adicionales que dan forma a nuestra visión para enfatizar en el futuro. Primero, el paisaje del pastizal es extremadamente heterogéneo, principios generales de experimentación cientifica no pueden ser fácilmente o generalmente aplicados sin ajustes en las marcadas características sociales y ecológicas del lugar. Segundo, el manejo del pastizal ocurre a escalas espaciales considerablemente mayores a aquellas que normalmente se aplican en la ciencia del pastizal. Dimensionar los resultados de la ciencia no es un proceso sencillo y aditivo. Las características importantes de la ciencia emergente son 1) investigación a escala del paisaje y 2) sobre periodos largo de tiempo que 3) abarque practicas de conservación y manejo como tratamientos que requieren evaluación cientifica, 4) incorporar conocimiento local, 5) ser explicito aplicado a la naturaleza y 6) ser trasparente en su práctica. Argumentamos fuertamente por una ciencia que apoye el manejo de los recursos por media de evaluar hipótesis relevantes a las prácticas de conservación actuales y que aplique sus resultados en sociedad con manejadores de manera adaptiva.
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