Anti-grazing fallacies

  Dear HCN,


In his rush to support environmental activists and ignorance of ecological processes, Tony Davis unwittingly reveals two major fallacies of the anti-grazing movement (HCN, 10/22/01: Healing the Gila). The first involves ecological site potential and the misconception that all you have to do is take the cows off and stand back. "It will rival the rain forest." What a joke and what a misleading piece of reporting. Because of relatively good soils and available water, riparian areas respond well when constant grazing pressure is lightened. But a rain forest the San Francisco (or the Gila) will never be.


The second myth perpetrated on your readers is the incorrect implication that since flycatcher populations improved when uncontrolled overgrazing was changed to well-managed grazing, if all the cows were removed, there would be even more flycatchers. This direct and linear response to changes in the level of ecosystem perturbation has no support in the scientific literature and is, in fact, an unlikely scenario.


These two misconceptions are fundamental to the diametric split between anti-grazing advocates and those who would dare to leave cows on the landscape. The differences are personal perceptions, purely ideological, the result of widely disparate social and cultural backgrounds. The article does a disservice to the thousands of Westerners working in collaborative efforts to bridge these differences and provide a future for communities dependent upon public land that is inclusive rather than divisive.


Dusty Snow
Tucson, Arizona


High Country News Classifieds
  • GENERAL MANAGER
    The Board of UYWCD seeks a new GM to manage operations & to implement our robust strategic plan. Details at www.upperyampawater.com. EOE
  • IN TUCSON, FOR SALE: A BEAUTIFUL, CLASSIC MID-CENTURY MODERN HOME
    designed by architect David Swanson in 1966. Located a block from Saguaro National Forest, yet minutes to Downtown and the UofA campus, 3706 sqft, 6...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Friends of the San Juans is seeking a new leader guide our efforts to protect and restore the San Juan Islands and the Salish...
  • 80 ACRES
    straddles North Platte Fishery, Wyoming. Legal access 2 miles off 1-80. Call 720-440-7633.
  • DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT AND MARKETING
    High Country News seeks a Director of Product and Marketing to join our senior team during an exciting chapter of innovation and growth. This individual...
  • OWN A THRIVING MOUNTAIN GUIDE SERVICE.
    Eastern Sierra guide service for sale to person with vision & expertise to take it onwards. Since 1995 with USFS & NPS permits. Ideal for...
  • IMPROVED LOT
    Private road, hillside, views. Well, pad, septic, 99 sq.ft. hut. Dryland permaculture orchard. Wildlife. San Diego--long growing season
  • UNIQUE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
    Profitable off-the-grid business located 2 miles from Glacier National Park. Owner has 6 years operating experience. Seeking investor or partner for business expansion and enhancement....
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...