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Know the West

Let ranchers restore the land

  With regards to the Quivira Coalition and the New Ranch movement, the question is not whether ranchers managing land and livestock under such principles can actually restore landscapes (HCN, 9/5/05: Rangeland Revival). Dedicated individuals such as Sid Goodloe of Capitan, N.M., working with the freedom and flexibility afforded to private land, have already demonstrated an affirmative answer to that question (HCN, 4/15/96: Raising a ranch from the dead).

Likewise, the fact that traditionally trained scientists cannot replicate and validate the results of nonlinear processes affecting nonlinear natural systems should surprise no one. The complex science that will underpin natural resource management 20 years from now is still in its infancy. The question of the day, again, is not whether these "new ranchers" can restore their landscapes but why are we, the greater society, afraid to let them?

Preston Wright
Marys River Ranch, Nevada