Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Politics of ScaleA History of Rangeland Science$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Nathan F. Sayre

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226083117

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226083391.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Squinting at Blind Spots

Squinting at Blind Spots

Southwestern Rangelands and the Consolidation of Successional Theory

Chapter:
(p.87) Three Squinting at Blind Spots
Source:
The Politics of Scale
Author(s):

Nathan F. Sayre

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226083391.003.0004

The largest and oldest federal range research stations, the Santa Rita and Jornada experimental ranges, were founded in 1903 and 1912 in Arizona and New Mexico, respectively. Scientists at both locations struggled to make sense of the dynamics of vegetation and grazing in the face of rainfall patterns that were unpredictable and highly variable; contrary to Clements’s model, the weather, not grazing, seemed to be the dominant driver of vegetation change. By the 1930s, a further problem had emerged: even without any livestock, former grasslands were turning into shrublands dominated by mesquite and other woody plant species. Southwestern range scientists pointed out that succession was not working as predicted, but they lacked an alternative theory to replace it. But the head of Forest Service research, Earle Clapp, declared in the late 1920s that succession would serve as the basis for all range research. Clementsian theory conformed to, and ratified, the key concern of administrators and ranchers alike: stocking rates, which scientists would henceforth treat as the primary ecological variable in all rangelands. In most Western rangelands the underlying theory was flawed, however, as evidenced by its failures in drier, more variable settings such as the Southwest and Great Basin.

Keywords:   Earle Clapp, equilibrium, Jornada Experimental Range, mesquite, Santa Rita Experimental Range, shrub invasion

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.