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Status and Trends of Western Working Landscapes

Status and Trends of Western Working Landscapes

(p.13) 2 Status and Trends of Western Working Landscapes
Stitching the West Back Together
Thomas E. SheridanNathan F. Sayre
University of Chicago Press

Western forests and rangelands provide diverse products for consumers, but their future productivity is becoming increasingly threatened. Western timber harvesting dropped by 60% over the last two decades while recreational use of federal lands has increased dramatically. A 42% drop in forest products employment has severely impacted nearby communities. Western working rangelands support one-fifth of the cattle and half the sheep in the U.S. The number of cattle has remained fairly stable over the past two decades while sheep have dropped by about half. Ranching typically operates from a core of private land using grazing allotments on adjacent public land; pressure from environmental and recreational interests to reduce grazing on public lands thus threatens ranching operations. Private forests and ranchlands both are increasingly being divided into smaller parcels, often for development. The resulting increase in number of owners and diversity of uses fragments habitats and threatens biodiversity.

Keywords:   forest products, working rangelands, grazing allotments, recreational use, parcels, timber harvesting

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