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: 25 September 2021

Fixing Stocking Rates

Fixing Stocking Rates

Monitoring and the Politics of Measurement

Chapter:
(p.109) Four Fixing Stocking Rates
Source:
The Politics of Scale
Author(s):

Nathan F. Sayre

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226083391.003.0005

Chapter 4 looks at the scientific struggle to determine carrying capacities and the political struggle to impose them on ranchers in the form of stocking rates. It took the Forest Service decades of concerted effort just to develop a basic inventory of its rangelands, and even when data were available the problem of converting an ever-changing volume of forage into a fixed number of livestock was a matter of chronic uncertainty and debate. Fixing stocking rates to match average conditions ensured that there would be excess grass in wet years and excessive livestock in dry ones; perennial disputes with ranchers predictably ensued. Publicly, the agency made bold claims about the condition of the nation’s rangelands, invoking solid-looking numbers to defend itself against ranchers, rival agencies and critics in Congress. Internally, however, the scientists conceded that determining carrying capacities was fraught with problems. Then, at mid-century, an apparent solution was found: economical, standardized methods of quantifying both the successional stage and the volume of forage of a given range. It was not actually a solution, as would become apparent over time, but it represented an important final step in consolidating the authority of range science.

Keywords:   carrying capacity, forage acre, Parker 3-step, range reconnaissance, range survey, range condition and trend, Taylor Grazing Act, Western Range

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.