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The Politics of ScaleA History of Rangeland Science$
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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

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Capital, Climate, and Community-Based Conservation

Capital, Climate, and Community-Based Conservation

(p.209) Conclusion Capital, Climate, and Community-Based Conservation
The Politics of Scale

Nathan F. Sayre

University of Chicago Press

Scale is now a central topic of research and theory in rangeland ecology, and non-equilibrium ideas have rapidly gained footing in the US and globally. But the problem of scale remains a daunting obstacle to effective rangeland management. Current scientific research indicates that areas with a high coefficient of variation of rainfall are dominated by non-equilibrium ecological dynamics. Highly variable precipitation still defies the temporal demands of capital accumulation, and climate change is projected to increase variability still further. The history of range science could have been different: scientists might have worked more closely with livestock producers to vary stocking rates, and rangelands might have been managed at larger scales, as in the case of the Mizpah-Pumpkin Creek Grazing District in southeastern Montana in the late 1920s. Community-based conservation groups have flourished throughout the West in recent decades, committed to collaborative approaches that permit greater flexibility and adaptive management at landscape scales. Science cannot be abstracted from its social contexts, and knowledge cannot be separated from the social processes that produce and condition it.

Keywords:   climate, coefficient of variation, community-based conservation, Mizpah-Pumpkin Creek Grazing District, non-equilbrium ecology

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