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Stitching the West Back TogetherConservation of Working Landscapes$
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Susan Charnley, Thomas E. Sheridan, and Gary P. Nabhan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226165684

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226165851.001.0001

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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. Sheridan

Nathan 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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