• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Letters of transmittal
 High lights
 Acknowledgement
 Table of Contents
 Chapter I: The major range problems...
 Chapter II: The virgin range
 Chapter III: The white man's...
 Chapter IV: How and why
 Chapter V: Its social and economic...
 Chapter VI: Program
 Literature cited
 Appendix
 Index






Group Title: Western range
Title: The western range
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053800/00001
 Material Information
Title: The western range Letter from the secretary of agriculture transmitting in reponse to Senate resolution no. 289 a report on the western range--a great but neglected natural resource ..
Physical Description: xvi, 620 p. : incl. ilus., maps, charts, tables, diagrs. ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Creator: United States -- Forest Service
Publisher: U. S. Govt. print. off.
Place of Publication: Washington
Publication Date: 1936
 Subjects
Subject: Rangelands   ( lcsh )
Livestock -- West (U.S.)   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00053800
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000645756
notis - ADH5647
lccn - 36026521

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Letters of transmittal
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    High lights
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
    Acknowledgement
        Page x
    Table of Contents
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
    Chapter I: The major range problems and their solution - a resume
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Major findings
            Page 3
            Serious range depletion practically universal
                Page 3
                Page 4
                Page 5
                Page 6
                Page 7
                Page 8
            Depletion resulted from a few outstanding causes
                Page 9
                Page 10
                Page 11
                Page 12
                Page 13
                Page 14
                Page 15
            Range use an integral part of western agriculture
                Page 16
                Page 17
                Page 18
            Serious social and economic losses
                Page 19
                Page 20
                Page 21
                Page 22
                Page 23
                Page 24
                Page 25
                Page 26
                Page 27
                Page 28
            Range conservation the exception
                Page 29
                Page 30
                Page 31
                Page 32
                Page 33
                Page 34
            Resilience of range livestock production
                Page 35
                Page 36
        Drastic remedial action required
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
            Page 40
            To restore and maintain the range
                Page 41
                Page 42
                Page 43
                Page 44
            For private lands and livestock
                Page 45
                Page 46
                Page 47
                Page 48
                Page 49
                Page 50
            In public land administration
                Page 51
                Page 52
                Page 53
                Page 54
                Page 55
                Page 56
                Page 57
                Page 58
            In research and extension
                Page 59
                Page 60
            In legislation
                Page 61
                Page 62
            Costs and returns
                Page 63
                Page 64
                Page 65
            The key to remedial action
                Page 66
        Is remedial action worth while?
            Page 67
            If no action is taken
                Page 67
            The benefits from restoration
                Page 68
                Page 69
                Page 70
    Chapter II: The virgin range
        Page 71
        A detailed picture of virgin range types
            Page 72
            Page 73
            Page 74
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
        What the range resource offered a growing nation
            Page 80
    Chapter III: The white man's toll
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Forage depletion in the principal range types
            Page 84
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
            Page 91
            Page 92
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
            Page 101
            Page 102
            Page 103
            Page 104
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 107
        A century's toll in "free use" of the range
            Page 108
            Page 109
            Page 110
            Page 111
            Page 112
            Page 113
            Page 114
            Page 115
            Page 116
    Chapter IV: How and why
        Page 117
        Page 118
        History of range use
            Page 119
            The great boom in range cattle, 1880-85
                Page 119
            Genesis of the boom
                Page 120
                Page 121
            The collapse of the boom
                Page 122
            Recovery - striving for security on the cattle range
                Page 123
                Page 124
            Increase in sheep accentuated bitter struggle for range
                Page 125
                Page 126
            Settlement intensifies tendency to range depletion
                Page 127
                Page 128
            Establishment of public-land control a stabilizing factor
                Page 129
            World war boom and post-war depression bring heavy demands on range
                Page 130
            Drought added to excess stocking works havoc on range
                Page 131
            Issues growing out of range-use history
                Page 132
                Page 133
                Page 134
        Climatic fluctuations
            Page 135
            Climatic fluctuations on western ranges
                Page 135
                Seasonal fluctuations
                    Page 136
                    Page 137
                Drought years
                    Page 138
                The menace in a recurrence of dry years
                    Page 139
                    Page 140
                Progressive deficiencies
                    Page 141
            Corresponding fluctuations in range vegetation
                Page 142
                Range forage production declines in dry years
                    Page 143
                    Page 144
                Effect of dry seasons on grazing use
                    Page 145
                Vegetative stand decreases after drought
                    Page 145
                    Page 146
                Cyclic fluctuations in vegetative growth
                    Page 147
            Climatic guides to permanent range use
                Page 148
                Page 149
                Page 150
        Excessive stocking
            Page 151
            Evidence of excessive stocking
                Page 152
                Numbers of livestock within range area
                    Page 153
                Numbers of livestock on range and other feed
                    Page 154
                    Page 155
                    Page 156
                    Page 157
                    Page 158
                    Page 159
                    Page 160
                Evidence afforded by range deterioration itself
                    Page 161
                    Page 162
                    Page 163
                Evidence afforded by present stocking and estimated grazing capacity
                    Page 164
                Evidence afforded by serious losses and unsatisfactory production
                    Page 165
                    Page 166
                    Page 167
            Causes of excessive stocking
                Page 168
                Competition for range
                    Page 168
                Stockmen believe profits depend on numbers
                    Page 168
                Permitting ranges to suffer to reduce expenses
                    Page 169
                Stocking on basis of better years
                    Page 169
                Restocking too soon after drought
                    Page 169
                Pressure on public range officials
                    Page 169
                Some agencies have not faced their conservation responsibility
                    Page 170
                Lack of realization of consequences
                    Page 170
            Overcoming excessive stocking not insurmountable
                Page 171
                Page 172
        Rule-of-thumb management
            Page 173
            Harmful practices evolved by rule-of-thumb
                Page 173
                Faulty distribution of livestock
                    Page 174
                    Page 175
                    Page 176
                Improper season of use injures the range
                    Page 177
                Poor balance between classes of animals and type of range
                    Page 178
                The effect of burning on forage production
                    Page 179
            Combined effects of unsound rule-of-thumb practices
                Page 180
                Page 181
            Reasons for development of rule-of-thumb practices
                Page 182
                Page 183
                Page 184
        The lag in research and extension
            Page 185
            Appraisal of range research and extension
                Page 185
                Duration of the work
                    Page 185
                Character of investigations
                    Page 186
                Expenditures
                    Page 187
                Number of workers
                    Page 188
                Range of extension
                    Page 188
            Examples of neglected unsolved problems of range restoration and management
                Page 189
                Problems of grazing capacity
                    Page 189
                The role of vegetation in watershed protection
                    Page 190
                Key forage plants
                    Page 190
                Artificial revegetation
                    Page 191
                Interplay of animal factors in their effect on range
                    Page 191
                Need for simple usable measures of range condition
                    Page 192
                Many other unsolved problems
                    Page 192
            The net result - a concluding appraisal
                Page 192
        Financial handicaps
            Page 193
            The relation of capital investments to profits and range depletion
                Page 193
                Page 194
                Page 195
                Page 196
            The relation of production costs to profits and range depletion
                Page 197
                Page 198
                Page 199
                Page 200
            Credit facilities and their relation to profits and range depletion
                Page 201
                Page 202
                The bankers' viewpoint
                    Page 203
                    Page 204
            Marketing and its relationship to profits and range depletion
                Page 205
                Page 206
                Page 207
            Profits
                Page 208
            Key financial problems
                Page 209
                Markets
                    Page 209
                Credits
                    Page 210
                Erroneous financial philosophy
                    Page 210
                High land values
                    Page 211
                    Page 212
        Unsuitable land policy
            Page 213
            Introduction
                Page 213
                Page 214
            The period of disposal
                Page 215
                The homestead laws
                    Page 216
                    Page 217
                    Page 218
                    Page 219
                Enlarged homestead acts
                    Page 220
                The grazing homestead law
                    Page 221
                    Page 222
                    Page 223
                    Page 224
                    Page 225
                Land script, mineral laws, and other acts
                    Page 226
                Railroad and other internal improvement grants
                    Page 226
                    Page 227
                    Page 228
                    Page 229
            Status of lands remaining in public ownership
                Page 230
                Texas lands
                    Page 230
                State grants
                    Page 231
                    Page 232
                    Page 233
                Indian lands
                    Page 234
                Remaining public domain
                    Page 235
            Reasons for delay in adopting a constructive range-land policy
                Page 236
                Page 237
            The effects of past land policy
                Page 238
                Effect on present range-land ownership
                    Page 238
                    Page 239
                    Page 240
                    Page 241
                    Page 242
                    Page 243
                    Page 244
                Effect on the range resource
                    Page 245
            The problems which arise from land ownership
                Page 246
                Simplification of ownership pattern
                    Page 246
                Division into economic units
                    Page 247
                Taxation
                    Page 247
                Responsibility for restoration
                    Page 248
        Range conservation
            Page 249
            The national forests
                Page 249
                Page 250
                Establishment of the national forests
                    Page 251
                    Page 252
                Aims and objectives in administration
                    Page 253
                Multiple use of resources
                    Page 254
                Administration of range use
                    Page 255
                    Page 256
                    Page 257
                Development and application of range management
                    Page 258
                    Page 259
                    Page 260
                    Page 261
                    Page 262
                    Page 263
                Obstacles and problems in range management
                    Page 264
                    Page 265
                    Page 266
                Range distribution policy
                    Page 267
                    Page 268
                    Page 269
                    Page 270
                    Page 271
                    Page 272
                    Page 273
                Net results of 30 years of range administration
                    Page 274
                    Page 275
                    Page 276
                    Page 277
            Indian lands
                Page 278
                Indian range resources
                    Page 278
                    Page 279
                Adminstration of Indian range
                    Page 280
                    Page 281
                Special handicaps in administration
                    Page 282
                Wheeler-Howard Act
                    Page 283
                Problems
                    Page 284
            The grazing districts
                Page 285
                Favorable features of the Grazing Act
                    Page 286
                Shortcomigns of the Grazing Act
                    Page 286
                    Page 287
                    Page 288
                    Page 289
                    Page 290
                    Page 291
                    Page 292
                    Page 293
            Conservation on privately owned range
                Page 294
                West of the Great Plains
                    Page 295
                    Page 296
                The Great Plains
                    Page 297
                    Page 298
                The sandhills of Nebraska
                    Page 299
                Privately owned range lands in and adjacent to national forests
                    Page 299
                Factors which have favored range conservation
                    Page 300
    Chapter V: Its social and economic function
        Page 301
        Page 302
        In watershed protection
            Page 303
            Watersheds of the virgin range
                Page 303
                Page 304
            The flood and erosion menace of recent years
                Page 305
                Floods
                    Page 306
                    Page 307
                Erosion
                    Page 308
                    Page 309
                    Page 310
                    Page 311
                    Page 312
                    Page 313
            Causes of accelerated erosion and floods
                Page 314
                Climate
                    Page 314
                Soils
                    Page 315
                Topography
                    Page 315
                Vegetation
                    Page 316
                    Page 317
                    Page 318
                    Page 319
                    Page 320
                    Page 321
                    Page 322
                    Page 323
                    Page 324
                Owernership or control of land as a contributing factor in accelerating run-off and erosion
                    Page 325
            The economic and social consequence of accelerated run-off erosion
                Page 326
                Soil fertility destroyed
                    Page 327
                Irrigation water supply and improvements threatened
                    Page 328
                    Page 329
                    Page 330
                    Page 331
                    Page 332
                    Page 333
                    Page 334
                Costly floods
                    Page 335
                Municipal watersheds
                    Page 335
                Water power depends on continuous stream flow
                    Page 336
                Recreation and wildlife resources imperiled
                    Page 336
                "Blackblizzards" of the plans spread destruction
                    Page 336
                Contrasting watershed and grazing values
                    Page 337
            The way out - restoration
                Page 338
                Page 339
                Page 340
        As a home for wildlife
            Page 341
            The wildlife problem
                Page 341
            Wildlife a product of environment
                Page 341
            How reduction in range area and its depletion reduced wildlife
                Page 342
                Restriction of area available for wildlife
                    Page 343
                Range depletion
                    Page 344
                    Page 345
            Other changes in habitat
                Page 346
                Page 347
            Effect of environmental changes intensified by overutilization of wildlife resource
                Page 348
            Reduced wildlife presents an important and neglected problem
                Page 349
                Page 350
            Defects in theories adopted in wildlife conservation
                Page 351
                Wildlife not regarded as a crop
                    Page 351
                Wildlife treated apart from environment
                    Page 352
                Wildlife refuges not universal solution
                    Page 353
                Transplanting of wildlife
                    Page 354
                Lack of basic knowledge of wildlife a handicap
                    Page 355
                Wildlife administration not handled as a biological problem
                    Page 355
                Wildlife management under legal pattern self-defeating
                    Page 355
                Vital importance of environment proved by national-forest experiment
                    Page 355
                    Page 356
                    Page 357
                    Page 358
                    Page 359
            Major problems in wildlife management
                Page 360
                Page 361
                Page 362
        In supplying areas for recreation
            Page 363
            The social need
                Page 363
                Page 364
            Economic considerations
                Page 365
                Page 366
                Page 367
            The elements of recreational value in the western range states
                Page 368
                Page 369
                Page 370
            The lesson of the national parks and national forests
                Page 371
                Page 372
                Page 373
                Page 374
                Page 375
            Future requirements
                Page 376
        As an integrated part of western agriculture
            Page 377
            Introduction
                Page 377
            The magnitude of western agriculture
                Page 378
            Diverse patterns of western agriculture
                Page 379
                Specialized crop farming
                    Page 379
                Crop farming and range livestock grazing
                    Page 379
                    Page 380
                    Page 381
                    Page 382
                    Page 383
                    Page 384
                    Page 385
                Regional characteristics of crop- and range-land agriculture
                    Page 386
                    Page 387
                    Page 388
                    Page 389
                    Page 390
            Dependent population
                Page 391
                Page 392
            Metropolitan business centers
                Page 393
            Bonds between western agriculture and the middle west and south
                Page 393
            Effects of maladjusted land uses and of range depletion
                Page 394
                Dry farming or range husbandry
                    Page 394
                    Page 395
                    Page 396
                    Page 397
                Other maladjustments
                    Page 398
                    Page 399
                Effects of range depletion on integrated western agriculture
                    Page 400
                    Page 401
                    Page 402
                    Page 403
                    Page 404
                    Page 405
                    Page 406
                    Page 407
                    Page 408
                    Page 409
                    Page 410
            Range land submarginal for private ownership
                Page 411
                Naturally low productive capacity of the range
                    Page 411
                Drought or other climatic hazards
                    Page 412
                Accessibility to market
                    Page 412
                Taxes and tax delinquency
                    Page 413
                Cost of restoration and rehabilitation
                    Page 414
                Use of public range concealed submarginality
                    Page 414
                Unsatisfactory social condition
                    Page 415
                Other considerations
                    Page 415
            Greater security possible from balanced agriculture
                Page 415
                Page 416
                Page 417
            The problem of integration of western agriculture
                Page 418
    Chapter VI: Program
        Page 419
        Page 420
        The probable future use and ownership of range lands
            Page 421
            The problems of use
                Page 421
                The background
                    Page 421
                The problem of uneconomically cropped land
                    Page 422
                The problem coordinating range use with the national agricultural-adjustment and land-use programs
                    Page 423
                Other use of adjustment problems
                    Page 423
            The problems of private ownership
                Page 424
                Ownership pattern - causes, effects, and responsibility
                    Page 424
                Why should the public be interested?
                    Page 425
                    Page 426
                The solution must be a joint undertaking of private and public ownership
                    Page 427
                The possible means of public assistance to strengthen private range-land ownership
                    Page 427
                    Page 428
                    Page 429
                    Page 430
                    Page 431
                Inadequacy of data prevents accurate determination of size of problems
                    Page 432
            Estimated shifts in range lands submarginal for private ownership
                Page 433
                The basis for estimating needed shifts from private to public ownership
                    Page 433
                    Page 434
                    Page 435
                Rating of opportunity for private management in different forage types
                    Page 436
                    Page 437
                Prospective public acquisition
                    Page 438
                    Page 439
            Estimated shifts in private range range lands with high public values
                Page 440
                To restore and conserve watershed values
                    Page 440
                    Page 441
                    Page 442
                    Page 443
                To protect wildlife
                    Page 444
                To round out national forests and grazing districts
                    Page 445
            The net area to be acquired
                Page 445
                Change in usable range area
                    Page 446
            Problems of public ownership
                Page 447
                The problem of unreserved federal range lands
                    Page 447
                The problem of state-owned range lands
                    Page 447
                The problem of tax-reverted lands
                    Page 447
                Division of responsibility between states and federal government in range-land ownership
                    Page 448
            The process of solution of ownership and use problems
                Page 449
                Page 450
        The administration of public range lands
            Page 451
            National forests and grazing-district lands
                Page 452
                Multiple resources
                    Page 453
                    Page 454
                Range management
                    Page 455
                    Page 456
                Integration of public range lands with agriculture
                    Page 457
                    Page 458
                    Page 459
                Intermingled lands and isolated tracts
                    Page 460
                    Page 461
                Boundary adjustments
                    Page 462
                Machinery of administration
                    Page 462
                    Page 463
                    Page 464
                Costs and returns
                    Page 465
                    Page 466
            Unification of range administration in one department
                Page 467
                Correlation in administration
                    Page 467
                Why the forest service in the Department of Agriculture
                    Page 467
                Relation of federal range to other agricultural resources
                    Page 468
                Forest and range land management a function of agriculture
                    Page 469
                Functions of the department of agriculture
                    Page 470
                Functions of the department of the interior
                    Page 471
                Department of Agriculture best fitted to administer federal forest range lands
                    Page 471
                    Page 472
            Program for Indian range land
                Page 473
                Range conservation
                    Page 474
                Machinery of range administration
                    Page 475
                Multiple use
                    Page 475
                Range improvements
                    Page 476
                Net results of program
                    Page 477
            State, county, and municipal range lands
                Page 477
                Page 478
                Page 479
                Page 480
            Legislation needed
                Page 481
                Page 482
        Private ownership - land and livestock
            Page 483
            Present condition of private lands
                Page 483
            What private and public agencies can do to stabilize private ownership
                Page 483
                Stewardship of land
                    Page 484
                Submarginal lands
                    Page 485
                    Page 486
                Development of sound economic units
                    Page 487
                    Page 488
                    Page 489
                    Page 490
                Inflationary land values
                    Page 491
                Range management, animal husbandry, and game management
                    Page 492
                    Page 493
                    Page 494
                Control of production
                    Page 495
                Markets
                    Page 496
                Credits
                    Page 496
                Taxation
                    Page 497
                Research and extension
                    Page 498
            Improving rural social and economic conditions
                Page 498
                Page 499
                Page 500
        The management of range lands
            Page 501
            Page 502
            A program for domestic livestock production
                Page 503
            Systems of grazing
                Page 503
            Range rehabilitation
                Page 504
                Page 505
            Pests, diseases, and poisonous plant eradication
                Page 506
            Grazing capacity
                Page 507
                Page 508
                Page 509
            Proper season of use
                Page 510
            Class of stock
                Page 511
            Distribution of stock
                Page 511
                Page 512
            Need for management plans
                Page 513
            Potential contribution from the range
                Page 514
            A program for watershed protection
                Page 515
                Restoration during grazing use usually sufficient
                    Page 515
                Artificial erosion control needed in some cases
                    Page 516
                Responsibility for watershed protection
                    Page 517
            A program for wildlife
                Page 518
                Jurisdictional problems
                    Page 519
                Refuges and santuaries
                    Page 519
                    Page 520
            A program for recreation
                Page 521
            A program for forest ranges
                Page 522
            Additional information - A basic need
                Page 522
        Research and extension program
            Page 523
            Why range research and extension?
                Page 523
            Major lines of research required
                Page 524
                Range management
                    Page 524
                    Page 525
                    Page 526
                Artificial revegetation
                    Page 527
                Watershed management
                    Page 528
                Range economics
                    Page 529
                Wildlife
                    Page 529
                Animal husbandry
                    Page 530
                Entomology
                    Page 530
            Coordinated research
                Page 530
            Extension
                Page 531
            Responsibility for and cost of research and extension required
                Page 531
                Present expenditures
                    Page 532
                Proposed expenditures
                    Page 533
                    Page 534
        Legislation and costs
            Page 535
            Problems requiring federal legislative action
                Page 535
                Problems affecting public domain and grazing districts
                    Page 535
                    Page 536
                    Page 537
                Problems of transferring private lands to federal ownership
                    Page 538
                    Page 539
                    Page 540
                Simplification of boundary charges
                    Page 541
                Problems in federal assistance to private owners
                    Page 542
                    Page 543
            Problems requiring state legislative action
                Page 544
            The joint problem of state and federal governments to work cooperatively
                Page 544
                Page 545
                Page 546
                Page 547
            The joint problem of state and federal governments to work cooperatively
                Page 548
            Costs
                Page 548
                The job on federal lands
                    Page 549
                    Page 550
                    Page 551
                The job on state and county lands
                    Page 552
                The job on private lands
                    Page 553
                Research and extension
                    Page 554
                    Page 555
                    Page 556
    Literature cited
        Page 557
        Page 558
        Page 559
        Page 560
        Page 561
        Page 562
        Page 563
        Page 564
        Page 565
        Page 566
    Appendix
        Page 567
        Southern forest ranges
            Page 567
            Page 568
            Page 569
            Page 570
            Page 571
            Page 572
            Page 573
            Page 574
            Page 575
            Page 576
            Page 577
            Page 578
            Page 579
            Page 580
        Alaska
            Page 581
            Page 582
            Page 583
            Page 584
            Page 585
            Page 586
            Page 587
            Page 588
            Page 589
            Page 590
            Page 591
            Page 592
            Page 593
            Page 594
            Page 595
            Page 596
            Page 597
            Page 598
        Range types
            Page 599
        Range species referred to in the report
            Page 600
            Page 601
            Page 602
            Page 603
            Page 604
    Index
        Page 605
        Page 606
        Page 607
        Page 608
        Page 609
        Page 610
        Page 611
        Page 612
        Page 613
        Page 614
        Page 615
        Page 616
        Page 617
        Page 618
        Page 619
        Page 620
Full Text




74TH CONGRESS SENATE DOCUMENT
2d Session No. 199





THE WESTERN RANGE




LETTER
FROM

THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE
TRANSMITTING

IN RESPONSE TO SENATE RESOLUTION No. 289
A REPORT ON THE WESTERN RANGE-A GREAT BUT
NEGLECTED NATURAL RESOURCE


APRIL 24 (calendar day, APRIL 29), 1936.-Referred to the
Committee on Agriculture and Forestry and
ordered to be printed with illustrations



UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON: 1936








74TH CONGRESS SENATE DOCUMENT
2d Session No. 199





THE WESTERN RANGE




LETTER
FROM

THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE
TRANSMITTING

IN RESPONSE TO SENATE RESOLUTION No. 289
A REPORT ON THE WESTERN RANGE-A GREAT BUT
NEGLECTED NATURAL RESOURCE


APRIL 24 (calendar day, APRIL 29), 1936.-Referred to the
Committee on Agriculture and Forestry and
ordered to be printed with illustrations



UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON: 1936












LETTERS OF TRANSMITTAL


DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
Washington, April 28, 1936.
The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE.
SIR: In compliance with the request in Senate Resolution 289 (74th
Cong., 2d sess.), introduced by Senator Norris, I have the honor to
submit herewith a report on the range problem of the western United
States prepared by the Forest Service of this Department.
The resolution reads:
Whereas large parts of the western range have been subject to unrestricted
use since settlement and are commonly believed to be more or less seriously
depleted; and
Whereas the range resource constitutes one of the major sources of wealth
to the Nation; and
Whereas the Department of Agriculture has through many years of research
and of administration of the national forests accumulated a large amount of
information on the original and present condition of the range resource, the
factors which have led to the present condition, and the social and economic
importance of the range and its conservation to the West and to the entire
United States: Therefore be it
Resolved, That the Secretary of Agriculture be, and hereby is, requested to
transmit to the Senate at his earliest convenience a report incorporating this
information, together with recommendations as to constructive measures.
In transmitting this report I shall resist the temptation, despite
my great personal interest in the range question, to comment at
length on its findings and recommendations, and instead merely
emphasize three of the most important phases of the discussion.
1. The first of these is the astonishing degree to which the western
range resource has been neglected, despite its magnitude and
importance.
One indication of this neglect is the lack of public knowledge.
The general public knows less of the range resource, and as a result
has been and is less concerned about its condition and conservation
than of any other of our important natural resources. This is true
in spite of the fact that the range occupies about two-fifths of the
total land area of the United States and three-fourths of that of the
range country; that the range territory produces about 75 percent of
the national output of wool and mohair, and in pounds about 55 per-
cent of the sheep and lambs, and nearly one-third of the cattle and
calves. In fact, this report represents the first attempt, although
much of the range has been grazed for 50 years at least, to make an
all-inclusive survey of the range resource, its original and present
condition, the causes and effects of changes, the social and economic
function which it does and should render to the West and to the
Nation, and, finally, to outline practical solutions for at least the
more important problems.





LETTERS OF TRANSMITTAL


The entire history of public-land disposal under both Federal and
State laws reflects this neglect. These laws have with few excep-
tions been framed and administered without regard to range condi-
tions and requirements. The result is an ownership pattern so com-
plex that satisfactory handling of the range is seriously handicapped.
In this pattern is intermingled an enormous area that all of the
available information indicates is submarginal for private ownership.
Further evidence of neglect is failure to regulate the use of range
lands in such a way as to maintain the resource. This failure has
been so general under all classes of ownership that in contrast ex-
amples of good management are decidedly conspicuous. The result
is serious and practically universal range and soil depletion, which
already has gone far toward the creation of a permanent desert over
enormous areas. An even more serious result has been an appalling
waste of the human resource. And three-fourths of the range area is
still on the down grade.
The commonly accepted theory that private ownership in itself is
enough of an incentive to insure the satisfactory handling of range
lands has proved to be true only in the case of exceptional ranches.
State range lands have been leased without provision for the man-
agement of the resource or its perpetuation. Federal holdings are
scattered among many bureaus in several departments. The national
forests, which afford an example of large-scale range conservation,
are administered by the Department of Agriculture. The grazing
districts, which are only now being placed under administration after
a half century or more of neglect, and the public domain, which is still
subject to unrestricted use, fall under the Department of the Interior.
These three classes of land make up the bulk of Federal holdings.
Neglect is further shown by the meager scale of research by both the
Federal and State Governments. A reasonable program of research
might have prevented many serious mistakes and maladjustments.
Extension to carry research findings in better range practices'to pri-
vate owners has been practically nonexistent.
2. The second phase of the situation to which I wish to call atten-
tion is the fundamental character both of the range resource and of
its use.
They have to do with land; with the production on that land of
forage crops, with the utilization of the crops in livestock and, in a
lesser degree, wildlife production; with the management of land and
its forage cover to obtain watershed protection and the services needed
primarily by agriculture for irrigation. Effectiveness in all of these
things depends upon the biological and agricultural sciences. In
short, they are a part, and in the West one of the most important
parts, of agriculture.
Furthermore, through the free play of economic forces, range live-
stock production-once almost wholly an independent pastoral enter-
prise-and cropland agriculture have become closely integrated, in-
separable parts of the agricultural structure of the West. Except for
specialty farms, a high percentage of the hundreds of thousands of
western farm or ranch units represent widely varying combinations
of range and crop agriculture. More than one-third of the feed for
range livestock now comes from croplands or irrigated pastures.
Problems of one part have become problems of both. Major malad-
justments in either-of which there are far too many-now inevitably





LETTERS OF TRANSMITTAL


affect the other. No comprehensive program can be prepared for
either which does not take the other definitely into account.
3. The third phase of the range situation to which I wish to call
attention is a limited number of remedial measures of outstanding
importance among the many that are required. The range problem
as a whole has been allowed to drift for so long that its difficulties
have been accentuated. It has become exceedingly broad and com-
plex, beginning with the basic soil resource at the one extreme, and
extending through a wide range of overlapping interrelated problems
to human welfare at the other. No single measure offers hope of
more than a partial solution.
One of the most important of the measures required is to place all
range lands under management that will stop depletion and restore
and thereafter maintain the resource in perpetuity, while at the same
time permitting its use. This will involve many difficult operations
such, for example, as drastic reductions of stock on overgrazed ranges.
It will involve various forms of use such as livestock grazing, water-
shed services, wildlife production, etc., which should be so correlated
as to obtain the maximum private and public benefits.
A second line of action involves the return to public ownership of
lands so low in productivity, or so seriously devastated, or requiring
such large expenditures to protect high public values, that private
owners can hold them only at a loss. Closely related are a far-reach-
ing series of adjustments in size of ownership units to make both
private and public ownership feasible and effective, each in its proper
sphere.
A third line of action is to put jurisdiction over publicly owned
range lands on a sound basis. Unquestionably the only plan which
can be defended is to concentrate responsibility for the administration
of Federal lands in a single department to avoid unnecessary duplica-
tions, excessive expenditures, and fundamental differences in policies,
and to obtain the highest efficiency in administration and the maxi-
mum of service to users. Since the administration of the range
resource and its use is agriculture, and since the administration of
federally owned ranges can and should be used as an affirmative means
in the rehabilitation of western agriculture, the grazing districts and
the public domain should be transferred to the Department of Agri-
culture.
Furthermore, the concentration of jurisdiction over federally owned
range lands is a vitally important step toward the concentration in a
single department of the still more inclusive functions, including aid
and services to private owners of range lands, which should be exer-
cised by the Federal Government on the entire range problem. Such
a concentration is a fundamental principle of good organization if
the Federal Government is to redeem its full responsibility in the
restoration and care of this much-neglected resource.
The States have similar jurisdictional problems which demand
attention.
A fourth measure which should be emphasized is the wide scope
of research necessary to put range use for all purposes on a sound
footing. Closely related is extension, which will carry the informa-
tion obtained to the private owner and help him constructively in its
application.





LETTERS OF TRANSMITTAL


With these and other recommendations of the Forest Service, I am
in general accord, and I hope that in carrying them out there need not
be too serious a delay, since further delay will merely serve to accen-
tuate difficulties and increase costs.
The solution of the range problem can be made an important con-
tribution to the conservation of our natural resources.. It can be made
an important contribution to the rehabilitation of western agriculture.
Finally, and most important, it can be made an important contribu-
tion to social and economic security and human welfare. Public
neglect is partly responsible for the aggravated character of the range
problem, and this makes all the more urgent and necessary public
action toward its solution.
Respectfully,
H. A. WALLACE, Secretary.


UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
FOREST SERVICE,
Washington, April 28, 1936.
The SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE.
DEAR MR. SECRETARY: I am transmitting herewith the report re-
quested in Senate Resolution 289. This incorporates information
obtained by many years of research on the range and watershed
problems, by special surveys which have been under way for several
years, and by 30 years' administration of the national forests. It
includes the pertinent information now available in the Forest
Service and that which could be obtained from other Federal and
State agencies. It necessarily has the limitations inherent in the
first attempt to treat the range resource as a whole, but it is believed
that its findings are essentially sound.
One of the primary reasons for the neglect, and hence the serious
depletion of the range resource and a series of major maladjust-
ments in land use, has been a division of responsibility among public
agencies. No one Federal agency has been responsible for an all-
inclusive, affirmative handling of the entire range problem. A sim-
ilar situation obtains for every western State in which the range
is an important factor.
If the Federal Government is to redeem its responsibilities, one
of the first and most important needs is, therefore, the concentra-
tion of responsibility in a single Federal department. This should
include responsibility for whatever additional and feasible action
is required to put privately owned range lands in a satisfactory
status. Such concentration affords the only effective way to stop
the depletion of ranges under way for 50 years, and to start them
on the upgrade. Furthermore, such concentration affords the only
effective means to integrate range use soundly with the other forms
of western agriculture of which it is an essential part. Since the
problem is wholly agricultural, concentration must be in the Depart-
ment of Agriculture.
To redeem their obligations, the States must face and meet sim-
ilar problems of jurisdiction and responsibility.
Sincerely yours,
hi. A. SILCOX,
Chief, Forest Service.












HIGH LIGHTS


1. The range area of 728 million acres is nearly 40 percent of the
total land area of the continental United States; more than 99 per-
cent is available for livestock grazing.
2. About half the range area, or 376 million acres, is in private
ownership. One-third, or 239 million acres, is Federal range,
divided among national forests, grazing districts, public domain, and
other withdrawals and reservations.
3. Forage depletion for the entire range area averages more than
half; the result of a few decades of livestock grazing.
4. Range depletion on the public domain and grazing districts
averages 67 percent, on private, Indian, and State and county lands
about half, and on national forests 30 percent.
5. Three-fourths of the entire range area has declined during the
last 30 years, and only 16 percent has improved.
6. During the same period 95 percent of the public domain and
grazing districts has gone downgrade and only 2 percent has im-
proved. For other forms of ownership and control corresponding
figures are: Private lands 85 and 10, State and county lands 88 and 7,
Indian lands 75 and 10, national forests 5 and 77.
7. Only about 95 million acres of the entire range area is in reason-
ably satisfactory condition. Nearly half of the national forest range
and 12 percent of private ownership falls in this category. The rea-
sonably satisfactory areas in other ownerships are inconsequential.
Probably not much over 5 percent of the entire range area-is in a
thoroughly satisfactory condition.
8. An outstanding cause of range depletion has been excessive
stocking. Some 17.3 million animal units are now grazed on ranges
which it is estimated can carry only 10.8 million. The removal of
the surplus is the most effective way to stop depletion and start the
range on the upgrade.
9. About seven-tenths, or 523 million acres, of the range area is
still subject to practically unrestricted grazing.
10. Precipitation in the range country averages less than one-
third that of the Middle West and East. One to 4 drought years
out of 10 characterize practically all of the range area. The failure
to recognize in stocking the wide and direct fluctuation of forage
production with precipitation has been one primary cause of
depletion.
11. Among financial handicaps to the range livestock producer,
possibly the most serious, is the marketing differential, mainly
freight, which for Idaho is nearly $8.50 for an 1,100-pound steer in
the Chicago market as compared with Illinois.
12. The one best answer to this and other financial handicaps is
cheap range feed, which costs only one-fifth to one-tenth as much as
hay or other supplemental feed. But serious depletion of range feed
has been practically universal, and heavy supplemental feeding has
been necessary.






HIGH LIGHTS


13. Unsuitable land laws and policies have made the range a be-
wildering mosaic of different kinds of ownerships and of uneconomic
units, which together constitute a serious obstacle to range manage-
ment and profitable livestock production.
14. Range livestock production was once almost wholly pastoral.
Thirty-five percent of the feed for western livestock is now supple-
mental feeds raised on croplands or irrigated pastures-a threefold
increase in 45 years. Except for highly specialized crop farming,
mostly on irrigated land, western agriculture is now primarily an
integration of range livestock grazing and crop farming.
15. Excluding irrigation improvements, the 1930 census values
farm lands and buildings, privately owned range lands, and farm
and range livestock, etc., at nearly 12.9 billion dollars.
16. Most spectacular among the maladjustments of range-land use
has been the attempt to use more than 50 million acres for dry-land
farming. About half, ruined for forage production for years to come,
has already been abandoned for cultivation, much of it even before
going to patent.
17. A more serious but much less spectacular maladjustment has
been the private acquisition of many million, acres, either submar-
ginal for private ownership as shown by high tax delinquency and
relief rolls, abandonment, etc., or having high public values for
watershed protection which private owners cannot maintain, or both.
18. Four-fifths of the 232 million acres which yield 85 percent of
the water of the major western streams is range land, and low pre-
cipitation makes water the limiting factor in nearly all western
development.
19. No less than 589 million acres of range land is eroding more or
less seriously, reducing soil productivity and impairing watershed
services. Three-fifths of this area is adding to the silt load of major
western streams.
20. It will probably require more than 50 years of management to
restore the depleted range sufficiently to carry even the 17.3 million
livestock units now grazed, and probably an additional 50 years to
restore it to the nearest possible approach to its original grazing
capacity of 22.5 million units.
21. Action of greatest immediate urgency and importance is to-
Stop soil and forage depletion, and start both on the upgrade;
Reduce excessive stocking, place all range lands under man-
agement, and restore cheap range feed;
Rectify land ownership and use maladjustments, and obtain a
sound distribution of ownership between private and public
agencies;
Build up economic private and public units;
Balance and integrate crop and range use;
Correlate the livestock, watershed, forest, wildlife, and recrea-
tion forms of range-land uses and services;
Obtain a recognition of the responsibility of stewardship by
private owners;
Minimize or remove various financial handicaps of stock pro-
ducers;






HIGH LIGHTS IX

Reconcile range conservation and the financial needs of State
institutions;
Solve the tax delinquency problem;
Place public lands under the supervision of agricultural
agencies as a step toward unification of public responsibility for
the entire range problem. Provide on such lands for a sound
distribution of grazing privileges, and prevent the establishment
of prescriptive rights;
Obtain and apply the information necessary for the conserva-
tion and wise use of the range resource;
Prevent human wastage and insure social and economic
security.















ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The preparation of this report has largely been a group effort in
which a large number of Forest Service employees have participated.
Authorship credited under the various titles only partially indicates
the contribution made by these authors, who for the most part have
also given a large amount of time and effort to the technical review
and constructive criticism of sections other than their own.
The following employees whose names do not appear as authors
contributed in such ways as the compilation of data and the
preparation of material for the report, or in the critical review of
manuscripts, or in an advisory capacity:
C. A. Anderson, John Bancker Miss Frances L. Beckwith, Dr.
Miriam L. Bomhard, Miss Theo Campbell, George H. Dacy, Jerry
Dahl, W. A. Dayton, E. L. Demmon, R. M. De Nio, L. A. Dremolski,
E. J. Dyksterhius, Miss Doris Hayes, C. F. Hunn, E. W. Kelley, R. F.
Knoth, Albert Pierson, Dr. Oran Raber, C. E. Rachford, R. V. Rey-
nolds, C. S. Robinson, Marshall Thayer, R. S. Wallace, J. C. Whitham.
The statistical and much of the other basic material was organized
under the supervision of Arthur Upson.
A still larger group at the western forest and range experiment
stations, regional offices, and on the national forests has over a period
of several years collected the large volume of data which has consti-
tuted the main basis for the report.
In addition, a considerable number of Government units, both
within and without the Department of Agriculture, have cooperated
generously in supplying needed information; among these, acknowl-
edgment is due especially to the Agricultural Adjustment Adminis-
tration, the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, the Bureau of
Biological Survey, the Farm Credit Administration, the Rural Reset-
tlement Administration, the Weather Bureau, and the Bureau of the
Census. The ready cooperation of the State agricultural experiment
stations in a number of the Western States was also of great assistance.











THE WESTERN RANGE
A GREAT BUT NEGLECTED NATURAL RESOURCE

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
I. The major range problems and their solution-A r6sum6_---------- 1
Major findings----------- --------------------------- 3
Serious range depletion practically universal-.------------ 3
Depletion resulted from a few outstanding causes-.-------- 9
Range use an integral part of western agriculture --------- 16
Serious social and economic losses----------------------- 19
Range conservation the exception--_------------------ 29
Resilience of range livestock production ---------------- 35
Drastic remedial action required _-------------------------- 37
To restore and maintain the range -------------------- 41
For private lands and livestock------------------------ 45
In public land administration ------------------------ 51
In research and extension_ ---------------------------- 59
In legislation .----------------------------------- 61
Costs and returns-------------------- -------------- 63
The key to remedial action--------------------------- 66
Is remedial action worth while? --------------------------- 67
If no action is taken-------------------------------- 67
The benefits from restoration ------------------------- 68
II. The virgin range .--------------------------------------- 71
A detailed picture of virgin range types---------------------- 72
What the range resource offered a growing Nation------- 80
III. The white man's toll.---..------------------------- ----------- 81
Forage depletion in the principal range types ----------------- 84
A century's toll in "free use" of the range------------------- 108
IV. How and why-.--------------------------------------- 117
History of range use .----------------------------------- 119
The great boom in range cattle, 1880-85---------------- 119
Genesis of the boom ---------------------------------- 120
The collapse of the boom --------------------------- 122
Recovery-striving for security on the cattle range-------- 123
Increase in sheep accentuated bitter struggle for range----- 125
Settlement intensifies tendency to range depletion -------- 127
Establishment of public-land control a stabilizing factor___ 129
World War boom and post-war depression bring heavy de-
mands on range ------------------ --------------- 130
Drought added to excess stocking works havoc on range _- 131
Issues growing out of range-use history ---------------- 132
Climatic fluctuations --.------------------ -------------- 135
Climatic fluctuations on western ranges_----------- 135
Seasonal fluctuations -------.------------------- 136
Drought years---------------------------------- 138
The menace in a recurrence of dry years ------------ 139
Progressive deficiencies---------------------.----- 141
Corresponding fluctuations in range vegetation ----------- 142
Range forage production declines in dry years-------- 143
Effect of dry seasons on grazing use --------------- 145
Vegetative stand decreases after drought------------- 145
Cyclic fluctuations in vegetative growth_ ----------- 147
Climatic guides to permanent range use------------------ 148
Excessive stocking --------------------------------------- 151
Evidence of excessive stocking ------------------------- 152
Numbers of livestock within range area------------_ 153
Numbers of livestock on range and other feed -------- 154
Evidence afforded by range deterioration itself-------- 161
Evidence afforded by present stocking and estimated
grazing capacity-..------. ------------------ 164
Evidence afforded by serious losses and unsatisfactory
production------------------------------------- 165
XI






TABLE OF CONTENTS


IV. How and why-Continued. Page
Excessive stocking-Continued.
Causes of excessive stocking.--------------------------- 168
Competition for range--------------------------- 168
Stockmen believe profits depend on numbers--------- 168
Permitting ranges to suffer to reduce expenses-------- 169
Stocking on basis of better years------------------- 169
Restocking too soon after drought----------------- 169
Pressure on public range officials-------------------- 169
Some agencies have not faced their conservation re-
sponsibility ---------------------------------- 170
Lack of realization of consequences------------------ 170
Overcoming excessive stocking not insurmountable-------- 171
Rule-of-thumb management ------------------------------ 173
Harmful practices evolved by rule-of-thumb ------------- 173
Too many animals on the range-------------------- 173
Faulty distribution of livestock -------------------- 174
Improper season of use injures the range__------------ 177
Poor balance between classes of animals and type of
range.-------------------------------------- 178
The effect of burning on forage production----------- 179
Combined effects of unsound rule-of-thumb practices------ 180
Reasons for development of rule-of-thumb practices --. ---- 182
The lag in research and extension--------.------------------ 185
Appraisal of range research and extension--------------- 185
Duration of the work__--------------------------- 185
Character of investigations ------------------------ 186
Expenditures---------------------------------- 187
Number of workers..------------------------------ 188
Range extension---------.. ---------------------- 188
Examples of neglected unsolved problems of range restora-
tion and management--------.---------------------- 189
Problems of grazing capacity ---------------------- 189
The role of vegetation in watershed protection-------- 190
Key forage plants..------------------------------- 190
Artificial revegetation----------------------------- 191
Interplay of animal factors in their effect on range---- 191
Need for simple usable measures of range condition-_- 192
Many other unsolved problems----------- --------- 192
The net result-a concluding appraisal ------------------ 192
Financial handicaps ------------------------------------- 193
The relation of capital investments to profits and range
depletion -.------------------------------------ 193
The relation of production costs to profits and range deple-
tion .------------------------------------------- 197
Credit facilities and their relation to profits and range
depletion .--------------------------------------- 201
The bankers' viewpoint--------------------------- 203
Marketing and its relationship to profits and range deple-
tion----------------------------------------------- 205
Profits.----------------------------------------- 208
Key financial problems ------------------------------- 209
Markets ---------..-------------------------- 209
Credits-----------..----------------------------- 210
Erroneous financial philosophy--------------------- 210
High land values------------------------ ----- 211
Unsuitable land policy ----------------------------- --- 213
Introduction .._----------------.--- ----------------- 213
The period of disposal ...------------------ --------- 215
The homestead laws------- ---------------------- 216
Enlarged homestead acts------------------------- 220
The grazing homestead law------------------------ 221
Land script, mineral laws, and other acts ---- -- 226
Railroad and other internal improvement grants------ 226
Status of lands remaining in public ownership------------ 230
Texaslands _-- --..----------------------- 230
State grants -----------------..-------------- 231
Indian lands.----.------..---------------------- 234
Remaining public domain-------------------------- 235


XII






TABLE OF CONTENTS


IV. How and why-Continued. Page
Unsuitable land policy-Continued.
Reasons for delay in adopting a constructive range-land
policy------------------------------------------- 236
The effects of past land policy------------------------ 238
Effect on present range-land ownership -------------- 238
Effect on the range resource -_------------------- 245
The problems which arise from land ownership----------- 246
Simplification of ownership pattern --------------_--- 246
Division into economic units---------------------- 247
Taxation------------------------------------- 247
Responsibility for restoration----_------------..--. 248
Range conservation the exception-------,------------------- 249
The national forests--...-----.-------------------- --- 249
Establishment of the national forests---------------- 251
Aims and objectives in administration-.-----------.. 253
Multiple use of resources-------------------------- 254
Administration of range use----------------------- 255
Development and application of range management_ 258
Obstacles and problems in range management-------- 264
Range distribution policy--------------------- -- 267
Net results of 30 years of range administration------- 274
Indian lands----------------------- ------------ 278
Indian range resources--------------------------- 278
Administration of Indian range--------------------- 280
Special handicaps in administration ------------___ 282
Wheeler-Howard Act -.....-------------------. .-- 283
Problems ------------------------------------- 284
The grazing districts -----..--------------------------- 285
Favorable features of the Grazing Act-.------------- 286
Shortcomings of the Grazing Act------------------- 286
'Conservation on privately owned range ------------------ 294
West of the Great Plains.--------------------..--. 295
The Great Plains-------------------------- --- 297
The sandhills of Nebraska------------------------ 299
Privately owned range lands in and adjacent to national
forests ----------- ------------------------- 299
Factors which have favored range conservation ... -- 300
V. Its social and economic function.---------.--------------------- 301
In watershed protection-------------------------------- 303
Watersheds of the virgin range------------------------ 303
The flood and erosion menace of recent years------------ 305
Floods .....--------------------------------- -. 306
Erosion-----------.----------------------- 308
Causes of accelerated erosion and floods ----------------- 314
Climate -------------------..-------------- 314
Soils ----------------- --------------- 315
Topography ---------------------------------- 315
Vegetation.---.------- .------------------- 316
Ownership or control of land as a contributing factor in
accelerating run-off and erosion -------------- 325
The economic and social consequence of accelerated run-off
erosion _---------.----------.------------------ 326
Soil fertility destroyed ----------------- 327
Irrigation water supply and improvements threatened_ 328
Costly floods---------------------------------- 335
Municipal watersheds --------------------------- 335
Water power depends on continuous stream flow------ 336
Recreation and wildlife resources imperiled----------- 336
"Black blizzards" of the plains spread destruction----- 336
Contrasting watershed and grazing values----------- 337
The way out-restoration---------------------------- 338
As a home for wildlife----------------------------- --- 341
The wildlife problem-------------------------------- 341
Wildlife a product of environment---------------------- 341
How reduction in range area and its depletion reduced
wildlife-.---...-----------------.------------.-. 342
Restriction of area available for wildlife-------------- 343






TABLE OF CONTENTS


V. Its social and economic function-Continued.
As a home for wildlife-Continued Page
Range depletion ------------------------------ 344
Other changes in habitat----------------------------- 346
Effect of environmental changes intensified by overutiliza-
tion of wildlife resource ----_-------------.--------_ 348
Reduced wildlife presents an important and neglected
problem -- -------------------------- 349
Defects in theories adopted in wildlife conservation ..--.-- 351
Wildlife not regarded as a crop--------------------- 351
Wildlife treated apart from environment --------.--. 352
Wildlife refuges not universal solution--------------- 353
Transplanting of wildlife -------------------------- 354
Lack of basic knowledge of wildlife a handicap------- 355
Wildlife administration not handled as a biological
problem ---------------_.. .------------ 355
Wildlife management under legal pattern self-defeat-
ing ----------.. ---------------...---------------- 355
Vital importance of environment proved by national-
forest experiment------------------------------ 355
Major problems in wildlife management----------------- 360
In supplying areas for recreation----_--------------------_ 363
The social need ----------------_.... --------- 363
Economic considerations----------------------------- 365
The elements of recreational value in the western range
States ----------------------------------.....-- 368
The lesson of the national parks and national forests------ 371
Future requirements-------------------------------- 376
As an integrated pait of western agriculture ------------------ 377
Introduction--------------__ ------ ------377
The magnitude of western agriculture -----------------. 378
Diverse patterns of western agriculture ----------------- 379
Specialized crop farming-------------------------- 379
Crop farming and range livestock grazing ----------_ 379
Regional characteristics of crop- and range-land agri-
culture --------------- ----- --- 386
Dependent population .. ------------------..------ 391
Metropolitan business centers ----------------------_ 393
Bonds between western agriculture and the Middle West
and South- .-- ---------------------------..... 393
Effects of maladjusted land uses and of range depletion__ 394
Dry farming or range husbandry ------------------- 394
Other maladjustments.--------------------------- 398
Effects of range depletion on integrated western agri-
culture ------------- ------------------ 400
Range land submarginal for private ownership----------- 411
Naturally low productive capacity of the range ------- 411
Drought or other climatic hazaras------------------ 412
Accessibility to market -------------------------- 412
Taxes and tax delinquency ------------------------ 413
Cost of restoration and rehabilitation. ------------- 414
Use of public range concealed submarginality-------- 414
Unsatisfactory social conditions-------------------- 415
Other considerations -------_-------------------- 415
Greater security possible from balanced agriculture ------- 415
The problem of integration of western agriculture --------- 418
VI. Program ---------------------------- ---------- 419
The probable future use and ownership of range lands--------- 421
The problems of use -------------------------------_ 421
The background -------------------------------- 421
The problem of uneconomically cropped land.-------- 422
The problem of coordinating range use with the national
agricultural-adjustment and land-use programs ----- 423
Other use adjustment problems -------------------- 423
The problems of private ownership-------------------- 424
Ownership pattern-causes, effects, and responsibility- 424
Why should the public be interested? -------------- 425
The solution must be a joint undertaking of private and
public ownership .....---------------------- -. 427






TABLE OF CONTENTS


VI. Program-Continued.
The probable future use and ownership of range lands-Con.
The problem of private ownership-Continued Page
The possible means of public assistance to strengthen
private range-land ownership-------------------- 427
Inadequacy of data prevents accurate determination of
size of problems---- --.------.----------------- 432
Estimated shifts in range lands submarginal for private
ownership... --------- ---_--------------- 433
The basis for estimating needed shifts from private to
public ownership..----------------------------- 433
Rating of opportunity for private management in
different forage types---------------------------- 436
Prospective public acquisition -------_------------ 438
Estimated shifts in private range lands with high public
values----------------------------------------- 440
To restore and conserve watershed values------------ 440
To protect wildlife .- __--------- ---------------- 444
To round out national forests and grazing districts --- 445
The net area to be acquired ------------------------ 445
Change in usable range area__---- ---------------- 446
Problems of public ownership--..--------------------- 447
The problem of unreserved Federal range lands ------- 447
The problem of State-owned range lands------------- 447
The problem of tax-reverted lands------------------ 447
Division of responsibility between States and Federal
Government in range-land ownership-- ---------- 448
The process of solution of ownership and use problems ...- 449
The administration of public range lands-------------------- 451
National forests and grazing-district lands--------------- 452
Multiple use of resources--..----------------------- 453
Range management ---------------------- ------ 455
Integration of public range lands with agriculture----- 457
Intermingled lands and isolated tracts-------------- 460
Boundary adjustments _----------------------- 462
Machinery of administration ..------------------- 462
Costs and returns------------------------------ 465
Unification of range administration in one department ---- 467
Correlation in administration__----------- -- 467
Why the Forest Service is in the Department of Agri-
culture .----------------- ----------------- 467
Relation of Federal range to other agricultural re-
sources -..----------------------------------- 468
Forest and range land management a function of agri-
culture ----------------- -------------------- 469
Functions of the Department of Agriculture---------- 470
Functions of the Department of the Interior_ -_---- 471
Department of Agriculture best fitted to administer
Federal forest and range lands------------------- 471
Program for Indian range land------------------------- 473
Range conservation------------------------------ 474
Machinery of range administration----------------- 475
Multiple use---------------------- ----- ------ 475
Range improvements-.----------------- ---------- 476
Net results of program .---_----.------------- ---- 477
State, county, and municipal range lands __---_-------- 477
Legislation needed--------------------------------- 481
Private ownership-land and livestock _------------------- 483
Present condition of private lands _--------------------- 483
What private and public agencies can do to stabilize private
ownership ---- -------------- -------------------- 483
Stewardship of land---.------.-------------------- 484
Submarginal lands .----------------- ---------- 485
Development of sound economic units -------------- 487
Inflationary land values_ --------------------- 491
Range management, animal husbandry, and game
management _--.------------ -------------. 492
Control of production ---_-----------------------. 495






XVI TABLE OF CONTENTS

VI. Program-Continued. Page
Private ownership-land and livestock-Continued.
What private and public agencies can do to stabilize private
ownership-Continued.
Markets--------------------------------- 496
Credits--------------------------------------- 496
Taxation--------------------------- --------- 497
Research and extension--------------------------- 498
Improving rural social and economic conditions----------- 498
The management of range lands-----------------------_-- 501
A program for domestic livestock production ----------- 503
Systems of grazing------------------------------- -- 503
Range rehabilitation-------------------------------- 504
Pests, diseases, and poisonous plant eradication----------- 506
Grazing capacity------------ ----------------------- 507
Proper season of use---------------------------...... 510
Class of stock------------------------------------- 511
Distribution of stock-------------------------------- 511
Need for management plans-------------------------- 513
Potential contribution from the range------------------ 514
A program for watershed protection-------------------- 515
Restoration during grazing use usually sufficient.---- 515
Artificial erosion control needed in some cases-------- 516
Responsibility for watershed protection------------- 517
A program for wildlife ------------5--_--_----------- 518
Jurisdictional problems-------- ------------------- 519
Refuges and santuaries------------------------- 519
A program for recreation ..--------------------. ------ 521
A program for forest ranges-------------------------- 522
Additional information-A basic need ----------------- 522
Research and extension program--------------------------- 523
Why range research and extension? ------------------ 523
Major lines of research required-------------------.. 524
Range management---------------------------- 524
Artificial revegetation------------------------ 5-527
Watershed management--------------------------- 528
Range economics-------------------------------- 529
Wildlife------------------ -------------------- 529
Animal husbandry------------------------------ 530
Entomology---------------------..........------- 530
Coordinated research-------------------------------- 530
Extension-------------------------------------- 531
Responsibility for and cost of research and extension re-
quired-------.. -----------.---------------------- 531
Present expenditures------------------------ 532
Proposed expenditures --------------------------- 533
Legislation and costs---------------------------------- 535
Problems requiring Federal legislative action------------ 535
Problems affecting public domain and grazing districts-- 535
Problems of transferring private lands to Federal
ownership---..._------___--- --------_-__ 538
Simplification of boundary changes ---------------- 541
Problems in Federal assistance to private owners --- 542
The problem of managing wildlife on Federal lands 544
Problems requiring State legislative action --------------- 544
The joint problem of State and Federal Governments to
work cooperatively---------------- ---------------- 548
Costs ---------------.------------------..- 548
The job on Federal lands------------------------. 549
The job on State and county lands----------------- 552
The job on private lands-------------.----.. ---.. 553
Research and extension-------------------------- 554
Literature cited-- -----------------------------------... 557
Appendix...----------------.._-- .-----------..----- 567
Southern forest ranges-------------- --------------------- 567
Alaska-.....--------- ---- ----------------------- 581
Range types---------------------------------------- 599
Range species referred to in the report----------.-------....---. 600
Index--- ----------------------------. ------------------- -. 605












I. THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS AND THEIR SOLUTION
A RESUME

By EABLE H. CLAPP, Associate Chief, Forest Service

The western range has never been fully and clearly recognized
as one of our great natural resources along with forests, soil, wildlife
coa, oil, iron, and other minerals._
It is not surprising, therefore, that the intrinsic value and im-
portance of the range resource to the West and to the entire country
has been seriously underestimated or entirely overlooked. Neither
is it surprising that the general public, many conservationists, and
even many western stockmen have no real appreciation of the ex-
tent to which the range has been neglected and abused, what the
consequences have been, and how these consequences have already
affected and will in the future continue to affect human welfare.
Outside of the range country the general public and even many
conservationists have gained much of what they know from fiction.
They have a hazy, distorted picture of the glamour of the cattle
country, of something far removed, unique, and picturesque which
they recognize as having colored all western thought and life.
The western stockman has been too close and too much a part of
all that has happened fully to grasp results, trends, and causes.
The changes in the resource, ordinarily deterioration, have often been
too insidious and too obscure to divert attention from what seemed
to be the immediate and compelling problems of livelihood under
strenuous competition which all too often in the early days became
open warfare. If he has known and cared, he has often been the
victim of circumstances over which, regardless of how he struggled,
he had little control. Or he has coupled his recognition with an
incorrigible optimism which counted on plentiful rains in the season
to come, or a turn in the market to make everything right in his
livestock business and also with the range itself.
Under such circumstances only the inspired leadership which has
stirred the public to action on some other resources could have been
effective, and such leadership has been conspicuously absent.
Piecemeal attacks on the range problem have been made in the
past, but this report has been prepared in the belief that only a com-
prehensive attack on the entire range problem will suffice. Many
conditions, forces, and problems are common to the entire western
range country. Only through consideration of the whole is it possi-
able to obtain a background and a grasp which will permit sound
and lasting remedial action.'
SThe report is based on a large amount of information already available In the Forest
Service, together with that which could be obtained readily from State, Federal, and
other agencies, and, where time permitted, by special surveys. Where exact informa-
tion was not available the best approximations possible under the circumstances have
been made. While great accuracy cannot be claimed for these it is believed that the
findings are substantially correct.
64946-36----2 1





THE WESTERN RANGE


Furthermore, such consideration must begin with the forage and
soil which constitute the range resource itself, take into account
their original and present condition, and how they have been and
should be used. It should extend into the now closely related crop
agriculture and devote at least passing notice to dependent or closely
related services and activities. It must, however, have human beings
and their permanent welfare as its chief concern and end objective.
Obviously no attempt could be made to cover all American agri-
culture of which western range and crop lands are a part. As the
broader problems of American agriculture are worked out, the solu-
tions will undoubtedly reflect into and modify in greater or less
degree the conclusions reached in this survey.
SThe western range is largely open and unfenced, with control of
stock by herding; where fenced; relatively large units are enclosed.


FIGURE 1.-THE RANGE AREA.
The 728 million-acre range area discussed in this report, roughly three-fourths of the
land area west of an irregular line extending south through the Dakotas to Mexico
and nearly 40 percent of the total land area of the United States, is an indication of
the magnitude of the range problem.
It supports with few exceptions only native grasses and other forage
plants, is never fertilized or cultivated, and can in the main be
restored and maintained only through control of grazing. It con-
sists almost exclusively of lands which, because of relatively meager
precipitation or other adverse climatic conditions, or rough topog-
raphy, or the lack of water for irrigation, cannot successfully be
used for any other form of agriculture.
In contrast, the improved pastures of the East and Middle West
receive an abundant precipitation, are ordinarily fenced, utilize
introduced forage species, follow cultivation for other crops, are
often fertilized to increase productivity, and are renewed following
deterioration.






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


The range area covered in this report lies to the west of an irregular
north and south line which cuts through the Dakotas, Nebraska,
Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas (fig. 1). The range area aggregates
some 728 million acres out of a total land area of 975 million acres.
Discussions of the southern and Alaskan ranges are included in the
appendix.
The Forest Service is charged with the responsibility for the
administration of some 88 million acres of grazable land within
the western national forests, of which 94 percent is available for
livestock. The national forest ranges are a much more important
link in the western range problem than their acreage alone indicates.
The impact upon their administration of a group of increasingly
serious problems growing out of other range lands in the public
domain, in the grazing districts now being formed under the provi-
sions of the Taylor Grazing Act, and in private and in State or other
public ownerships, as well as problems in the closely related crop
agriculture, has forced the survey which has resulted in this report.
Such action has been essential in order to safeguard the fundamental
conservation principles which underlie national forest administra-
tion and even the integrity of the national forests themselves.
MAJOR FINDINGS

There is perhaps no darker chapter nor greater tragedy in the his-
tory of land occupancy and use in the United States than the story
of the western range. First it was "the Great American Desert", a
vast and trackless waste, a barrier to the gold fields. Unexpectedly
and almost overnight it became the potential source of great wealth
from livestock grazing. And therein lies the key to the story. All
of the major findings which constitute the first part of this discus-
sion have their origin in the effort to capitalize this wealth and
convert it to human use.

SERIOUS RANGE DEPLETION PRACTICALLY UNIVERSAL

The major finding of this report-at once the most obvious and
obscure-is range depletion so nearly universal under all conditions
of climate, topography, and ownership that the exceptions serve
only to prove the rule.
The existing range area has been depleted no less than 52ere
from its vir in condition, usingde pletion the sense of reaction
in grazin capacity for domestic livestock. Practicall this means
that a range once capab e of supporting 22.5 million animal units 2
can now carry only 10.8 mill.o--
On nearly 55 percent of the entire range area, forage values have
been reduced by more than half.
S1 animal unit as used in the report is 1 cow, horse, or mule, or 5 sheep, goats, or
swine.






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


The range area covered in this report lies to the west of an irregular
north and south line which cuts through the Dakotas, Nebraska,
Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas (fig. 1). The range area aggregates
some 728 million acres out of a total land area of 975 million acres.
Discussions of the southern and Alaskan ranges are included in the
appendix.
The Forest Service is charged with the responsibility for the
administration of some 88 million acres of grazable land within
the western national forests, of which 94 percent is available for
livestock. The national forest ranges are a much more important
link in the western range problem than their acreage alone indicates.
The impact upon their administration of a group of increasingly
serious problems growing out of other range lands in the public
domain, in the grazing districts now being formed under the provi-
sions of the Taylor Grazing Act, and in private and in State or other
public ownerships, as well as problems in the closely related crop
agriculture, has forced the survey which has resulted in this report.
Such action has been essential in order to safeguard the fundamental
conservation principles which underlie national forest administra-
tion and even the integrity of the national forests themselves.
MAJOR FINDINGS

There is perhaps no darker chapter nor greater tragedy in the his-
tory of land occupancy and use in the United States than the story
of the western range. First it was "the Great American Desert", a
vast and trackless waste, a barrier to the gold fields. Unexpectedly
and almost overnight it became the potential source of great wealth
from livestock grazing. And therein lies the key to the story. All
of the major findings which constitute the first part of this discus-
sion have their origin in the effort to capitalize this wealth and
convert it to human use.

SERIOUS RANGE DEPLETION PRACTICALLY UNIVERSAL

The major finding of this report-at once the most obvious and
obscure-is range depletion so nearly universal under all conditions
of climate, topography, and ownership that the exceptions serve
only to prove the rule.
The existing range area has been depleted no less than 52ere
from its vir in condition, usingde pletion the sense of reaction
in grazin capacity for domestic livestock. Practicall this means
that a range once capab e of supporting 22.5 million animal units 2
can now carry only 10.8 mill.o--
On nearly 55 percent of the entire range area, forage values have
been reduced by more than half.
S1 animal unit as used in the report is 1 cow, horse, or mule, or 5 sheep, goats, or
swine.






THE WESTERN RANGE


Of the four classes used in evaluating the degree of depletion, ma-
terial (26-50 percent) and severe (51-75 percent) are most extensive,
as shown by fig. 2 and table 3, each covering more than one-third of
the total range area. Extreme (76-100 percent) covers a little more
than 15 percent, and moderate (0-25 percent) somewhat less.


FIGURE 2.-RANGE DEPLETION CLASSES.
Of the depletion classes, material (26-50 percent) and severe (51-75 percent) cover
more than seven-tenths of the entire range area. Nearly 120 million acres is in the
extreme (76-100 percent) depletion class, and of the 95 million acres in the moderate
(0-25 percent) depletion class probably not more than half is in a thoroughly satis-
factory condition.
The depletion consists of the disappearance largely or altogether
from many parts of the range of such valuable forage plants as the
bluebunch wheatgrass, the giant wild-rye, ricegrass, dropseed, saca-
ton, and California oatgrass. It consists of the replacement of
palatable and nutritious plants such as prairie beardgrass and sand-






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


grass by the unpalatable sand sagebrush and yucca, wild-rye by
greasewood, winterfat by shadscale and rabbitbrush. It consists
also of the replacement of perennial grasses by much less nutritious
annual grasses and weeds. It consists of the invasion of foreign
plants, such as the worthless star thistle in California, the nearly
worthless Russian thistle now found everywhere, the poisonous Kla-
math weed, and only a few of limited value, such as cheatgrass for


TYPE AREA DEPLETION


Tall Grass----

Short Grass
Pacific
Bunchgrass-- --
Semidesert
Grass------ ---
Sagebrush-
Grass
Southern
Desert Shrub ___
Salt-Desert
Shrub__ -- .---

Piion-Juniper
Woodland-
Chaparral -


Open Forestsj TII1 I

200 150 100 50 0 25 50 75
MILLION ACRES PERCENT

FIGUis 3.-AREA AND DEPLETION OF THE RANGE TYPES.
All range types except two are depleted by half or more. Of the two, tall grass is small
in area and reflects especially favorable conditions, and the open forest benefits from a
large area under national forest management.

only a few weeks each year, and the alfileria of southern Arizona
and California, for a few weeks in wet years.
Still further, depletion consists of marked reduction in density of
the better forage plants, with the perennial gramas and fescues as
an example. The ordinarily desirable thickening of forests by re-
production and the expansion of brush areas has to some extent also
reduced the space for forage plants.
What is true of the range as a whole is also true of the 10 broad
types (figs. 25, 30, and 34) into which it has been divided for the
purposes of this report, as shown in table 1 and figure 3.


rYPYY YX*X m A


lWMi







6 THE WESTERN RANGE

TABLE 1.-Area of range types and forage depletion

Types Areas Depletion

1,000 acres Percent
Tall grass----.. ---.---------.--------.---- -----------. 18, 513 21
Short grass --...--.............. .--------.. ---.. ---.. ------------------. 198, 092 49
Pacific bunchgrass-............---------------...-....------------...------ 42,534 51
Semidesert grass........... .............. ...-----------------------------------. 89,274 55
Sagebrush grass-.............------------.. -----.. ............ .. .. .............-. 96,528 67
Southern desert shrub----.. ...............------------- ---------------- 26,896 62
Salt-desert shrub ...--......-----...-- .........--....---. ------------------ 40, 858 71
Pifion-juniper .....-----..-.......---.... -------------------------........ 75, 728 60
Woodland-chaparral-...---------------------................ ---..... ----------.. 13, 406 50
Open forest............................---------------------..----------.. 126,367 33
Total.........-----------........--------- ---..-.---..-....... 728, 196 52

I Does not include 1,217,000 acres in national parks.

The salt-desert shrub type, reduced by 71 percent, and the tall
grass, by 21 percent, constitute the extremes. Furthermore, nearly
three-fourths of the tall-grass type is in the moderate depletion
class, and nine-tenths of the area of the salt-desert shrub is in the


OWNERSHIP AREA DEPLETION

Federal
National Forests
SPublic Domain&
Grazing Districts -

Other....

Indian Lands. -

State and County

Private .-


400 300 200 100 0 25 50 75
MILLION ACRES PERCENT


FIGUiRE 4.-AREA AND DEPLETION BY OWNERSHIPS.
Ranges of all ownerships and forms of control except the national forests have been
depleted by half or more. The national forests 30 years ago were probably in even
worse condition than the public domain then was because of the comparative abundance
of water on the national forests and of the general shortage of summer range.

severe- and extreme-depletion classes. The salt-desert shrub, sage-
brush grass, southern-desert shrub, and pifion-juniper ranges now
rate about a third of the virgin range.
The reductions in productivity are all the more staggering
because of the magnitude of the areas involved.
Ownership, first nearly all Federal, has become more than half
private (table 2 and fig. 4).






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


TABLE 2.-Range areas and depletion by ownerships

Deple- Area avail-
Ownership or control Range area Dte- able for
range use

Federal: 1,000 acres Percent Percent 1,000 acres
National forests--....--- ..........--------... -.. ------ 87,954 12 30 82, 538
Public domain, grazing districts-..---.. -- -----.-------- 127,792 17 67 127,792
Indian lands..--...- ---------------------------- 48, 391 7 51 48, 391
Other.... --........-......--- -..------.. -----..---- 22,997 3 63 21,599
State and county......---- .....-------.------------------ 65,516 9 49 65,084
Private---...................... ...-------------------------- 375,546 52 51 375,546
TotaL ................----------------..----------- 728,196 100 52 720,950

As might be expected, both ownership, and the form of control
within ownership, have had a marked influence on depletion. The


OWNERSHIP UPGRADE OR UNCHANGED DOWNGRADE

Federal
National Forests
Public Domain and
Grazing Districts--.

Other.....---

Indian Lands-----

State and County---

Private ----- ----- -

All Ownerships ._- ---

100 75 50 25 0 25 50 75 100
TOTAL AREA IN OWNERSHIP (PERCENT)

FIGLuRa 5.-DEPLETION TRENDS OF THE LAST 30 YEARS.
The contrast between the national forests and other forms of ownership or control is in
essence a contrast between an attempt at range conservation and practically unre-
stricted use.

Federal public domain, a no man's land without management prior
to the creation of the grazing districts, is in the worst condition, with
depletion of 67 percent. Very surprisingly, fee-simple private own-
ership has been so little of an incentive to the preservation of the
range resource that depletion stands at 51 percent. Indian, State,
and county holdings have fared no better than private lands. Na-
tional-forest ranges make the best showing, but despite 30 years'
management are still 30 percent below virgin conditions.
Whether range conditions are on the up or down grade may be
even more significant than the extent of present depletion. Here
also the public domain has the blackest record, with nearly 95 per-
cent of the total area depreciating during the last 30 years and only
2 percent improving (fig. 5). Over three-fourths of the national-






8 THE WESTERN RANGE

forest range has improved during the same period and only 5 per-
cent has declined. For all other ownerships, largely private lands,
from 75 to 88 percent have declined and 7 to 10 percent improved
in value. Of all classes of ownership and forms of control only
the national forests show any appreciable gain in range conditions.
In a nutshell, the white man's toll of the western range for 50
years, or for less than 100 at the outside, is reduced grazing capacity
of more than half. Still further, 76 percent of the entire range has
declined appreciably during the last 30 years and only 16 percent
has improved (fig. 6).
The virgin range was characterized by wide differences in its vege-
tation because of marked climatic, soil, topographic, and other varia-
tions to be expected in an area of such size. The vegetation ranged
all the way from the dense sod of the tall-grass prairies with grass
under the most favorable conditions as high as a horse's back, to the

TREND RANGE AREA



Upgrade -

Stationary_

Downgrade-

0 200 400 600
MILLION ACRES

FIGURE 6.-THIRTY-YEAR TRENDS IN RANGE CONDITION.
Range resource history of the last 30 years may be summed up in continuing depletion
of more than three-fourths of the entire area, but improvement on less than one-sixth.
low, sparse, scattered clumps of the southern desert shrub. But
nearly all ranges produced an abundance of palatable and nutritious
plants suitable for pasturage, many of which held their values in
curing on the stem.
Before white settlement, the range was used only by game, the
great numbers of which are attested by the reports of all the early
explorers. Despite these numbers and climatic cycles, and drought
periods which were undoubtedly as severe as 'any of recent years, the
range did maintain itself, except for natural variation and for local-
ized and temporary overgrazing, and would have continued to do so
if the white man had not upset its natural and fairly stable equilib-
rium. Truly, man has shown less wisdom and vision in the use of
the range resource than did uncontrolled nature. His greatest
achievement seems to have been the removal of the natural checks
and balances which had maintained the virgin range over thousands
of years.






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS 9

DEPLETION RESULTED FROM A FEW OUTSTANDING CAUSES
FROM THE TRADITIONAL AMERICAN ATTITUDE
A second major finding is a clarification of the causes of the
deterioration and destruction of the range. Outstanding among the
causes has been the traditional American attitude toward all natural
resources. The exuberance of the American spirit has manifested
itself, among other ways, in the lavish use of all the great natural
resources with which the United States has been so richly endowed.
The philosophy of inexhaustibility and its corollary that no pro-
vision need be made for either wise use or perpetuation has been
almost universal, and as a result all have been wasted or destroyed
with all the resourcefulness and ingenuity of a virile people. Other
eo les have destroyed their natural resources but none have shown
Sienc the process. Lke st other resources, the
range seemed or years it was free and an enormous area
st i. To a greater or less extent livestock grazing was once re-
garded as a transitional phase of land use which would lead to a
more intensive development, and this minimized the need for care
of the resource. To the western stockman livestock production has
been very largely a business in which for one reason or another
profit has been the compelling motive. Immediate profit loomed
so large that care and restraint seemed far-fetched and visionary.
For such reasons as these the conservation of the forage and soil
resource has been largely in the background. It should be recog-
nized that most of the other causes of depletion outlined hereafter
go back fundamentally to this traditional attitude.
FROM RULE-OF-THUMB MANAGEMENT
The American immigrant brought with him a traditional knowl-
edge of crop agriculture worked out over many centuries under com-
parable European conditions. The western pioneer frequently had
the background of adaptations of this knowledge to American con-
ditions following years of trial in the East and Middle West.
To the western pioneer, however, the grazing of the western range
was an entirely new form of agriculture. Its use by two or three
generations of stockmen has afforded far too short a time to develop
satisfactory management by large-scale trial and error. The com-
plex biological relationships between plants themselves, between
plants, climate, and soils, and between forage and grazing animals
were beyond the ken of the range user.
Despite this, however, the resourceful and self-reliant stockman
felt absolute confidence in his own ability to meet all requirements,
and he neither asked for nor, except in a minor degree, received
the benefits of research into range-management problems, the only
other means of acquiring the necessary information. Research in
consequence has been meager, has among Federal agencies been
concentrated largely in three bureaus of the Department of Agri-
culture, has at the State agricultural experiment stations dealt
largely with animal husbandry and range economics, and has in
general lagged far behind requirements.
In the complex problem which we are more and more recognizing
range use to be, and without the benefits of technical knowledge, the
stockman has inevitably gone seriously wrong.






THE WESTERN RANGE


Lacking a sound basis for judging grazing capacity he has over-
stocked the range almost from the start. How else explain the
depletion of the range as a whole by more than half ? Climate is the
only other possible explanation, and there is more evidence that the
western climate has not changed than that it has. Furthermore,
there are many specific examples of well-managed ranges on which
forage conditions have improved, while adjacent overstocked ranges
with identical climate have deteriorated.
After taking into account supplemental feeds and irrigated pas-
tures, which supported 17 percent of the range livestock in 1900 and
38 percent in 1935, the number on range lands reached peaks of
approximately 19.9 and 20.7 million animal units in 1900 and 1920,
respectively. Since 1920 there has been a declining tendency, with a
sharp drop to about 17.3 million animal units in 1935, a reduction of
about 17 percent since 1920.
The range portion of the Plains States, the 11 far Western States
as a group, and most of them separately, show similar downward
trends from different peak years.



LIVESTOCK NOW ON RANGE


PRESENT GRAZING CAPACITY



0 6 12 18
MILLION ANIMAL UNITS

FIGURE 7.-EXCESSIVE STOCKING
Excessive stocking has been one of the prime factors in range depletion, and until about
6.5 million animal units of surplus stock are removed the range will continue on the
downgrade.
The downward trends do not in themselves tell the whole story,
because many herds are being carried on a bare maintenance basis by
subsisting chiefly on low-value plants. Overgrazing for an extended
period destroys the choicest range species first, and the livestock turn
progressively to the poorer and poorer plants which, although grazed,
are not as nutritious as the original vegetation. Accordingly the
full extent of damage to the range often has not been fully reflected
in decreased grazing capacity. Overgrazing has left its earmarks
in the scarcity of the choicest range plants and the predominance of
low-value and worthless plants, in dead or partly dead stumps or
stubby branches of shrubs, in noticeable damage to tree reproduction,
and in erosion and barren soil. Such earmarks are now conspicuous
on several hundred million acres of range lands and particularly
on those depleted in excess of 50 percent.
If any other evidence of excessive stocking is required it is neces-
sary only to compare the 17.3 million animal units dependent on the
range in 1935 with the estimated grazing capacity of 10.8 million
animal units (fig. 7). In other words, it would be necessary to





THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


reduce present stocking by nearly 38 percent to meet the actual graz-
ing capacity. Even humid pastures could not stand up under such
abuse; it is far too much to expect of semiarid ranges.
But the evidence of overstocking does not stop even here. Aver-
age annual death losses on overstocked and overgrazed ranges of
as much as 9 percent among sheep and 5 to 7 percent among cattle
are practically double the losses under conservative grazing and
good feed. Calf crops on overstocked, overgrazed ranges are often
only a half or two-thirds of what they are under good conditions.
Other specific evidence, historical and otherwise, of overstocking
and depletion, could be multiplied almost indefinitely.
And overstocking is only one, and the most serious, of the de-
fective rule-of-thumb forms of management which have hastened
and accentuated depletion. Poor distribution of livestock, concen-
tration on key areas such as mountain meadows and around water-
ing places, grazing at the wrong time of year, faulty balance between
classes of animals and type of range, grazing two or more classes
on ranges already overstocked with one, have contributed in varying
degree and very largely in the aggregate.
When the stockman realized what rule-of-thumb practices were
doing to the range, he often was, or thought he was, under the
compulsion of other causes which stayed his hand.
FROM AN UNSOUND LAND POLICY

A national land policy unsuited to the semiarid and mountain
grazing lands of the West has been still another major cause in the
depletion of the range forage. This policy has grown out of such
factors as:
1. Belief in universal private ownership of land and the attempt
to pass as much land as possible to private ownership regardless of
its character.
2. In this attempt, the practically unmodified application to the
radically different semiarid West of land laws suited to the humid
East and Middle West.
3. The failure to classify land as a basis for alienation according
to the economic suitablility for private ownership or to its highest
form of use.
4. The character of the interpretation and administration of the
land laws.
The first alienation to private ownership occurred in the Southwest
before American acquisition, as Spanish and Mexican land grants,
and amounted to more than 45 million acres. These grants were
based on the philosophy of a landed aristocracy rather than that of
democratic equality, which was one fundamental basis of American
land disposal. Although averaging several thousand acres each,
they have not generally resulted in good range management and
are depleted almost as badly as the surrounding lands.
Homesteading in the West dates back largely to the homestead
ltlaw of 1862. More liberal amendments and new laws have included
ie enlarged homestead law of 1909, the Kinkaid Act of 1904, and
finally the stockraising homestead law of 1916.
Neither the maximum of 640 acres available under the stockraising
law nor the 160 acres under the original Homestead Act offered the





THE WESTERN RANGE


remotest possibility of supporting a family under range use. The
attempt at classification, made under the Stockraising Act, finally
listed practically everything short of absolute desert. The inef-
fectiveness of the classification has been partly responsible for
abandonment before the passage of title of some 28 million acres
out of the 68 million acres entered. Under the Homestead Acts up
to 1935, 1.4 million entries were made for nearly 240 million acres,
a substantial part of which was in the range country and more than
half of the western homestead area was range land.
Railroad and wagon-road grants, totaling more than 101 million
gp acres of odd-numbered sections of range and other lands, checker-
K A boarded wide strips across the West and further complicated range
+ use and contributed to depletion. The railroad land policy has
been to cash in as fast as possible by sale, and about 65 million
acres of range land, mostly in small tracts, has gone into other
7 private ownership, leaving more than 19 million acres of the poorest
grant land unsold, most of it range, and in the original checkerboard
pattern. For this their policy has generally been to get the maxi-
mum current revenue through leasing. Most of the railroads have
recently reversed this policy, however, and are working toward some
stable and orderly use of the range resource which they still retain.
Texas retained its public lands and has based its land-disposal
policy on that of the Federal Government, except that considerably
larger areas have gone to single owners. Depletion has, however,
been much the same as on smaller private holdings.
Federal grants to the other western States were for common
schools, institutions, and internal improvements. Through selection
C under institutional grants and by use of the various lieu-selection
laws there has been considerable consolidation. Most State land
was, however, in scattered sections. It has been sold where the legal
7 price could be obtained, and the remaining area leased for the maxi-
mum current revenue. These lands have been handled by agencies
whose primary function was disposal and revenue collection, and in
no instance by agricultural agencies. A total of about 33 million
acres has gone into private ownership. Since stockmen have fol-
lowed their own inclinations in the handling of leased State lands,
the extent of depletion is practically identical with that on lands
in private ownership.
S The 149.4 million acres of range land available for grazing left
in the public domain, grazing districts, and other withdrawals is
the poorest west of the Mississippi. It is the land which for its
i surface rights no one would take as a gift or purchase under the
7 homestead or other land laws. Much of it is badly scattered. Open
without restriction or restraint to all or to any who could take or
S hold, no other class of range land has suffered more seriously. Along
J with nearly three-fourths of the forage has often gone the top soil
on which future recovery must depend.
The sum total of the effects of past land policy on range land has
been:
1. A crazy-quilt ownership pattern, such as that shown in figures
63 and 64, made up of several hundred thousand small farm or
ranch units, widely scattered State holdings and railroad lands,
the foreclosures of insurance and investment companies, banks, etc.,
isolated Federal public domain tracts, and State and county tax-





THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS 13

delinquent lands-all of this almost impossible to handle effectively
because of size or surrounding holdings and leading inevitably to
overgrazing, depletion, and social and economic instability of the
dependent population.
2. The passage to private ownership of an enormous area of land,
the size of which is not yet accurately known, that is either sub-
marginal even for range use by private operators because of low
productivity, etc., or has high public values such as watershed pro-
tection which are difficult or impossible for private owners to
maintain.
3. The passage to private ownership and encouragement of dry
and other farming of some 50 million acres of relatively good range
land that is submarginal for crops. Nearly 25 million acres have
already been abandoned for cultivation and at least 11 million acres
additional constitute acute problem areas. On all of this area the
range has been destroyed and will be of little use for years to come
unless reseeded.
4. The passage to private ownership of key areas, such as water
holes, giving control of very much larger areas of public land, and
as spring range of which there is a serious shortage.
5. Tax delinquency on the ranges submarginal for private owner-
ship, and delinquency on and abandonment of the dry-farming areas
which the meager data available indicates to be excessive.
6. Depletion so serious that decades of time and enormous ex-
penditures will be required for restoration, not only of the range
which has passed to private ownership but also of that outside of
the national forests which has remained in public ownership.
Among the favorable features of Federal-land policy from the
standpoint of range depletion has been the creation of the national
forests, and the belated provision for a better handling of the Indian
lands and a part of the public domain.
FROM FINANCIAL HANDICAPS

One of the greatest financial handicaps of the western stockman
in comparison with his middle-western competitor is a serious freight
and marketing differential. On an 1,100-pound steer, for example,
Illinois has an advantage in the Chicago market over Idaho of,*
nearly $8.50, and over Nebraska of about $2.85 (fig. 8). The out-
standing competitive opportunity which the western stockman has
to offset this handicap is cheap feed from natural ranges. On the
average range feed worth $1 or less will support an animal satisfac-
torily as long as hay or other supplemental feed costing $5 to $10
or even more (fig. 9).
Instead of maintaining fully this natural advantage of cheap
range feed, however, the western stockman has ordinarily followed
one, or usually more, of three other courses which have actually
increased his handicap. In all of these he has tried to carry too
many stock. Hoping to reduce costs of production he has over-
grazed and destroyed his cheap range feed. He has bought crop
lands and grown and used excessive amounts of high-cost hay and
other supplemental feeds. He has purchased range lands often un-
der competitive conditions which have inflated values, increased his
capital investments, and hence the costs of production.






THE WESTERN RANGE


The investment in land in the livestock industry is so high in many
cases that the livestock or converting part of the enterprise cannot
earn a profit. Overcapitalization in land supplemented by the leas-
ing of land in competition, the purchase or growing of relatively
costly supplemental feed, and exorbitant interest on borrowed funds
have all contributed to high production costs. In Montana, for
example, the ratio of investment in land, improvements, etc., to the
ewe value per head was 0.5 to 1 in 1890, but had increased to 4.7 to
1 in 1932. In an attempt to restore the balance between land and
herd investments and to reduce production costs, stockmen have
ordinarily increased their herds and overstocked and depleted their
ranges.
Unfavorable credit facilities have added to the financial difficul-
ties of the livestock producer. Boom credit has been so easy that it
has almost been forced on him and has contributed to overexpansion
in both land and herds. During depressions when he has most
needed credit it was difficult or impossible to obtain, and he has had
to dump stock on glutted markets or frequently to hold them on
ranges already seriously overstocked.

STATE MARKETING COST


Illinois ----....

Nebraska_

Idaho- -- -

0 3 6 9 12
DOLLARS

FIGURE 8.-THE MARKETING DIFFERENTIAL.
Marketing costs, mainly freight, are one of the most serious financial handicaps of nearly
all the range country. Idaho's handicap over Illinois in the Chicago market of nearly
$8.50 on an 1,100-pound steer, can be met successfully only by some decided compensa-
tory advantage.
Beyond this, loans have been predicated almost entirely on live-
stock as the basic resource without taking into account the range
upon which they fed, and this again has contributed to overstocking
and range deterioration. Short-term loans at interest rates often as
high as 91/2 or 10 percent have increased costs, reduced profits, and
added to the hazards of the enterprise and its disregard of the basic
range.
Widely fluctuating markets from year to year and almost from
week to week, have capped the climax of their financial difficulties.
Depressed and glutted markets in particular have helped to keep
stock on the range where already numbers were far in excess of
what it could support.
Accordingly the financial and market set-up of the stockman has
always been difficult and sometimes almost impossible. That this






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS 15

situation has always borne hardest on the holder of land submarg-
inal for private ownership, the user of badly depleted range, and the
unit which was uneconomic because it was too large or too small,
or was poorly balanced between range and crop land, and between
land and herd, requires no proof.
With the financial cards stacked against him to a greater or less
extent the range user has made the fatal mistake of trying to break
even by crowding more stock on the range. As a result the range
deteriorated still more rapidly and this in turn accentuated his
financial handicap.
In this involved and ordinarily adverse situation the stockman
has not been entirely a free agent. His course of action may not
have been sufficiently aggressive and constructive and he undoubted-
ly failed to appreciate or may have seriously underestimated the
bearing of it all on his basic resource and what the end result would
be. However, in part at least, he has been the victim of circum-
stances far beyond his own control.

FEED COST



Supplemental__


Range -

0 2 4 6 8 10
DOLLARS

FIGURE 9.-CHEAP RANGE FEED THE ANSWER.
Cheap range feed, the one best answer to the marketing differential, has unfortunately
been largely lost under unrestricted grazing, practically universal depletion, and ex-
cessive use of the several times more expensive supplemental feeds.
FROM THE CLIMATE

Last, but not least, among the primary causes of depletion is the
climate.
Precipitation in the western range country averages less than 15 9 :-
inches, or only about one-third that of the East. Excepting the .
higher mountain areas, it varies from about 15 inches in the short-
grass plains to less than 5 inches in the southern-desert shrub type
of the Mohave-Gila Desert of the Southwest.
For single years or, often, for groups of years it falls below the
average. An extreme of 2 to 4 years out of 10 are drought years
over much of the Southwest. Severe droughts often lasting several
years have occurred over much of the West in every decade since
1880.





THE WESTERN RANGE


The volume of range forage produced depends upon climate and
especially upon the amount of precipitation. At the extreme, the
reduction in forage production in very dry as compared with favor-
able years may reach over 90' percent in the semidesert grass and
southern desert shrub types in New Mexico and Arizona. Over
large areas the fluctuation may be as much as 80 percent in succes-
sive years. Under even the most favorable climatic conditions the
recovery in production is not complete in a single year, and under
average conditions probably requires from 3 to 5 years. Under
adverse conditions it requires still longer.
Neither the climate nor the amount of precipitation can be con-
trolled by man, but the numbers of stock on the range can. The
almost universal failure to vary the numbers of stock with such fluc-
tuations in the amount of forage produced, or to stock below pro-
duction in average years, has been one of the primary causes of
depletion. For example, from 3 to 10 times as many valuable forage
plants died during the 1931-35 drought on heavily grazed as on
adjoining lightly grazed areas in western Utah and southwestern
Wyoming. The records show steadily increasing numbers of live-
stock on the range over entire States during periods of declining
precipitation and hence decreasing forage stand, until the severity
of the drought and the scarcity of the feed compelled drastic reduc-
tions in numbers by forced sales or by high starvation losses. Such
catastrophes have occurred in most Western States during every
severe drought period of the last 50 years, including that of 1934,
when the distress was alleviated only by Federal livestock pur-
chases which reached the staggering total of more than 11 million
head of cattle, sheep, and goats, at a cost exceeding $100,000,000.
This was more than one-sixth of the total number of beef cattle,
sheep, and goats in the 17 Western States on January 1, 1934.
RANGE USE AN INTEGRAL PART OF WESTERN AGRICULTURE

The growing of domestic livestock on open ranges, their produc-
tion on fenced pastures, and the production of farm products on cul-
tivated land are merely different phases of agriculture. But the ex-
tent to which range use is related to and, in fact, an integral part of
western agriculture is another major finding of this report.
Range use by domestic livestock in the West probably began in
New Mexico about 20 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth.
It was not until nearly 280 years later, with the cattle boom of the
eighties, that heavy use over large territories became a major factor
in range depletion. Cattle and sheep had increased to an early peak
in California about 1875. From 1870 to 1880 all the other Western
and, especially, the Plains States showed exceedingly rapid increases
in number of cattle. Texas chiefly, with more than 4.5 million cattle
during the seventies, supplied the other Plains States. Sheep spread
rapidly over the western ranges between 1890 and 1910.
Irrigated crops as an adjunct to range use were grown along the
Rio Grande from about 1700 on. Even in the 1850's during the early
stages of the range livestock industry, which at first was almost
wholly pastoral, crop farming began in California and Utah. The
first homestead patent was granted in 1869 in Nebraska. The cut-






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS 17

ting of native hay began in the seventies. In parts of Idaho range
livestock grazing proved very difficult until crop agriJo-
duced the feed needed to carry stock through the wn
Beginnin in 1910 large irrigation projects have been an impor-
tant factor in furnishing supplemental feed and concentrates for
feeding and fattening range livestock. The 242,908 farm units and
93,797,000 acres of land in farms in the 11 far Western States in
1900 had by 1930 more than doubled in number of units and in
acreage.
In sum, grazing, which at the beginning was largely an inde-
pendent and pastoral enterprise, and which after a long, slow start
expanded ahead of and more rapidly than crop agriculture, has now
become vitally dependent upon crop production. The latter also
started early but has grown more slowly, and reached large propor-
tions several decades later.
The combined range and crop agriculture now constitutes a sub-
stantial part of the total wealth of the West. The 1930 census values
western farm lands and buildings, and farm and range livestock,
machinery, etc. (including privately owned range and excluding irri-
gation improvements), at more than 12.9 billion dollars, or 23 per-
cent of the comparable total for the United States. Western crop
products for the same year were worth over 1.5 billion dollars and
livestock products nearly 480 million dollars. In addition to beef
and mutton, hides, etc., the range territory produced 75 percent of
the 1930 national production of wool and mohair, or more than 276
million pounds, valued at more than 82 million dollars.
Except for the highly specialized crop farming, mostly on irri-
gated land, and producing such products as fruits and nuts, the
agriculture of the West is primarily an integration of, range live-
stock grazing and crop farming.
Out of several hundred thousand separate enterprises no two per-
haps are quite alike. They vary from the one extreme of operations
consisting entirely of range lands used for livestock production, which
purchase from crop farmers the supplemental and fattening feeds
they use, to the other extreme of units devoted exclusively to crop
farming for the production of grain or other cash crops, where the
direct tie with the range is confined to sales of supplemental feed
or the leasing of irrigated pasture. In between are innumerable
combinations and variations of range lands used for livestock grazing
and crop lands used to provide supplemental feed for range livestock
and for many different kinds of cash crops.
Land tenure differs fully as much, from the rapidly vanishing
tramp sheepman who owns no range and leases little, to the baronial
operator who owns outright the range and crop lands which support
his stock throughout the year. In size, ownership may be as small
as 5 or 10 acres of crop land, or as large as the 500,000-acre ranch,
largely range, but with some crop land.
Cattle, sheep, horses, and other livestock and the meat, wool, and
other materials of which they are the source, are clearly, therefore,
the products of range lands only in part. The diversified products
of croplands-various cereals, corn, sugar beets, cotton, flax, sor-
ghums, hay, pasturage, etc.-return cash income only in part.
Whether sold or used directly in feeding they now constitute no less
64946-36-3





THE WESTERN RANGE


than 35 percent of the feed required for western range livestock
(fig. 10).
Each major region of the West has its distinctive agricultural pat-
tern and form of integration of range and croplands, dominated
mainly by climate and topography, but partly also by economic con-
ditions and tradition. These are described in detail in the report
and repetition here would only serve to illustrate still further the tie
between range and cropland use which is already apparent.
Western agriculture is the direct source of livelihood for over 1
million farm and ranch families, the principal support for another
million families in rural towns, and the indirect support for a large
part of the remaining population of the West. Its contributions
extend from the farms and ranches through the small and exclusively
agricultural communities to the larger supply towns and the metro-

LIVESTOCK ON
YEAR LIVESTOCK ON RANGE
OTHER FEED


1890___


1935


100 80 60 40 20 0 20 40
ANIMAL UNITS (PERCENT)

FIGURE 10.-INCREASING INTEGRATION OF RANGE AND CROP AGRICULTURE
A threefold 45-year increase in the percentage of numbers of livestock on supplemental
feeds and irrigated pastures is a salient point in the increasing integration of western
range and cropland agriculture.
politan centers. The grocer, druggist, miner, mechanic, lumberman,
and banker, the stockyards, the railroads, and other transportation
services, in fact every western activity which forms a part of the
complex, interrelated, interdependent structure of modern civiliza-
tion has its stake in a permanently prosperous and stable agriculture.
The somewhat arbitrary eastern boundary of the range country is
no limitation, however, on the tie of its agriculture with the agricul-
tural and other industries and activities of the remainder of the
United States. The western ranges furnish feeder and stocker cattle
in large numbers to the Midwest, thereby offering the opportunity
for diversification of farm products and for turning slack time into
cash. Both the Midwest and the South sell large quantities of
shelled corn, other grains, and cottonseed meal and cake to the West.
The range country and the Middle West compete in supplying the
eastern consumer with various livestock products. And these are
only a few obvious forms of the tie between the West and the East
in which western range and cropland and their products play so
conspicuous a part.






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS 19

SERIOUS SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC LOSSES
The only way to measure the value of the range is by the social
and economic yardstick, the losses from mismanagement and abuse,
and the contrasting benefits from wise use. The character and ex-
tent of such losses and benefits constitute another major finding
of this report.
Close integration of range and cropland use carries with it an
equally close dependence. Maladjustments or deterioration or de-
struction in either one inescapably reacts upon the other. The
problems of one are inevitably the problems of the other. What
benefits one benefits both. The free play of economic forces has
gone so far in the welding process that it is impossible to escape the
fundamental soundness of this relationship.

IN LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION AND RELATED CROP AGRICULTURE

Most spectacular among the maladjustments in range land use,
because of both the originality and daring of the attempt and the
completeness of the failure, has been the effort to use it in dry-land
farming. As indicated, the attempt has covered a total of over"-.
50 million acres, about half of which has been abandoned for culti- -
vation, much of it even before going to patent. Many of the re- '
maining occupants are on relief rolls. During favorable crop
years it added greatly to American and world surpluses of such
crops as wheat.
Dry-land farming utilized some of the finest range lands and
crowded the livestock onto lands already overstocked. It occupied
large areas of spring ranges already too small to meet requirements i
and forced stockmen to hold their herds on pastures and hayfields
so late in the spring that these also were more or less seriously dam-
aged. The reoccupation of the abandoned lands by valuable forage
plants is very slow. At least 15 million acres will have to be reseeded
artificially at a cost so high that it probably can be borne only by
the public.
A more serious but less spectacular maladjustment has been the
passage to private holders of many millions of acres of range land
submarginal for such ownership. The fact that some 150 million
acres of range lands in the public domain, grazing districts, and
other withdrawals, and most of the additional 58 million in State
ownership has not been transferred to private ownership has been
a clear-cut recognition that some range lands are submarginal for
private holding.
But for range lands once transferred an entirely different psy-
chology has held. It has taken several decades of private owner-
ship, waves of failures following repeated efforts culminating in a
combination of one of the worst depressions and worst droughts
which the West has ever experienced, even to raise the question
seriously.
The question has not arisen earlier in acute form because the
private owner has been living on a range and soil capital built up by
natural processes over thousands of years which has only now be-
come so largely dissipated that he must face realities; because he
could to some extent supplement the deficiencies in his own hold-






THE WESTERN RANGE


ings from a free public domain now passing out of the picture;
and because of the tenacity with which the average American has
held to the belief that he could in some way work out his own sal-
vation on almost any land however unproductive.
Two classes of range land fall into the submarginal class for
private ownership: Those (1) with a very low grazing capacity
because of poor soil or adverse climate or both, or because of severe
depletion under conditions so adverse that many years of light
stocking will be required for rehabilitation; those (2) on which the
range has been destroyed by cultivation and must be restored arti-
ficially at high cost.
Most of the southern desert shrub type, which has a grazing ca-
pacity of only four to five cows per section of land, illustrates the
extreme of the first class. This poorly watered land may require the
excessively high investments for water and fencing alone of $50 to
$75 per cow.
A drought expectancy of 2 to 4 years in 10 in most of the semiarid
Southwest, as compared with 1 to 2 years or less in the sandhills
of Nebraska, is reflected in forage production so low in the drought
years that the only alternatives are heavy starvation losses or high
supplemental feeding costs.
When on many millions of acres grazing capacity has been reduced
by 50 or 75 percent or more, and 5 to 10 acres are required to carry
one cow for a month, the costs of production are correspondingly
increased, and if to this is added the long period of very low stock-
ing required for restoration, the possibilities of profit under private
ownership may be removed for years to come.
The vegetation destroyed by cultivation on lands of the second
class can be restored artificially at a cost of $50 to $100 for enough
range to carry a cow a year, and this cost may be no higher than
that of carrying the land for the time required for natural restora-
tion of the forage. Whether private owners can carry this burden
on top of other production costs, except on the very best lands, is
questionable.
The adverse marketing differential already discussed holds for
both classes of land in all of the far-western States except California,
and accentuates low inherent productivity and depletion, or both
combined--especially because of the need for cheap range feed to
meet midwestern competition.
So also does taxation, which bears most heavily on the poor and
most seriously depleted lands. The operator whose range will sup-
port only one animal per 100 acres year long and who pays a tax
of 5 cents per acre, which amounts to $5 per animal unit, labors
under a handicap so serious that again serious question of the feasi-
bility of private ownership is raised.
High tax delinquency in many parts of the range country is at
least a symptom of something so seriously wrong that it will not be
cured by returning the lands to private ownership. And to all of
this evidence must be added the low standards of living and high
relief rolls in some range country.
The information now available does not permit any exact deter-
mination of the area of range land submarginal for private owner-
ship, but it probably runs into scores of millions of acres.





THFI MAJOR fl 1qQP PROBLEMS


The Federal and State land legislation and policies already de-
scribed transferred to private owners hundreds of thousands of
range-land units too small for the support of a family. The result
has been a long, slow, and painful adjustment in which both owners
and the range have suffered. Between 1910 and 1930 alone the ~"
number of ranches in the 100- to 174-acre class in the 11 western ,
States decreased by more than one-third, and the number of units
over 1,000 acres more than doubled.
The availability of small units encouraged oversettlement, and this
coupled with the effort to build up units of favorable economic size
and the growing shortage of feed led to competition for land, in-
flated values, higher costs, and lower profits. It was a part of the
vicious circle of more cattle in the effort to meet higher costs, and
of more land to carry more cattle. The already depleted range lost
the little chance it had.
Land policies also made possible the acquisition of key areas such
as lambing grounds, water holes, beef pastures, and holding grounds,
so that frequently the ownership of very small tracts permitted the
control of large areas of range. The smaller and weaker stockmen
were at the mercy of the stronger key-area owners.
Range depletion has had a long series of adverse effects on both
crop and livestock growers.
Depleted ranges and abandoned farms serve as a breeding ground
for the beet leafhopper. In six counties in Idaho in 1934 alone this
pest reduced the beet crop by 90 percent. Two beet-sugar factories
did not open and 500 people were thrown out of employment for the
manufacturing season.
Range depletion, among other causes, has forced stockmen to the
excessive use of supplemental crop feeds which may cost from 5 to
10 times more than range feed. Supplemental feed has its proper
place in finishing for the market and for winter use. And supple- -
mental feeding induced by overgrazing has in turn been one of the
causes of depletion by keeping many more livestock on the range
than it could carry.
Range depletion and at times the lack of home-grown supplemental
feed or its relatively high cost has been responsible for shipments
of poor or half-fat beef and lambs, and this cuts heavily into possible
profits.
The benefit of long years of effort to build up good breeding
herds has been lost in part through lack of feed. At Miles City,
Mont., calves from good range were 48 pounds heavier at weaning
than those from overgrazed ranges. In New Mexico there was a
difference between rehabilitated and heavily grazed ranges of about
200 pounds in cow weights.
Both calf and lamb crops are decreased and annual losses are
increased when there is too little range forage. Chronic emergencies
and forced sales, which are commonly due to drought and depres-
sions, could often be minimized by ample forage and commensurate
crop land.
Federal feed and crop loans have been necessary on a large scale
in part because of maladjustments and depletion. That the Novem-
ber 1935 percentage of repayment in the western range country is
about 44 percent as compared with 62 for the country as a whole is
significant.






THE WESTERN RANGE


Maladjustments and depletion have caused serious decreases in
population with correspondingly bad effects on the social and eco-
nomic life of the communities. Fifteen representative dry-farm
counties in six States, for example, lost from 4 to over 40 percent
of their population in the single decade ending in 1930.
More than enough examples have been given to show that a wide
diversity of economic and social losses results from range depletion
and crop- and range-land maladjustments. The greatest possible
security should conversely result from ranges restored and main-
tained in high productivity, from privately owned units of economic
size with a proper balance in area and productivity of range- and
crop-land, and from a proper distribution of land between private
and public ownership.

FROM EROSION AND FLOODS

In a region of meager precipitation such as most of the West, the
availability of water for irrigation, municipal purposes, power, etc.,



TOTAL WATER-YIELDING AREA


AREA ON RANGE



0 50 100 150 200 250
MILLION ACRES

FIGURE 11.-WATER-YIELDING AREAS
Four-fifths of the 232 million acres which produce 85 percent of the water in the. major
western streams comes from range lands, and low precipitation makes water the
limiting factor in nearly all western development.
is in most cases the factor which limits development. All plans
for agricultural and municipal security as well as for most other
industries must take this definitely into account.
Approximately 85 percent of the water of the principal watersheds
of the West is derived from an area of about 232 million acres. Of
the utmost significance is the fact that four-fifths of this important
water-producing area is made up. of range lands (fig. 11).
An additional reason for consideration is the fact that no less
than 589 million acres of range lands, according to the best available
information, is eroding so seriously that the destruction which it
causes compels attention. Still further, 352 million acres of this
area is contributing an appreciable amount of silt to major streams
(fig. 12).
Watershed values have been most seriously impaired on the public
domain and on private lands. Approximately 149 million acres, or
98 percent of the available public domain and minor reservations,
is eroding more or less seriously, and 67 million acres is contributing






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS 23

silt to major streams (figs. 13 and 14). Over 80 percent of private
land is eroding and 195 million acres is contributing silt. While
not so extensive, erosion on State and Indian lands is also critical.


MILLION ACRES

FIGURa 12.-EROSION AND SILTING OF STREAMS.
Eighty percent of the entire range area is eroding more or less seriously, and hence
reducing the productive capacity of the soil. Nearly half is contributing silt in dis-
turbing quantities to major western streams, and hence impairing their value for
irrigation, power, and municipal water supplies.

Even on the national forests, which have a watershed objective in
administration, 32 million acres is eroding and will require additional
attention.

OWNERSHIP AREA ERODING

Federal
National Forests
Public Domain,
Grazing Dists,etc.

Indian Lands__

State and County-

Private- .


O 20 40 60 80 100
PERCENT

c Material erosion a Severe erosion


FIoGURa 13.-EROSION BY RANGE OWNERSHIPS.
Erosion is most serious on the public domain and grazing districts, and Indian, State
and county, and private lands are little better. Even 30 years' management has
fallen far short of curing erosion on the national forests.
Scientific investigations have proved beyond a doubt that the plant
cover minimizes and often prevents erosion and floods, and con-
versely, that depletion is a primary cause of both.






THE WESTERN RANGE


Studies in Utah to ascertain the effects of range vegetation on
run-off and erosion have shown that by increasing plant density
from 16 to 40 percent, surface run-off from summer rains is reduced
by two-thirds and erosion by more than half its former volume.
In Idaho investigations of the effectiveness of different range types
on surface run-off and erosion show that a plant cover of the most
desirable forage species yielded practically no surface run-off or
sediment, while the poorest cover yielded more than 60 percent of
the precipitation in surface run-off and an equivalent of more than
three-fourths of a ton of sediment per acre.
From a barren area in Missouri over a 6-year period 123 times
as much soil was eroded as from a sod-covered area. Denudation by
fire near Los Angeles increased flood run-off fortyfold and erosion
approximately a thousandfold.
Geologic evidence in Utah has shown that recent destruction of
plant cover has accelerated erosion and increased the number of

OWNERSHIP SERIOUS SILTING

Federal
National Forests
Public Domain,
Grazing Distsetc

Indian Lands......

State and County

Private.....

0 50 100 150 200
MILLION ACRES

FIGURE 14.-SILTING OF MAJOR STREAMS BY RANGE OWNERSHIPS.
While the area in private ownership contributing silt to major streams exceeds that in
all other ownerships combined, several other ownerships or forms of control urgently
need attention.
floods beyond anything that had taken place in the preceding 20,000
years. These random examples are merely representative of similar
results obtained throughout the West.
Floods are now increasing in frequency and severity from depleted
western ranges, until scarcely a summer day passes when newspapers
do not carry an account of loss of property or life. In Utah 27
important watersheds flooded in 1932 alone, and investigation showed
their source to have been largely on range lands eaten down to the
bare soil, while in New Mexico and Arizona historical evidence shows
that floods are more frequent and destructive than anything which
occurred in the past.
In 1922 the Palo Verde flood caused $1,000,000 damage. A Rio
Grande flood in 1932 practically destroyed flood-protection improve-
ments worth $5,000,000 and did more than $1,000,000 damage to
other property. Floods in Davis County, Utah, have caused






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


$1,000,000 damage since 1923. The La Crescenta flood of 1934 took
a toll of 30 lives and did $5,000,000 damage.
The loss of almost irreplaceable soil on the western range is as
widespread as range depletion itself. In the mountains of all the
western States accelerated sheet and gully erosion are stripping
and cutting slopes and channeling meadows. Southwestern valleys
are being trenched with great arroyos often 100 feet in depth and
300 or more feet wide, and both mesa lands and mountain meadows
are being ruined. The silt loads of the rivers of the Great Plains
and the "black blizzards" of the last few years, with their threat to
farm and industrial values and health, bear testimony to ravaged
lands.
Silt deposits filled the small Austin Dam Reservoir in Texas in
13 years. The Elephant Butte Dam is filling at the rate of about
20,000 acre-feet annually. The McMillan Dam in New Mexico is now
valuable only for diversion. The same thing is happening in greater
or less degree in most of the reservoirs throughout the West.
The grazing value of range watershed lands may not often exceed
$3 per acre. The watershed value is much more difficult to deter-
mine. Some indication of relative values may be gained, however,
from a consideration of dependent investments. More than 5.8 bil-
lion dollars is invested in irrigated land and improvements, as com-
pared with about 4.1 billion dollars in range livestock and related
ranch properties. Each of the 475 million acres of range land yield-
ing water or contributing silt to streams supports an investment of
$12.27 in irrigation works, lands, and facilities, and this figure would
be still higher if the investments for power and municipal water
supplies were added.
Another measure of the value of the range cover can be obtained
by considering the loss in the productive capacity of the soil from
erosion as a result of depletion. The fertile top layers go first.
Several hundred million acres have already lost 1 to several inches,
and the productive capacity may have been reduced by one-fourth
or one-half or more. These layers can be replaced only very slowly,
as shown by investigations under the more favorable conditions in
the East which indicate a rate of about 1 inch per 1,000 years.
Fortunately, man is not helpless in this situation, black as the
picture now is. On many of the protected municipal watersheds of
the West and on the managed watersheds of the national forests are
examples of arrested erosion and controlled floods which are the
direct result of range restoration. Not only has the production of
forage been increased but the services which watersheds should
render in maximum flows of usable water for dependent crop agri-
culture, in municipal water supplies, in power, in clear fishing
streams, and in greater security to life and property have followed
as a matter of course.
IN WILDLIFE

Wildlife is one of the natural products of the range. Its present
annual economic value is estimated at more than $90,0000 To
evaluate its economic significance, however, expenditures exceeding
40,000,000 by hunters and fishermen should a l in art
also, those by recreationists of over $155,000,000, because one of the






THE WESTERN RANGE


intangible but chief values of wildlife is the increased recreational
attraction and enjoyment which it affords.
No one familiar with wildlife requirements will question the state-
ment that the range with little or no impairment in its value for
other uses could support a vastly larger wildlife population. So far,
in fact, have numbers been reduced that any recital of what remains
is in itself an indication of both tangible and intangible social and
economic losses.
A few outstanding examples will suffice. The former millions of
buffalo have declined to the few thousand on reservations; the thirty
or forty million antelope to about 65,000; the few mountain sheep,
goats, moose, and grizzly bear left are barely holding their own; the
scattered remnants of upland game birds and fur bearers are still
declining; the reduction of waterfowl has become a matter of na-
tional concern. Most of the big-game animals have been crowded off
their original range into much less favorable conditions.
The chief factors and causes which are responsible for the present
situation, discussed in detail later, need only be listed here:
1. The deterioration of the habitat through range depletion which
has destroyed both food supplies and cover for land animals and
birds and silted fishing streams.
2. Complications growing out of the passage of large areas of land
to private ownership under a policy which offers no incentive to the
owner to protect and maintain wildlife.
3. Maladjustments in land use, such as swamp drainage, that have
attempted but failed to use for agricultural crop production land
which would render its highest social and economic return in wild-
life production.
4. Unrestricted or poorly controlled hunting and fishing.
5. A series of ill-advised or poorly handled constructive measures
such, for example, as game preserves, transplanting, buck laws, etc.,
which have created almost as many problems as they have solved.
6. Protection alone defeating its own purpose by leading to over-
population.
7. Wildlife agencies recruited on the basis of political rather than
technical qualifications.
8. The lack of adequate technical knowledge.
9. The belated development of the basic concept that game man-
agement is required, having for its purpose production as a crop
with provision for the annual harvesting of the production or sur-
plus, this in proper correlation with other legitimate uses of the
range.
The fundamental cause, however, is again the typical American
philosophy of prodigal destruction rather than the conservation of
natural resources.
Public interest in wildlife has increased very rapidly during the
last few years, the direct result of the efforts of many sportsmen's
and other associations and of State and Federal agencies. Although
many of these activities have not reached the fundamental problems,
nearly all have constructive aspects. Through them, for example,
State agencies have contributed toward the rehabilitation of the wild-
life resource. The Biological Survey has established a number of
migratory bird and other reservations, controlled predatory animals
injurious both to wildlife and domestic livestock, controlled range-






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


destroying rodents, and conducted research necessary as a basis for
wildlife management. The Bureau of Fisheries and numerous State
agencies have stocked many western streams and cooperated in their
improvement.
The national forests have had a more important effect on the
rehabilitation of wildlife in the range country than any other meas-
ure so far adopted, and are a concrete, although far from per-
fect, indication of the possibilities. National forest increases, which
for big game animals alone are about 75 percent in the last decade,
have been brought about with very little reduction in other forms
of use, such as livestock grazing. The reappearance of wildlife
has undoubtedly been one of the factors responsible for over 38
million visitors in the national forests in 1934 as compared with
3 million in 1917. These increases have not come without difficul-
ties growing out of rigid State laws which stood in the way of re-
ducing surpluses regardless of whether feed was available to keep
the game from starving, or of the legitimate requirements for live-
stock or other forms of use, nor without other difficulties in working
out effective cooperation between State and Federal agencies.

IN RECREATION
During the past half century public opinion regarding the social
necessity of outdoor recreation, not alone for the favored few but
for all, has undergone as radical a change as that regarding bath-
tubs and night air. People generally have learned that modern life
makes demands for which the most practical remedy is periodic
association with nature. The needs and the benefits are both physi-
cal and mental.
If increased opportunity for wholesome outdoor activities is not
provided, existing play areas will be so crowded that only partial
returns for expenditures of time and money can be obtained, and
greater leisure time may not as it should contribute to health and
happiness. The American people have developed a mobility which
dwarfs into insignificance the outdoor spaces that can be dedicated
exclusively to recreation.
Range lands, as well as others, possessing the qualities sought by
outdoor recreationists have thus acquired economic values which
often exceed those for other services. They are capital assets of
their communities. They draw large sums of money that otherwise
would not be received; money which contributes as fully to economic
security as that from any other source.
People do not as a rule pay directly for the privilege of enjoying
scenic charm or other recreational values, but they do pay indirectly
through purchases of commodities and services for which there
otherwise would be no local market. The recreational use of lands
means that the market is brought to the resource without cost of
transportation.
The serious depletion of most range areas, the reduction in wild-
life, the erosion and silting of streams, have all been reflected in
impaired recreational values. Where originally the mind was in-
spired by views of grass-covered and flower-studded slopes, it is
now depressed by the sight of a terrain scored and dissected by






THE WESTERN RANGE


erosion and only thinly covered by plants. Healthful recreation
from hunting and fishing have also been greatly curtailed.
Recreational use may entail changes m grazing farming, etc.,
against which objections may be made. All members of a com-
munity share in its prosperity. In communities which make full use
of all natural advantages, local demands establish good markets and
prices, property values are increased, and local institutions are main-
tained at higher standards. Thus the entire community, including
the industrialists, benefit from the multiple use management of nat-
ural resources to a degree which frequently offsets or exceeds possible
losses from restriction in grazing or other forms of use.
These facts are amply confirmed by a quarter century of national
forest administration. The traditional purposes of the national
forests were primarily utilitarian, timber production, watershed pro-
tection, and forage for game and domestic livestock.
But the recreational use of the national forests has grown amaz-
ingly, as shown by the elevenfold increase in the estimated number
of visitors to over 38 million in the 17 years ending in 1934. Some
changes in the use of timber and ranges have been necessary on the
one hand and some acceptance by recreationists of less than pri-
meval conditions on the other. Actually all interests are better off.
In the light of national-forest experience it seems inevitable that
the administration of other publicly owned range lands, both Fed-
eral and State, having recreational value will, if they are to serve
the highest public interest, have to take recreational needs into ac-
count along with those for grazing, watershed protection, and wild-
life. That recreational use has a place on privately owned range
lands as well is clearly shown by the present status of dude ranching.
IN DEPENDENT COMMUNITIES
The small agricultural communities throughout the range coun-
try suffer both directly and indirectly from any and all the factors
which reduce the prosperity of, or otherwise adversely affect, either
crop or range agriculture as the mere listing of a few of the con-
nections will show. The local merchants who depend largely upon
rural trade; the mechanics and laborers; the professions such as
medicine and law; the semipublic organizations such as churches;
the public institutions such as schools and the public activities such
as highway construction and maintenance, all of which are de-
pendent upon taxation; the well-being of all of these and many
more fluctuates immediately and directly with that of their agri-
cultural constituency.
It is equally obvious that the small agricultural community is
merely the stepping stone to the larger supply centers which serve
the agricultural regions, and these in turn to the larger western
cities. Directly and indirectly involved also are the railroads and
other transportation facilities, the banks, and industries such as
lumbering which at first thought seem remote but which actually
depend in part for the sale of their products upon the ability of
agriculture to purchase.
In the complex present-day civilization with its high degree of
specialization, maladjustments in any one important part extends di-
rectly or indirectly intq most or all of the rest, locally, regionally,





THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


and even nationally. It is a delicately balanced mechanism exceed-
ingly sensitive throughout its entire working to a disturbance af-
fecting any one part.
IN HUMAN WASTAGE

By far the most serious result is human wastage. What sum total
of human wastage has grown directly and indirectly out of the de-
pletion of the western ranges and the maladjustments in the use
of range and interrelated croplands will never be known. That
it has been very large there can be no doubt. Neither can there be
any doubt that the struggle has served to develop a strong, re-
sourceful, self-reliant group of survivors who form a most desir-
able addition to American citizenship.
Much of the wastage has been so insidious and obscure that it is
never traced back to its fundamental causes. Successive waves of
failures under the more adverse conditions, such as the lands sub-
marginal for private ownership, the wrecking of high hopes and
aspirations, and the hopelessness and despair and the lowering of
initiative and self-reliance that grow out of failure, the melting away
of lifetime savings, the casting adrift of thousands of families to
become a floating instead of a stable population, reduced standards
of living, uncompleted education, and other lost opportunities, all
of these and many more are the barest indication of what unre-
strained exploitation and destruction mean in terms of human happi-
ness and well-being.
In part the human wastage was the price which had to be paid
in a pioneering enterprise. But in much larger part it is the price
of glaring and unnecessary mistakes. Any conclusion to the con-
trary is the saddest kind of a commentary on American efficiency.
Certainly the possibility of eliminating or reducing human wastage
in the future is the most compelling justification for the restoration
of the range resource and the permanent maintenance of its pro-
ductivity for the highest forms of use.
RANGE CONSERVATION THE EXCEPTION

The black range cloud like all others has its silver lining. Some
pitifully small areas have been spared, and what is even more signif-
icant, other much larger areas have been rehabilitated. On the
latter primarily, range management having a partially scientific
basis has been developed and successfully applied. The exceptions,
which have not been entirely confined to any one form of land
ownership or control, emphasize the general situation by contrast,
demonstrate the value of good stewardship, and point the way to the
solution of the range problem (figs. 15 and 16). Their existence and
the reasons for them constitute one of the major findings of the
report.
PRIVATE LANDS

Approximately 376 million acres or 51 percent of the range land
of tha W i in private ownership. Theoretically the incentive of
ownership should have kept large areas in good condition, but
actually it has been so ineffective that the original grazing capacity





30 THE WESTERN RANGE

has been reduced by more than half. Only on scattered ranges and
individual ranches is the range in good condition.
One wool growers' association in Idaho has maintained most of its
forage in far above average condition, numbers of stock and grazing
seasons have been limited, and reasonably satisfactory management
has been established. A cooperative association in Montana has
been equally successful. Individual ranches which have maintained
their ranges through management might be cited in all States. In
California a number of ranges which have been grazed continuously
for over 50 years have been managed on a sustained forage yield
basis. One badly depleted ranch in Marin County has been virtually


OWNERSHIP AREAS

Federal
National Forests
Public Domain
Grazing Dist's,etc.

Indian Lands--_

State and County

Private-----



0 50 100 150 200
MILLION ACRES
In reasonably In unsatisfactory
good condition or poor condition

FIGURE 15.-RANGE AREAS IN REASONABLY GOOD AND IN POOR CONDITION.
Only about 95 million acres of the total range area Is now In reasonably good condition,
and nearly 90 percent of this Is on the national forests and private lands. The
reasonably good areas in other ownerships and forms of control are Insignificant. Even
more impressive is the size of the areas in unsatisfactory or poor condition.
restored, and a 40,000-acre ranch in Humboldt County still supports
a maximum stand of the valuable California oatgrass. A 12 million-
acre area in the sandhills of Nebraska, where the blowing of the
soil following depletion early taught the stockmen the need for con-
servative grazing, has largely been maintained in good condition.
This area as a whole constitutes an outstanding example of satisfac-
tory management of privately owned range lands.
The explanation of these exceptional cases lies in various combina-
tions of favorable natural and economic conditions-better than
average growing conditions; highly resistant and recuperative for-
age plants; good soils; good grazing capacity; conditions which
favor good stock distribution; low purchase, carrying, and produc-
tion costs; balanced economic units; favorable location to markets:






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS 31

the influence of national-forest management; and finally, good busi-
ness and range management. Such factors as these are responsible
for roughly the 44 million acres or 12 percent of privately owned
range that is in good or fairly good condition.
INDIAN LANDS

More than 48 million acres of grazing land chiefly within western
reservations fall into the Indian land category (fig. 17). The pres-
ent condition of this range varies from reasonably satisfactory in
Oregon, Washington, a portion of Idaho, and the northern Great
Plains, to serious depletion on most of the area in the Southwest.
Indian lands as a whole have been depleted 51 percent, and during

OWNERSHIP RANGE AREAS IN REASONABLY GOOD CONDITION

Federal
National Forests
Public Domain,
Grazing Dist's,etc

Indian Lands_

State and County

Private.__._

0 10 20 30 40 50
PERCENT

FIGUBn 16.-PERCENTAGE OF RANGE OWNERSHIPS IN REASONABLY GOOD
CONDITION.
When the percentage of total range areas in reasonably good condition is taken into
account, the story is markedly different from that in figure 15. The national forests
have the best record, but this is creditable only in the light of the condition of the
ranges when management began 30 years ago.
the last 30 years the trend on three-fourths of the area has been
downward, while improvement has been confined to 10 percent.
What lifts the Indian lands into the exceptional classification, how-
ever, is the extension of a definite program of management over all
range lands in 1930 with the delegation of grazing supervision to
the Forestry Branch in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. On the north-
western reservations, where earlier progress had been made, the pro-
gram was readily put into effect. Elsewhere the major provisions
of the program have been applied to the grazing of white-owned
livestock. Progress has been slow, however, on ranges used by the
Indians themselves, especially in the Southwest. It is hoped that
through persistent effort and extension work the overstocking can be
reduced. The recent Wheeler-Howard Act provides among other
things for the stabilization of land status and authorizes consolida-
tion for management purposes. All in all, while difficult problems
remain unsolved, the stage has been set for satisfactory range con-
servation on Indian land.





THE WESTERN RANGE


GRAZING DISTRICTS

The Taylor Grazing Act (June 1934) authorizing grazing districts
of 80 million acres consummates many years' effort to place the open
public domain under administration. Sixty-one million acres of
range lands have been included in grazing districts. More than 67
million acres of Federal lands in the unreserved public domain and


FIroUB 17.-The national forests, Indian reservations, and established and proposed
grazing districts.
approximately 23 million acres in various reservations and with-
drawals still lack any provision for grazing management. With
average deterioration on the public domain of nearly 70 percent,
which crowns a downward trend for nine-tenths of the whole for
the last 30 years, this is the most seriously overgrazed and depleted
range land in the United States. More than 95 percent of the avail-
able range on the public domain grazing districts and other reserva-






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS 33

tions is eroding, one-half materially and one-half severely; nearly
45 percent of the area is contributing silt to important streams,
wildlife values have been greatly reduced, and the utter lack of
conservation measures has led to serious social and economic malad-
justments.
The title of the Grazing Act lists as its purposes:
To stop injury to the public grazing lands by preventing overgrazing and soil
deterioration; to provide for their orderly use, improvement, and development;
to stabilize the livestock industry dependent upon the public range; and for
other purposes.
The Secretary of the Interior is directed to-
make provision for the protection, administration, regulation, and improvement
of such grazing districts as may be created.
The.general purpose of the act and many of its provisions are
admirable, but its administration may be greatly hampered, or even
defeated, by restrictive clauses. Much depends upon the administra-
tive policies adopted under its broad discretionary powers. A clause
in the first sentence, "pending its final disposal", that is of the range
land, weakens the entire structure and discourages far-sighted ob-
jectives by implying a transitional status. Inadequate provision is
made for special watershed protection and for the conservation of
resources other than grazing, such as wildlife, forests, and recreation.
The emphasis is primarily on grazing utilization.
The provisions of the act making the grazing privilege an ad-
junctive right in proportion to land and range-water ownership,
perpetuate and enhance existing monopolies in land use with a public
resource and may even encourage further monopolies. Adjustments
needed to make the grazing privilege more fully supplement crop
and other range lands, and contribute to the maximum number of
satisfactory economic home units are hampered and may be blocked.
Some provisions of the act may make grazing privileges practically
vested rights and prevent reductions needed for range protection.
Cooperation with local associations of stockmen and appropriate
State agencies is provided. It is doubtful, however, whether this
desirable feature should be made the main instrument of administra-
tion. Present indications are that local control will be largely by
advisers elected by the stockmen except for supervision and basic
technical criteria for conservation of the natural resources by Gov-
ernment personnel. The danger is that because of economic pres-
sure stockmen will not impose sufficient restrictions upon themselves
and their neighbors to rehabilitate the range and manage it satis-
factorily, and that they may not amply safeguard other resources
such as watersheds, recreation, and game, in which the general pub-
lic is vitally interested. It is questionable whether the incentive for
good management will be greater than under complete private
ownership.
THE NATIONAL FORESTS
The examples of even fairly satisfactory range management are
so much the exception that it is difficult to outline the progress made
on the national forests without giving the appearance of partisan-
ship.
64946-36--4





THE WESTERN RANGE


Large-scale range conservation and management has pioneered
and largely centered on the national forests. Eighty-two and a half
million acres, or 62 percent of the total area of the western na-
tional forests are usable and available for grazing. Approximately .
1,430,000 cattle and horses, and 6,161,000 sheep and goats are grazed
several months of each year.
The national forests are the direct result of action by far-sighted,
public-spirited leaders who recognized the widespread exploitation
and depletion of our forest and watershed resources and the critical
need for their conservation and wise use. They began as "Forest
Reserves" in the Department of the Interior under the act of March
3, 1891, which authorized the President to withdraw and set apart
by Executive order areas for timber production and for maintain-
ing favorable conditions of water flow.
Up to February 1, 1905, only 63.3 million acres had been set apart,
but very little progress had been made in the administration, protec-
tion and management of the lands. The policy was more one of
"locking up" the resources than of wise use.
On February 1, 1905, the forest reserves were transferred to what
has since become the Forest Service in the Department of Agricul-
ture, and later renamed national forests. President Theodore Roose-
velt increased the area to 194.5 million acres, to prevent further ex-
ploitation and monopolistic control. Civil service became the basis
for selection of personnel and the organization was decentralized to
facilitate and localize administration.
The objectives in the administration of the national forest ranges
have been:
1. Conservation and use.-Perpetuation of all of the resources
through protection, development, and wise use.
2. Multiple use.-Correlation in management and use of all the
resources to obtain the highest net public benefits. In such correla-
tion timber production and watershed protection are necessarily
given high priority.
3. Equal opportunity.-Protection of the settler and home builder
against monopoly and unfair competition in the use of the resources.
4. Integration with agriculture.-Relating the use of range and
other national forest resources to farm-grown forage crops, range,
and other agricultural resources to obtain the highest benefits from
all the land.
5. Stability of use.-Safeguarding livestock agriculture by af-
fording maximum stability in range use consistent with national
forest objectives.
6. Cooperation with users.-Provision for an advisory voice in
national forest administration by stockmen and other users.
7. Local administration.-A businesslike and technical adminis-
tration designed and organized to settle local problems expedi-
tiously according to local conditions.
Except for an advisory voice which came later, regulations incor-
.porating these basic policies were put into effect on July 1, 1905.
AModifications have been made from time to time for clarification and
'better application.
SMost range managers in the Forest Service now have both scien-
'tific training and practical experience in range administration, a
gradual transformation from a staff made up largely of men with






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


practical experience only. They ascertain, by local study, the rela-
tive value for grazing of the various range plants, their ability to
withstand grazing, soil, and other requirements for growth and re-
production, the best methods of use, and other factors, which to-
gether determine safe grazing capacity, proper seasons of use,
adaptability of the range to different classes of stock, requirements
for sustaining the forage production, and how to hold the soil and
maintain its fertility.
Range management plans which apply these data are in effect on
four-fifths of the area. Stock is controlled on the range by salting
\ practice, proper herding, and the construction of watering places,
rift fences, and other range improvements. The stockmen partici-
pate actively in management both individually on their respective
range allotments and collectively through livestock associations and
advisory boards.
Grazing capacity has been improved 19 percent since 1910. Na-
tional-forest ranges today on the whole are 70 percent as good as
virgin range, as contrasted with 33 percent on the public domain and
49 percent on privately owned range in the West. Real progress
has been made in range restoration, considering the pioneer nature
of the effort, the extent of depletion when the forests were estab-
lished, the time required for rebuilding the soil, the rough topog-
raphy, the necessity of grazing large numbers of livestock each year,
the overload of livestock carried during the war period, the recent
protracted drought, the desire to avoid undue hardships on the live-
stock industry through drastic reductions, and the time required to
overcome human inertia. All of these factors have retarded reha-
bilitation. But the fact remains that the range has not been fully
restored. Too many sore spots remain, and remedial action has been
too slow on many of them. For the national-forest range area as a
whole it is difficult to escape the conviction that progress should
have been greater, although it may be too easy in retrospect to min-
imize the handicaps faced and overcome. Watershed services,
wildlife numbers, recreational use, and timber production have been
increased, although here also there is still ample room for improve-
ment.
On the whole, the possibilities of range conservation, use, and man-
agement have been demonstrated, and public responsibility has
largely been redeemed. Shortcomings exist, and important unsolved
problems remain, prominent among which are full range restoration
and a further improvement in range management, more equitable
distribution of grazing privileges socially and economically, in which
too little progress has been made, and more satisfactory relations
with range permittees.
RESILIENCE OF RANGE LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION

Range livestock production has shown a remarkable persistence.
It has been like a patient suffering from several diseases any one of
which the doctors believe should be fatal, but who continues to live
a lusty, vigorous life.
Range livestock production has been a new American venture,
without traditional background. For forage production it has had
to contend with a climate which at best constitutes a drought more






THE WESTERN RANGE


severe than any which the remainder of the United States has ever
experienced. Western droughts have periodically wiped out the
gains of years. Cheap range feed has been the one great competitive
advantage of the western range country under a serious marketing
handicap as compared with the Middle West. This feed, by flagrant
neglect and mismanagement, has been seriously damaged and in
places almost destroyed. Over many millions of acres the fertile
soil, slowly built up during thousands of years, has been wasted
away and with it the basis of forage production. In going the soil
has often carried damage and destruction to far-distant areas and
communities.
Range livestock production has built up its land tenure under land
policies so unsuitable that the final result is an indiscriminate mix-
ture of holdings large and small, individual and corporate, private
and public, Federal and State. It has been encouraged by competi-
tive forces, and by public-land laws and policies formulated for en-
tirely different conditions and transplanted with little or no modifi-
cation, to assume the burden of millions of acres of submarginal
land on which the private owner never had a fighting chance.
Maladjustments in the use of millions of acres of land for crop
production, which widespread failure has shown to be suitable only
for range, have destroyed for years to come some of the most pro-
ductive range territory. In the balance of seasonal range areas and
in the balance between crop and range feed a whole series of other
maladjustments have crept in.
Although purely an agricultural function, the jurisdiction over
Federal range lands has been split between two departments. One,
charged with the responsibility for building up and supporting all
phases of agriculture for the entire country, has for the past 30
years been trying on a large scale an experiment on the publicly
owned national forests in the conservation of natural resources, in-
cluding range, entirely new in American history. The other, charged
with the responsibility for the disposal of Federal lands, has only
within the last 2 years begun the attempt to administer the ranges
which private owners could and would not take from the public
domain. The agricultural agencies of the States have had little
voice and no responsibility in the administration of Federal grants,
which have been handled by agencies charged primarily with land
disposal.
Range livestock production has operated under an almost impos-
sible credit structure. It has been crushed time and again by de-
pressions. Its markets have been controlled by outside agencies or
forces, often to its detriment.
Within its own ranks it has often waged relentless war, big man
against little, cattleman against sheepman. For years it fought the
crop farmer, who has now become an essential part of a soundly
balanced enterprise. It has all too often fought the public agencies
which were attempting to maintain its resource and to solve its basic
problems.
And yet possibly no other American enterprise has shown a greater
resilience. None has had a greater confidence in the promise of the
future or in its own ability to meet every problem which might
arise. The only conclusion is a virility, an innate vitality, and some-
thing fundamentally sound in the use of range for livestock grazing






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


which deserves and should be given a far better opportunity in its
own and in the public interest than it has ever had.
DRASTIC REMEDIAL ACTION REQUIRED
The bewilderingly complex range problem will be clarified and
consideration of the program required for its solution will be facili-
tated by breaking it down into its component parts, many of which
in themselves constitute important problems. This can be done only
at the expense of some repetition of the preceding and following
discussions. The reader may if he wishes skip this cataloging of
problems to the point on page 40 where those of greatest immediate
importance and urgency are summarized.

MAJOR RANGE RESOURCE PROBLEMS



TO HALT AND REVERSE DEPLETION



TO CHECK EROSION AND REBUILD SOIL



TO -RESTORE DEPLETED RANGES


TO PUT RANGE UNDER MANAGEMENT Tofal
Range
Area


0 200 400 600 728
MILLION ACRES

FIGURE 18.-MAJOR RANGE RESOURCE PROBLEMS IN TERMS OF AREA.
One measure of the magnitude of some of the major range resource problems is the
hundreds of millions of acres on which constructive programs must be carried out.
All constitute a high percentage of the total range area of 728 million acres.
The number of interrelated and overlapping problems in this
break-down is so large and many of them are so crucial that no one
is the key to the entire situation. They are so enmeshed in the
established economic and social set-up that all solutions are fraught
with extraordinary difficulties. No single feasible line of construc-
tive action offers the remotest hope of a satisfactory solution.
1. One major group of problems centers in the range resource and
its management.
(a) How stop further forage depletion on the 553 million acres, or
76 percent of the total range area still deteriorating, and start the
forage on the upgrade (fig. 18).
(b) How place all range lands under management. Approxi-
mately 523 million acres is now subject to practically unrestricted
grazing.






THE WESTERN RANGE


(c) How restore to the nearest possible approach to original pro-
ductivity, and maintain in such productivity thereafter, the 675 mil-
lion acres, or 93 percent of the range area, now depleted.
(d) How prevent further deterioration of the soil on which forage
production depends on the 589 million acres now eroding more or
less seriously, and start the rebuilding process.
(e) How restore the soil resource to the nearest possible approach
to its original fertility, and maintain it at this level.
2. A second group of major problems centers in land and its
ownership and use.
(a) How obtain the soundest distribution of ownership of range
lands by curing existing maladjustments, and preventing their re-
currence, first as between private and public holdings, and second,
as between county, State, and Federal.
(b) How further unscramble the existing ownership mess, and
obtain satisfactory livelihood units under private ownership, and
units which will permit efficient administration under public
ownership.
(c) How insure the use of land in the range country for the range
use or crop production for which it is best suited, by rectifying
existing maladjustments and preventing future recurrence; or to
state much the same problem in another way, how obtain a satis-
factory integration of range and crop agriculture, the best balance
in private holdings, individually and collectively, and as between
public range and private range and croplands.
(d) How, through the correlation of the various uses for which
range lands are suited, obtain the maximum use or service consistent
with the conservation of the resource, and hence the highest current
public benefits. The uses involved are:
Livestock production estimated at a grazing capacity 50 years
hence of at least 17.1 million animal units, instead of the present
safe capacity of 10.8 million units.
Watershed services in the delivery of the maximum amount of
usable water, with the minimum of erosion, silting, and destructive
floods; services which on many areas will constitute the dominant
requirement.
The production on forested ranges of timber crops which on the
national forests will be one of the dominant uses.
Provision for such part of the rapidly growing need for recre-
ation as the scenic and other facilities of the range country can
furnish.
The sustained production of wildlife as a crop.
3. A third group of major problems centers in privately owned
range lands and domestic livestock.
(a) How relieve private owners of the burden of lands submar-
ginal for such ownership, and of lands on which the cost of maintain-
ing high watershed or other public values is excessive for private
holding, and how also prevent the passage of such lands to private
ownership in the future.
(b) How care for and improve submarginal and high public
value lands pending transfer to the public, which may require many
years.
(c) How obtain a positive recognition of the responsibility of
stewardship.





THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


(d) How reduce the present 60-percent excess of 6.5 million ani-
mal units to what the range as a whole can carry and still improve.
Because of livestock ownership the producer is as directly con-
cerned on public lands as on those he holds in fee simple.
(e) How place private range lands under satisfactory range
management.
(f) How restore to the western livestock producer and how main-
tain his one large competitive advantage of cheap range feed.
(g) How aid private owners to acquire economic units which will
support a family under reasonable standards of living.
(h) How minimize or remove the other existing financial handi-
caps to economically justified private ownership in inflated land
values, unsound credits, unsatisfactory market conditions, etc.
(i) How improve existing range animal husbandry.
(j) How furnish a reasonable incentive to the private landowner
to produce and protect game on his own lands.
4. A fourth group of major problems centers in State and county
range lands.
(a) How reconcile the need for the conservation of the range
resource in the general public interest on Federal land grants with
the demand for revenue from these lands by dependent institutions.
(b) How provide for the administration and management, for
the various purposes for which they are suited, of all State and other
public range lands by competent agricultural agencies.
(c) How bring order out of chaos in the handling of tax
delinquency.
(d) How provide for the acquisition of the State's share of sub-
marginal and high public value range lands.
(e) How provide for the consolidation of State and county owner-
ships into efficient administrative units.
(f) How carry a long-term constructive program, particularly if
it cannot be made self-liquidating.
5. A fifth group of problems centers in Federal range lands.
(a) How, since it is a strictly agricultural activity, provide for
the handling of the grazing districts by an agricultural agency.
(b) How place the remainder of the public domain and other
Federal withdrawals and reservations under administration and
management.
(c) How provide for a sound social and economic distribution of
grazing privileges on all Federal lands; probably requiring on graz-
ing districts the modification of organic legislation; and on the
national forests, further improvement of administrative policies.
(d) How prevent the establishment of prescriptive rights on
grazing districts.
(e) How prevent a conflict in Federal and State authority in the
administration of the grazing districts.
(f) How insure an effectively correlated administration of all
Federal range lands, and at the same time recognize also the funda-
mental distinction between the national forests and the more strictly
range group of lands. This means providing on the national forests
for the necessary further correlation of range use with that of timber
and other national-forest resources, and on other lands providing for
the further correlation with the resources involved.
(g) How provide for the Federal share of the responsibility for
acquiring private lands submarginal for such ownership, and lands





THE WESTERN RANGE


with high public values which cannot or will not be safeguarded
by private owners.
(h) How provide for the consolidation of Federal lands into
workable administrative units.
(i) How reconcile the existing difference between national forests
and grazing districts in the Federal contribution to States, etc., in
lieu of taxes and place it on an equitable basis.
(j) How provide for an effective working relationship between
the Federal Government and the States in the handling of wildlife
on Federal lands.
(k) How carry a long-term affirmative program, particularly if
it cannot be made self-liquidating.
6. A sixth group of major problems centers in the social and eco-
nomic aspects of integrated range and crop agriculture.
How prevent further human wastage and insure reasonable stand-
ards of living and social and economic security for the maximum
number of people that the combined range and cropland resource
can support. The handling of all lands regardless of ownership is
involved.
7. A seventh group of major problems centers in basic knowledge.
(a) How obtain the basic information needed by both private
and public owners on the biological, social, and economic phases of
the conservation and use of the entire range resource.
(b) How insure the application of this knowledge by private
owners and public-land managers.
In briefest form the lines of action of greatest immediate urgency
and importance are-
1. For the range and soil resource.-To stop further soil and for-
age depletion, start both on the upgrade, reduce excessive stocking,
and place all range lands under management.
2. For land ownership and use.-To rectify existing maladjust-
ments and obtain a sound distribution of ownership between pri-
vate and various public agencies, build up economic private and
public units, balance and integrate crop and range use, and cor-
relate the livestock, watershed, forest, wildlife, and recreation forms
of range land uses and services.
3. For privately owned range lands and livestock.-To relieve
private owners of submarginal and high watershed and other pub-
lic-value lands, obtain a recognition of the responsibility of steward-
ship, reduce excessive stocking, place lands under management, re-
store cheap range feed, build up economic units, and minimize or
remove various other financial handicaps.
4. For State and county lands.-To reconcile range conservation
and the financial needs of State institutions, place lands under ad-
ministration and management by agricultural agencies, solve the tax
delinquency problem, and share the acquisition of submarginal and
high public-value lands.
5. For Federal range lands.-To transfer the grazing districts to
the Department of Agriculture; place all remaining lands under
administration and management; to interpret and probably amend
the Taylor Grazing Act to provide for a sound distribution of graz-
ing privileges, prevent the establishment of prescriptive rights, and
provide for the correlation of various grazing uses; and share the
acquisition of submarginal and high public-value lands.






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


6. For social and economic security.-To prevent further human
wastage and insure social and economic security for the population
dependent on the combined range-cropland resource.
7. For basic knowledge.-To obtain and apply the information
necessary for the conservation and wise use of the range resource
for public betterment.
Implicit in these problems and lines of action is the question of
the desirability or necessity, if Federal obligations are to be fully
redeemed, for the full concentration of responsibility for public
action in a single agency. A similar question holds for the States.

To RESTORE AND MAINTAIN THE RANGE

It is perfectly clear from the preceding discussion that the range
resource-the forage and the soil on which it grows-is the key to
all forms of use and hence to all the social and economic benefits
which should flow from such uses.
The most urgent range resource problems are to stop further
deterioration of forage and soil and start both on the upgrade. The
ultimate objective is full restoration and permanent maintenance in
full productivity. The means which must be employed to accom-
plish both purposes is to reduce excessive stocking to what the range
can carry and improve, and to place all range lands under
management.
If the range is to serve its greatest usefulness, plans for stopping
deterioration, and for restoration and maintenance, must be formu-
lated around the highest form or forms of use, whether for the
grazing of domestic livestock, for the services which watersheds
should render, for timber production, for the production of wildlife,
or for recreation.
FOR LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION

One specific indication of the size of the job of halting further
deterioration, of restoration, and of maintenance is the 728 million
acres of range land which it must cover.
A specific indication of the size of the restoration job is the fact
that the present grazing capacity of the range as a whole must be
increased by about 110 percent to reach its original condition. Still
further, as shown by table 3, restoration must provide for more than
633 million acres now depleted more than one-fourth, nearly 390 mil-
lion acres more than half, and nearly 120 million acres more than
three-fourths.
TABLE 3.-The restoration Job in terms of areas now depleted

Area depleted
Depletion classes
1,000 acres Percent

Moderate (0-25 percent)....-..- .......-.... ..................................... 94,825 13.0
Material (26-50 percent)...-.---------------... ----.... ---............-.......... 244,997 33.7
Severe (51-76 percent)...---------------------------.. .................... ........... 270,470 37. 1
Extreme (76-100 percent)..--..--------... ....-- ...-...--...- -........... 117,904 16.2
Total....-----.-------.. ----....... --.......--...-- ..-....-- ...... 728,196 100





THE WESTERN RANGE


In briefest form the specific lines of action required are:
1. First and by all odds most important, the reduction of stocking
to the actual present grazing capacity. Since present stocking of
the entire range area, now 17.3 million animal units, is 60 percent in
excess of its estimated capacity, it will have to be reduced by about
6.5 million animal units.
The guiding principle should be stocking year after year with
the number of animals which each unit will support each season
without injury to the range. The outstanding need for restoration
and the wide fluctuations of climate and hence of forage production
require conservative stocking for satisfactory results, and this under
most conditions should leave from 20 to 30 percent of the palatable
growth of the important forage plants during average years. In
addition, stocking should be low enough to prevent injury to water-
sheds and tree growth, and should be properly correlated with wild-
life and recreational requirements.
The practical difficulties involved in such reductions are fully
recognized, but the owners of private lands and managers of public
lands should not overlook the possibility that actual returns will be
greater in the long run from conservation than from continued over-
grazing. They may be greater immediately. The reduction figures
given are for the entire range. Not all ranges and individual hold-
ings are overstocked. Many stockmen who have overstocked free
public ranges in self-protection will undoubtedly welcome the oppor-
tunity to make reductions to actual grazing capacity when these
ranges are placed under administration and the feed for their live-
stock is assured.
2. A judicious balance for range rehabilitation between natural
and artificial revegetation.
The cheapest and most practical method of halting destruction and
of restoration on about 635 million acres or 87 percent of the total
range areas is through the control of the stocking and the use of
sound grazing systems. This means in essence merely giving the
native forage a chance to come back under its own marvelous
recuperative powers.
On about 38 million acres, or 5 percent, of the most completely
depleted areas such as abandoned farm lands and those which are
most critical from the standpoint of watershed protection, the choice
lies between artificial revegetation, which has a great advantage in
time but will cost about $2.85 per acre, and waiting for natural
processes, which according to the best information now available
would require from about 20 years as a minimum to perhaps 50
years as a maximum.
3. Putting into effect on the ground the best available systems of
grazing, including deferred and rotation grazing, continual moderate
grazing, and alternate grazing, which are described in more detail
elsewhere in the report. The use of these systems is required in both
restoration and subsequent maintenance, as are also all of the follow-
ing lines of action.
Such systems are in effect on about 80 percent of the national-
forest ranges, possibly 40 or 45 percent of Indian lands, and 10 to 15
percent of private and State lands.
4. Adjustments of seasons of grazing to safeguard forage plant
vigor and prevent damage to the soil.





THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS 43

Such seasonal adjustments have been made on at least 85 percent
of the national-forest ranges and seasonal use is probably satisfactory
on one-third to one-half of other ownerships.
5. Insuring the use of each range unit by the class of animals for
which it is best suited. Where the wrong class of stock is grazed,
especial care in stocking and management will be required. On pub-
lic lands, at least, the proper balance between livestock and game
is necessary.
About 80 percent of the national-forest ranges are grazed with
the proper class of livestock, but information on other ownerships
is not available. This phase of management will be increasingly
important as the need for greater efficiency in the use of available
forage is recognized.
6. Employment of all practical means such as salt control, water
development, herding, and in some cases fencing, to obtain the closest
practical approach to even distribution of stock over the range and
to reduce livestock handling costs.
Such means are in effect in varying degrees on a rather high per-
centage of national-forest ranges, on possibly half the private ranges,
and on still lower percentages of other ownerships.
7. The preparation and use of practical range management plans,
which for most private owners can be very simple. For the private
owner, public assistance in their preparation should be made avail-
able through extension services.
Serviceable range management plans have been prepared for ap-
proximately 82 percent of the national-forest ranges and intensive
plans for 48 million acres. Nearly 57 million acres, including inter-
mingled lands, still need range surveys as a prerequisite for fully
satisfactory plans. General plans have also been prepared or are
in preparation for all Indian range lands, but 28 million acres re-
quire range surveys for intensive plans. Nearly 150 million acres
of rn7ing districts and other Federal range lands will need surveys
formanaement plans Many private owners have sketchy plans
for handling their ranges but only a small percentage have devel-
oped and applied plans adequate to prevent deterioration and in-
sure rehabilitation of depleted ranges.
8. Animal husbandry is an essential part of the livestock enter-
prise. Despite rather marked progress, there is still room for im-
provement. Better practices such as the use of high-quality sires,
limited breeding seasons, the culling of aged cows and ewes, supple-
mental feeding designed to offset mineral deficiencies in range feed,
etc., should increase calf and lamb crops, improve the quality of the
animals, and increase the prices received. Owners should then be
able to obtain the same or greater income from smaller herds and to
graze their ranges more conservatively.
FOR WATERSHED PROTECTION

For satisfactory watershed protection, a range service at least
equal in value to that for livestock grazing, the following additional
provisions are necessary:
1. If some necessary precautions are taken, restoration, and main-
tenance of plant cover adequate to meet watershed requirements
satisfactorily on most ranges is possible under grazing.





44 THE WEST1EN RANGE

2. On approximately 135 million acres of depleted range, accord-
ing to the best information available, more conservative utilization
or greater care in the use of grazing systems, in seasonal use, etc.,
than that necessary to restore and maintain forage will be required.
3. In some instances, such as seriously eroding areas on the water-
sheds of important streams, temporary closure to all grazing will
be necessary in the public interest. Perhaps 50 million acres may
be involved since this will include the 38 million acres requiring arti-
ficial revegetation.
4. Small critical range areas, perhaps not to exceed 5 percent of
the total range area, will require special erosion-control measures.
The exact conditions under which the cheaper and more practical
means of natural revegetation must be supplemented by special
measures is uncertain, and the most effective measures and what
they will cost, are still in an experimental stage.
5. Limited areas, such as municipal watersheds, and those of irri-
gation reservoirs where the plant cover is on a hair-trigger balance
because of adverse conditions, will need to be closed permanently to
grazing. A total of about 11.5 million acres fall into this category.

FOR TIMBER PRODUCTION
Included in the range area is about 78 million acres of forest land
capable of producing commercial timber crops. Nearly 90 percent
is in national forest and private ownership. Under proper man-
agement livestock can ordinarily be grazed without jeopardizing
the more profitable use for timber growing.
An additional 76 million acres classified as range lands in this
report contains forests which will not grow commercial timber
products. Here, ordinarily, the choice of dominant use will be
between grazing and watershed protection.

FOR WILDLIFE

1. The primary requirement for wildlife is the nearest feasible
approach to natural environmental conditions through halting fur-
ther range deterioration, and through restoration and maintenance.
Along with this must go clear-cut recognition of the fact that wild-
life is a product of the land and can satisfactorily be produced only
as a crop.
2. If properly managed the wildlife resource need not, except on
limited areas, conflict seriously with the use of the range for other
purposes. For big game animals and waterfowl, exclusive use may
be required of only relatively limited areas of range land, in addi-
tion to the 2.8 million acres already reserved in the national forests,
and areas acquired by the Biological Survey for migratory bird
refuges and other wildlife preservation.
3. The strengthening of the basis for cooperation between the
Federal Government and the States is a badly needed initial step
in the handling of game on Federally owned lands.
4. Beyond this, the development of a coordinated administration
of wildlife on all lands regardless of ownership is necessary.
5. The working out of some way to retain hunting and fishing
privileges for the average man, which the American sportsman re-





THE MAJO1t lIANGE PROBLEMS


gards as a birthright, is an increasing challenge, as is also some
incentive to private landowners to produce and protect game.
6. Other considerations include-
(a) Recognition of the need for wildlife management plans and
provision for actual preparation.
(b) Selection of the personnel in game administration agencies
by the merit system rather than by political preference. This neces-
sarily includes the recognition of wildlife management as a
profession.
(c) Provision for needed refuges and sanctuaries.
)The ironing out of difficulties in licensing and law enforce-
ment.
(e) Provision for the artificial planting of game where needed
and feasible.
FOR RECREATION

1. Recognition of the inspirational, social, and economic value of
recreation, taking into account its phenomenal recent and probable
future growth.
2. Recognition of the fact that range lands have an important
recreational function although it is seldom their dominant use.
3. Careful planning, which under most conditions will make pos-
sible full recreational use without undue restriction of either live-
stock use or that by wildlife.
4. Such local adjustments in grazing use as may be necessary.
5. The cash value of recreation in which livestock producers
share is an important factor offsetting possible losses. The western
"dude ranch" is an example of direct returns, but community returns
benefit livestock producers indirectly.
FOR PRIVATE LANDS AND LIVESTOCK

Three hundred seventy-six million acres of western range land is
in private ownership. During a few decades, livestock grazing has
depleted this area by 51 percent; 85 percent or about 318 million
acres is still going down; more than 15 million acres will require
artificial revegetation; only about 12 percent or 44 million acres is
in good or fairly satisfactory condition.
The magnitude of the private-land problem in area, in estimated
present grazing capacity, and in potential grazing capacity 50 years
hence, is shown graphically in figure 19 in comparison with public
holdings.
The lines of action involving privately owned lands and livestock,
which have been designated of greatest immediate urgency and im-
portance in an affirmative, program, should be repeated in order to
bring the provisions which follow into sharper focus; to relieve
private owners of lands which they cannot carry and redeem the
responsibilities of stewardship reverse the process of forage and soil
depletion by reducing overstocking and placing all lands under man-
agement for their highest forms of use, restore cheap range feed,
balance range and cropland use, and to build up economic units and
minimize or remove other financial handicaps.
The private ownership of land is so ingrained in our national
philosophy that the obvious action called for on range lands is to






46 THE WESTERN RANGE

afford to private owners the most favorable possible opportunity to
hold all lands which are above the submarginal line, or which do
not have a special public interest. This more specifically requires
combined private and public action to remove or at least to mini-
mize the handicaps which have served to make private ownership
precarious under all but the most favorable conditions.
Range lands which, because of low inherent productivity and high
ownership costs, are clearly submarginal for private ownership, or
which have high public values involving expenditures beyond pri-

OWNERSHIP AREA GRAZING CAPACITY


Federal
National Forests ............
Public Domain,
Grazing Dist,etc..... ......

Indian Lands .......... .................

State and County.............. .......

All Public .........

Private ............ .... .-


400 300 200 100 0 2 4 6 8 10 12
MILLION ACRES MILLION ANIMAL UNITS
Available Present Grazing Potential Grazing
i Range Area Capacity Capacity (50years)


FIGURE 19.-GRAZING CAPACITIES, PRESENT AND POTENTIAL, BY OWNERSHIPS.
Privately owned lands comprise only slightly more than half the range area, but have
more than double the present potential grazing capacity of public lands. Such
public lands as national forests, the grazing districts, and the public domain are
much more important than either acreage or grazing capacity alone indicates, the
national forests because of the shortage of summer range and the grazing districts
because of the shortage of winter range. Furthermore, these public holdings are the
largest areas under single forms of control. Private ownership is not the simple,
compact entity that the diagram indicates, but is made up of several hundred
thousand ranch, corporate, and other holdings. The transfer of any such area as 125
million acres from private to public ownership will make significant changes in the
relationships shown.
vate means fall into an entirely different category. The ways in
which private owners may be relieved of the burden of carrying
such lands, which total about one-third of those now privately held,
are discussed later. Under the most favorable conditions which can
now be foreseen, many years will be required for such a transfer.
While nominally the following discussion covers the entire area in
private ownership, it deals primarily in fact with the lands above
the marginal line and without high public value which will remain
permanently in such ownership. But it must be recognized that the
submarginal and high public value lands will constitute a particu-
larly acute problem prior to transfer.





THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


The universal private ownership of domestic livestock, large
numbers of which graze on public lands, broadens the problems of
the stockman far beyond his own land holdings and increases the
public responsibility for the welfare of the livestock industry.
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF STEWARDSHIP

For reasons already outlined, the private owner's responsibility
for the stewardship of land is a concept conspicuous largely by its
absence in the United States. Ownership has been regarded as
carrying the right of unrestricted use even though it meant de-
struction and even though the evil consequences of destruction did
not stop with the owner but extended to the public and to posterity.
Basic to the restoration and conservation of the range resource is
the recognition of an entirely different philosophy: that ownership
carries with it the obligation and responsibility for preservation,
which the owner owes to himself, to his descendents, and to the
public.
Satisfactory recognition and practical application can be obtained
only by the fullest cooperation of private and public agencies in
such ways as: (1) Local regulatory laws on the use of land; (2)
framing and adoption of land policies; (3) land zoning and plan-
ning; and (4) various other measures outlined in more detail in
the following.
RANGE MANAGEMENT, ANIMAL HUSBANDRY, ETO.

Information is already available on simple practical systems of
range management and the handling of stock on open ranges which
will permit vast improvement over existing practices, and which
should increase the financial returns of the stockman and at the
same time restore and perpetuate his basic resource. Although ani-
mal-husbandry practices are far in advance of range management
on private lands, there is still room for improvement.
Involved are:
1. The recognition of cheap range feed as the outstanding com-
petitive advantage of the western stockman.
2. The recognition of overstocking followed by the necessary re-
ductions, which from the information now available for privately
owned ranges as a whole will have to be about 38 percent (figs. 20
and 21).
3. The application of sound systems of management and handling
of livestock on the range. This and the preceding should stop de-
pletion and start recovery on the 318 million acres which are still
deteriorating.
4. Artificial revegetation on 15 million acres.
5. Water development, fencing, and other improvements, rodent
control, etc., as a basis for range improvement and better use of
the range.
6. Simple, practical range management plans based on actual
conditions-in essence, carefully considered planwise efforts to raise
the standards of handling all ranges.
7. Better animal-husbandry practices, such as breeding, culling,
supplemental feeding, etc.






48 THE WESTERN RANGE

The private operator has both an opportunity and an obligation
to put such measures into effect individually or through cooperative
associations.


6
MILLION ANIMAL UNITS


FIGURE 20.-EXCESSIVE STOCKING ON PRIVATE RANGES.
One of the most crucial and immediate problems on privately owned range lands is the
reduction of excess stocking, estimated at about 4.5 million animal units. No other
single form of action will do more to stop deterioration and start the ranges on the
upgrade.

The public can make a large contribution by conducting research
and giving advice and assistance through extension agencies in
accordance with the plan followed in crop agriculture.

CLASS OF EXCESS STOCKING
OWNERSHIP


National Forests

Indian Lands-

Private----

Public Domain,
Grazing Dist's,etc

State and County

O 20 40 60 80 100
PERCENT

FIGURE 21.-PERCENT OF EXCESS STOCKING BY OWNERSHIPS.
Except on the national forests, the removal of excess stock is a critical problem. Even
on the national forests, where the excess is relatively small, the problem will be
difficult.

Where large cash outlays are required for revegetation, erosion
control, range improvements, etc., public assistance might take the
form of doing a part of the work or of subsidies provided, in view






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS 49

of the recent A. A. A. Supreme Court decision, they can be made
conditional upon requirements for improved range practices, or
provided some other effective means can be worked out.
The Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act may provide
a means for aiding both private and public owners to restore and
maintain the soil and range resource. Any payments to private
owners or tenants, or to the permittees on public ranges, which may
be made under this act, should among other things be conditional
upon livestock reductions to the grazing capacity of the range, and
upon such other requirements as satisfactory systems of range
management, proper seasonal use, etc.
Among the responsibilities of stewardship carried with private
ownership of land is watershed protection. The major part of
watershed responsibilities for especially hazardous conditions must,
however, be borne by the public.
About 25 million acres of privately owned forest land capable of
growing commercial timber is valuable also and available for graz-
ing. On such lands higher returns can ordinarily be obtained from
timber growing, and consequently it will be in the self-interest of
the owner to make timber growing the dominant purpose of manage-
ment. Timber returns can usually, however, be supplemented by
those from livestock grazing.
For the production of game some form of compensation to the
private owner will be necessary, either by sportsmen's associations
or the States. Precedents exist in several States.

RECONSTRUCTION OF ECONOMIC UNITS

As a result of factors already discussed, including unsuitable land
policies, large numbers of land units in the West are uneconomic
from the standpoint of supporting families under reasonable stand-
ards of living, and hence socially undesirable. Such units fall into
three classes: (1) Undersized cash-crop livestock units; (2) under-
sized livestock units; (3) oversized livestock units.
Sound economic units will vary within wide limits because of
radically different regional and local conditions and the differences
in individual enterprises. The formulation of guiding principles for
working out such units constitutes an exceedingly complex and diffi-
cult problem, and the application will be even more difficult and time
consuming.
The tendency already begun to build units up to economic size
should be encouraged. Provision will have to be made, however,
for the resettlement on irrigation projects or otherwise of people who
are eliminated.
The tendency for oversized units to break down should be en-
couraged and this should help to take care of excess population
eliminated in building up small units.
The size of satisfactory units may under some conditions be held
down by a greater diversification of crops and at the same time a
more stable agriculture assured. The building up of range pro-
ductivity should also be a factor in holding down the size of satis-
factory range units.
The addition to the already large area of public range land of
about one-third of the land now privately held will accentuate the
64946-36--5






50 THE WESTERN RANGE

place which the use of public lands must fill in economic units. The
availability of public lands will reduce the size for private units.
It must be recognized, however, that the total area of range land is
not large enough to meet all requirements, that practically all ranges
are already badly overstocked, and that the soundest use of public
range will be to build up economic units and not to perpetuate
uneconomic units.
The availability of public ranges on the national forests, grazing
districts, and State lands should afford an opportunity for labor to
supplement income and hence to reduce the size of private units
which would otherwise be necessary.
Despite the fact that up to the present economic units have not
insured satisfactory handling of the range, they do, theoretically
at least, constitute an essential basis for stabilizing private ownership
and insuring economic security, and should accordingly receive
corresponding attention.
INFLATED LAND VALUES

Both owners and their creditors must be prepared to accept defla-
tion of range-land prices to actual values, and public agencies can
render material aid by placing credit on a sound basis. Authorita-
tive information on values, obtained by research, should be invalu-
able as a guide.
PRODUCTION CONTROL

The excess of annual exports over imports in "meat and meat
products" dropped by more than 80 percent, to $49,000,000, between
the 4-year period ending June 30, 1926, and that ending June 30,
1935. Net imports of "wool and mohair" decreased by nearly 90
percent, to $15,000,000 for the same periods.
These changes reflect both a decreasing export market and chang-
ing requirements at home. Stockmen no longer have the advantage
of a continuously expanding domestic market.
Manufacturers can rather easily restrict their output to demands,
but because of the nature of the enterprise similar action by livestock
producers is much more difficult. Some means of avoiding unman-
ageable surpluses will undoubtedly be desirable in the interest of the
producer and consumer alike.
MARKETS

To overcome marketing handicaps producers have in their own
hands such means as cooperative associations and the uniform grad-
ing of their products. The public can continue to assist by encour-
aging cooperative marketing; by studying such questions as distribu-
tion, marketing differentials, the demands of the trade, etc., and
making the information available; and by preventing combinations
in restraint of trade and unfair practices prejudicial to the livestock
producer.
CREDIT

The prime needs in the credit situation are to adapt credits to the
requirements of the livestock industry, as to period of loans and






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS 51

rate of interest, to base loans on the productivity of both the range
resource and livestock as collateral, and to couple with loans the
requirement that the range resource be maintained.
More favorable and satisfactory public credit facilities are rapidly
being developed under the Farm Credit Administration.

TAXATION

Much more exact information is required before any great im-
provement in the taxation system can be expected. While the task
of obtaining such information is a public obligation, the livestock
industry can encourage such undertakings.

RESEARCH AND EXTENSION

Both research and extension are primarily public responsibilities,
but should be encouraged by the livestock interests. The program
needed is outlined hereafter.

IN PUBLIC LAND ADMINISTRATION

Exclusive of that proposed for Federal and State acquisition, the
areas of publicly owned or controlled range land with which the
following program deals are summarized in table 4.
TABLE 4.-Area, of publicly owned range lands

Ownership or control Range area Avale
range

Federal: Acres Acres
National forests........----------......... ----------...... 88,000,000 82, 00,000
Grazing districts.........-------.............................. 1 65, 00,000 2 60,600,000
Public domain-..-..----....-..-----------------------... 186,700,000 2 67,200, 000
Other...........------------------------------...........................................--- 23,000,000 21,600,000
Indian lands...-----------------------------------------------48, 400,000 48,400,000
State, county, etc....------.----------...........----------- 65, 00, 000 65,100,000

2 Gross area.
2 Also total range area.

Here again, despite repetition, the action of greatest immediate
urgency and importance should be restated in order to obtain the
proper emphasis on the various provisions of the public range land
program proposed: To transfer jurisdiction to agricultural agencies
in order to obtain effective correlation and administration; place
all remaining lands under administration in order to reduce exces-
sive stocking, get ranges under management, and reverse forage and
soil depletion processes; in administration and management, to fol-
low the multiple-use principle, obtain a sound distribution of the
grazing privilege, and avoid prescriptive rights; consolidate hold-
ings into efficient administrative units; relieve private owners of the
lands they cannot carry, by purchase or acceptance of gifts; rectify
the chaotic tax-delinquency situation; and use public lands as an
affirmative ineans to social and economic security.






52 THE WESTERN RANGE

FEDERAL RANGE LAND JURISDICTION

One of the most urgent problems confronting the administration
of the Federal range lands is that of jurisdiction. The 82.5 mil-
lion acres of available range in the national forests is administered
by the Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture, but the 60.6
million acres already in grazing districts is administered by the
Grazing Division in the Department of the Interior. The latter
Department is also responsible for the 67.2 million acres in the pub-
lic domain which have not been placed under administration.
Some fundamental differences in national forest, and grazing dis-
trict and public-domain lands, as well as some fundamental similari-
ties, must be recognized. The national forests contain important
timber, watershed, wildlife, and recreational resources which are
intermingled with and cannot be segregated from the range resource.
The grazing districts, the public domain, and various other un-
managed Federal withdrawals are largely arid or semiarid lands
valuable primarily for grazing, but in part having very high water-
shed values and also values for wildlife and recreation.
Because of the fundamental differences, the territorial integrity of
both classes of units should be maintained. But some boundary ad-
justments are needed to place in each the resources it is designed
primarily to conserve, to round out natural topographic units, and
to simplify administration.
Because of the fundamental similarities, the range administra-
tion of both classes must be closely correlated. Both must be in-
tegrated with ranch and farm lands, and in many cases with the
same lands. Large numbers of livestock, and game in some in-
S stances, are dependent on the national forests for summer range
and the grazing districts for winter range. The grazing districts
can relieve the shortage of spring-fall range on the national forests.
Some range improvements can serve both classes of land. Both can
benefit by an interchange of supervisory and technical services and
information.
Having to deal with two entirely distinct personnel groups in two
Departments on different phases of a single problem creates an im-
possible situation for the user. Policies, procedure, legislation, point
of view, and basic theories which should be consistent are bound to
differ.
Practical experience shows conclusively that misunderstandings,
conflicts, and jurisdictional disputes, all of which reduce efficiency
and public service, are bound to arise. Stockmen are placed in a
position 'in which the easiest way out may seem to be to play one
department against the other, often to their own detriment and that
of the resource.
Finally the ultimate cost to the public of separate departmental
jurisdiction, assuming thoroughly efficient administration, and tak-
ing duplication of effort and field and overhead organizations, etc.,
into account, will certainly be higher. In short, there seems to be no
justification whatever for splitting jurisdiction between two depart-
ments.
A decision on the most logical and effective jurisdiction should
take the following factors into account:






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


The management of range and also of forest lands is agriculture
pure and simple. It deals with the soil, the interrelation of soil and
plant cover, water and climate, with plants and animals, the dis-
eases and insects affecting both, with the maintenance of biological
balances between plant and animal life, with the growing and har-
vesting or utilization of crops, in fact, with all of the "problems
relating to the growth from the soil." It deals with the economic
and social as well as the biological problems of land use in all of
their phases. It must rest upon the biological and economic sciences
which have to do with soil, water, climate, plants, animals, and land.
The forage on public ranges is used by livestock from the farms
and ranches, which are fed increasingly on farm forage crops. West-
ern crops are largely dependent on irrigation'water from forest and
range watersheds. The use of the public range and forest land and
private range and farm land is interrelated in innumerable other
ways.
The Department of Agriculture, as one of its major projects, is
attempting to meet the Federal obligation to help- agriculture
develop a sound program. In this undertaking the problems of the
public range and forest lands cannot be separated from those of
other range and crop lands.
Nearly all the Federal bureaus charged with research and admin-
istration relating directly and vitally to forestry and range man-
agement and to the development of a land-use program are in the
Department of Agriculture (fig. 84). It is the duly constituted and
authorized Federal agency for dealing with the agriculturist. It
works in close cooperation with the State agricultural colleges, ex-
periment stations, and extension services.
The Department of Agriculture is, therefore, the logical and, in
fact, the only well-equipped department for the administration of
federally owned range and forest lands.

PRINCIPLES OF ADMINISTRATION

The principles which should govern the administration of all fed-
erally owned range lands, whether on the national forests or the
grazing districts, including the public domain and other Federal
withdrawals and reservations, are:
1. Management which will restore and maintain in perpetuity on
a sustained yield basis, and utilize, all of the resources of the land.
2. The correlated use of all the resources to obtain the highest
net public benefits.
3. The integration of the public-range resources with privately
owned crop and range lands to obtain the highest benefits from all of
the lands locally, regionally, and nationally.
4. An equitable distribution of the grazing privilege, based on
the highest net public benefits, to those who are dependent upon and
are entitled to use the range.
5. Readjustments of land ownership and use where needed and
justified to facilitate economical and efficient management and ad-
ministration of public range lands.
6. A decentralized administration qualified to settle local problems
in accordance with local requirements, and responsive to the advice






THE WESTERN RANGE


and assistance of local users to the extent consistent with the protec-
tion of the public interest-the antithesis of bureaucracy.
The application of these principles requires a far greater devel-
opment of research than has hitherto been possible, and the prompt
and full use of the findings. The purpose of enhancing private
opportunity on lands suitable for such ownership, and the still
broader purpose of insuring the greatest possible social and economic
stability of the dependent agricultural and other population, must
underlie the entire administration of the public range resource.
NATIONAL FORESTS

The principles outlined, with occasional minor modifications to
meet conditions, have been the basis for national forest administra-
tion for many years. The chief tasks of the future are:
1. A reduction in stocking averaging 6.5 percent to reach the
present grazing capacity of the range (fig. 21). Restoration during
the next 50 years should make it possible for these ranges to carry
20 percent more stock than the present grazing capacity of the range.
2. A strengthening of range management; including the prepara-
tion and use of intensive management plans on the 40 million acres
not now so covered and periodical revision when necessary; seasonal
adjustments not satisfactorily solved on about 12 percent of range
allotments; reseeding of about 780,000 acres; other special treatment
for sore spots; improvements such as water developments and fenc-
ing, rodent control, etc.
3. Improvement in the basis for the distribution of the grazing
privileges to insure a more effective tie with privately owned lands
and to afford greater security to the small private operation de-
pendent on and entitled to use public ranges.
4. Occasional changes for a better correlation of range uses.
Approximately half, or 43 million acres, of the national forest
range area is forest land capable of producing commercial timber.
On such lands timber production will have to be the dominant use
because of the provisions of organic legislation and the general
purposes for which the national forests were created. Grazing use
will generally be possible but will have to be made contingent upon
the protection of forest growth and continuous forest production.
About 22 million acres additional is noncommercial forest in which
the correlation required will be between livestock grazing and water-
shed protection.
Since organic national forest legislation provides for "maintain-
ing favorable conditions of water flow" the handling of livestock
grazing must insure watershed protection. On relatively limited
areas special erosion-control measures are required.

GRAZING DISTRICTS, PUBLIO DOMAIN, AND OTHER FEDERAL

Practically the entire problem of placing the grazing districts and
public domain under management lies ahead. The complexity and
difficulty of the task is accentuated by the existing depletion of
nearly 70 percent, by the fact that 93 percent is still on the down
grade, by long-established traditions of use, by an extremely involved






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


ownership pattern in some regions, and by private holdings of key
areas in others.
To carry out such an essential measure as placing the remaining
half of the public domain under administration and to insure
permanence will require the modification of existing legislation.
To carry out other essential measures-such as an equitable dis-
tribution of grazing privileges; the reduction of stocking, which
now exceeds grazing capacity by 43 percent (fig. 21), to insure co-
ordinated use of all the range resources; to avoid the establishment
of prescriptive rights; and to avoid a conflict between Federal and
State authority-will require exceptionally favorable interpretation
of the Grazing Act in the public interest, and probably also its
modification.
In addition to the reduction of stocking, essentials in the field of
technical management include putting sound systems of range man-
agement into effect, making adjustments in seasonal use, artificial
restoration on at least 18 million acres, the control of erosion on
many millions of acres, surveys, preparation and putting manage-
ment plans into effect for the entire area, and a large improve-
ment program designed to aid technical management.
The measures proposed should increase the present grazing ca-
pacity of the grazing district-public domain range by 76 percent
in 50 years. Or putting it in another way, 50 years' effort will be
necessary to build the range up to the point where it can carry
safely the livestock now being grazed.
Some provision should be made for the administration and man-
agement of the 21.6 million acres of available range on other reserva-
tions and withdrawals, preferably by the Secretary of Agriculture
with the concurrence of the Secretary of primary jurisdiction.
Definite provision is necessary also to prevent further alienation
of Federal lands unsuitable for private ownership. One prerequi-
site for transfer should be classification by the Department of Agri-
culture, which should appraise not only the suitability of the land
for private ownership but also the size of the unit required.

INDIAN LANDS
The primary objective in range management on 48 million acres of
Indian owned but federally controlled range land' is the social and
economic advancement and security of the Indians.
The major and most pressing task is the rehabilitation of de-
pleted ranges. For all Indian lands an estimated reduction in
stocking averaging 26 percent is required to reach grazing capacity
(fig. 21), and a still higher reduction is necessary on the half of
the Indian grazing land in the Southwest where the depletion is
worst.
This is a difficult situation, for unless depletion is stopped the
Indians face ruin through the loss of one of their most important
resources, but drastic livestock reductions will create another difficult
problem. Removal of white-owned livestock, more equitable dis-
tribution of grazing privileges among the Indians, the purchase of
additional range, the initiation of work projects, and the develop-
ment of supplemental industries are possible shock absorbers.






56 THE WESTERN RANGE

Reductions in stocking must be accompanied by other improve-
ments in range management, removal of worthless horses, rodent
control, special erosion control, and artificial revegetation.
The consummation of the program proposed will, it is estimated,
permit the grazing of about 13 percent more livestock 50 years
hence than are now grazed.
STATE AND COUNTY LANDS

State and county range lands, ;lL,',:1tiHi some 66 million acres,
fall into two general classes.
The first is the remnant of Federal grants to States designed to
produce revenue for schools and other institutions. In the main
these lands have been leased without control to obtain maximum
current revenue and as a result have been depleted by 49 percent,
and 88 percent of the total area is still on the downgrade.
The difficulty of the problem that the States face in these lands
should not be minimized. The policy so far followed will ulti-
mately defeat the purpose of the grants unless ways and means
are developed to restore and conserve the resources which give the
lands their value. In some instances already the ranges have been
depreciated so far that they can no longer be leased. While con-
stitutional and other limitations have been a factor, the very fact
that these lands have not already been sold is an indication that a
substantial part is submarginal for private ownership and should
be retained by the public.
The other horn of the dilemma is that the State institutions are
dependent in varying degree upon the receipts, and the range can-
not be restored and administered without expenditures which may
equal the receipts. The soundest course in the long run will prob-
ably be to restore and maintain the resource, making what other
provision may be necessary for the institutions.
The second class is made up of private lands which have reverted
to the States or counties through tax delinquency. That the total
area is large is certain, but its exact extent is unknown. Much
tax-delinquent land is still in a twilight zone between private and
public ownership. Without doubt submarginality for private own-
ership is a primary cause. Depletion is also a primary cause be-
cause it has reduced the productive capacity of the lands and hence
the returns from them. The combined depression and drought has
hit hardest the poor and depleted lands and uneconomic units.
To meet the increasingly serious problem created by this "new
public domain" a revolutionary change in policy in most if not all
States is required. Only those lands above the marginal line on
which the private owner has a chance for success, and those without
high public values, should be returned to private ownership. Those
below and those with high public values should be retained under
public control. A differentiation can be worked out by such means
as classification or zoning. On tax-reverted lands the problems of
restoration and management are identical with those on institutional
lands.
Except for possible minor modifications the principles which
should govern management and administration are the same as those
for Federal lands. A primary consideration will necessarily have






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS 57

to be, as for Federal lands, the placing of responsibility for a purely
agricultural function in agricultural agencies. Widely scattered
small units will require consolidations through exchanges or other-
wise. Stocking should be reduced to what the range can safely
carry (fig. 21). State and Federal cooperation may be helpful in
some instances.
PUBLIC ACQUISITION

A program has been outlined, having as its objective the keeping
of private ownership as fully in the range picture as reasonable
financial returns permit, by the removal of existing handicaps and
the solution of existing problems.
The swing from public to private ownership has gone so far,
however, that the maximum feasible self-help by private owners
supplemented by everything that the public can reasonably be ex-
pected to contribute will still leave a major problem on a part of the
376 million acres of range land now privately owned. The classes
of land involved are:
1. Approximately 15 million acres of range land on which the
dry-farming effort has clearly failed, and on which private owner-
ship now seems to be at the end of its rope. Failure has led to tax
delinquency, abandonment, excessive relief rolls, and a long train
of other adverse social and economic consequences. Unless artificial
revegetation costing from $3 to $3.50 per acre is resorted to, nat-
ural processes will not restore the forage cover for years or even
decades. The cost of revegetation or the alternative of protracted
holding of unproductive land are both beyond the capacity of the
private owner. Some other constructive action is therefore called
for on what was, and is potentially, some of the best or most needed
western range.
2. Range lands submarginal for private ownership, because of low
or uncertain forage productivity, excessive depletion and slow re-
covery, high ownership costs such as investments required, improve-
ments, taxes, etc. Low productivity and high costs are both accen-
tuated by marketing costs, which are very high for all of the far
western range States except California, in comparison with those
of the Middle Western States. Taking all factors into account, the
tall-grass prairies and the short-grass plains east of the Rockies
offer the most favorable opportunities for private ownership, and the
salt-desert shrub and southern desert shrub of the Intermountain
and Southwest regions the least favorable. The best approximation
which can now be made places 113 million acres of this category in
ihe problem class.
3. Coinciding closely with the submarginal land area is a large
area of range lands having high public values for watershed pro-
tection. The constructive management of these lands is a critical
watershed problem, and because of the cost of the range restoration,
restricted grazing, and other special erosion-control measures re-
quired, from many of which the public rather than the private owner
will benefit, it is difficult if not impossible to hold them under pri-
vate ownership. The total area of such watershed lands is about
118 million acres. It includes about 107 million acres of more or
less seriously eroding land contributing silt to important western
streams.





THE WESTERN RANGE


4. In the high public-value class are also about 6 million acres
of privately owned range land needed in part for wildlife. These
areas are widely scattered and are required to provide for such spe-
cific wildlife needs as winter ranges for deer and elk herds which
summer in the national forests. These areas fall almost entirely
within the two preceding classes.
5. Within and adjacent to the national forests are about 18.9 mil-
lion acres of private range land, in part forested, which are needed
to round out administrative units or for other administrative pur-
poses and which should be acquired by the Federal Government.
Some of these lands are probably also submarginal for private
ownership.
Except for a small part of the land area discussed above, justifica-
tion for public ownership depends upon more than one considera-
tion. Submarginality for the greater part of the area is, for exam-
ple, accentuated by high public watershed values. After making the
necessary adjustments for the overlapping of the various classes,
the area which should be taken over by the public totals on a very
conservative basis about 125 million acres, or one-third of the range
land now in private ownership.
Outright subsidies to hold submarginal and special public-interest
lands in private ownership are very difficult to justify. For much
of the area involved they would constitute a perpetual drain on the
public treasuries, and for the private owner would merely postpone
the day of final reckoning. Other possible alternatives which should
be considered for the solution of this problem are very limited.
Legal regulation of private range lands, and particularly those
of the classes described, encounters the difficulty that improvements
in land conditions through better husbandry would cost money,
while even with past husbandry the cards have been stacked against
the private owner. Furthermore, regulation would be seriously
handicapped unless it were supported by the large majority of own-
ers, which is far from being the case.
The only additional alternatives seem to be public acquisition of
the land by tax delinquency, by gift, or by purchase.
Although the record of both Federal and State management of
range lands is spotty, the possibilities of constructive management
have been shown on the national forests and some progress has been
made on Indian lands. Even without the suggested acquisition pro-
gram both the Federal Government and the States have large un-
solved problems of range administration.
Since public acquisition in one form or another strikes directly
at the problems of what to do with lands submarginal for private
ownership and of those having high public values, it seems the only
possible course, despite the problems for which public agencies still
have to redeem their responsibilities, the long time which will be re-
quired for the consummation of the program, and the cost.
Acquisition by tax delinquency means letting the situation work
itself out gradually through the play of economic forces. This plan
has obvious advantages, and regardless of other action will have a
place in the solution, but against the advantages must be weighed
further depletion of the range resource, losses from the lack of
watershed protection, and even more important, an appalling human
wastage.






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS b0

It is quite possible that considerable areas might be given outright
to either the Federal Government or the States if the way were
paved. Further inducements might be authority to pay an equitable
proportion of accrued taxes, or the privilege of free use of the range
under proper control for a limited number of years.
For much of the area, however, the only recourse will probably
be outright purchase.
The transfer of large areas to Federal ownership will require suit-
able provision for payments to States and counties in lieu of taxes.
Similar provision for counties will be necessary for lands acquired
by the States.
This report is a first attempt to appraise the nature and extent of
the various widespread and apparent fundamental maladjustments
in ownership and in the kind of use of range lands and the remedies
for them. The conclusions on the desirable or required shifts in
ownership are necessarily approximations. A large amount of de-
tailed study covering the entire range territory will be required to
work out exact areas, locations, etc. Such detailed work is essential
also to determine an equitable division of responsibility between the
States and the Federal Government for which the data now available
does not Justify even an approximation.
One thing is clear, that the job of range-land acquisition is large
and that it is essential in the public interest. A reasonable start is
justified, even though the size of the job is not known with accuracy
and though a division between the States and the Federal Govern-
ment remains to be worked out. Since both public action and inac-
tion have helped to create the problem, it is clearly up to the public
to initiate efforts for its solution.
IN RESEARCH AND EXTENSION

Lack of knowledge, the inevitable outcome of the belated begin-
ning of research and the small scale on which it has been conducted,
has been one of the most important contributing factors to rule-of-
thumb management of the range, and hence to practically universal
range depletion and to the social and economic maladjustments and
losses which have resulted. It is partly responsible for allowing
problems inherently difficult to drift until they have become so acute
that drastic remedial action is imperative to save a great natural
resource and the population that is based on it. The high cost of
the program of rehabilitation is in part the price which must now
be paid for a lack of knowledge. And ironically, the knowledge
must still in the main be acquired.
The only alternative choice to the long, slow, costly, and incon-
clusive working out of large-scale trial and error in acquiring knowl-
edge is research. Research, in fact, offers the cheapest and the only
practical basis for obtaining the information needed to bring about
the fullest productive use of range lands for livestock grazing, water-
shed protection, forest growth, recreation, and wildlife, and for a
sound correlation of these uses.
Research and the effort necessary to carry the results into applica-
tion are needed by private owners and equally by the administra-
tors of public lands. They offer one of the most effective forms of
public aid to the private owner.





THE WESTERN RANGE


SThe major lines of research required are:
1. Range management, to improve existing systems or to develop
new systems for handling each of the range types, and covering also
degree of stocking, seasonal use, class of stock, methods of handling
livestock under range conditions, restoration by natural revegeta-
tion and subsequent maintenance in a high state of productivity.
It must include all forms of use and service.
/ Basic to range management is the need for detailed information
S on the characteristics, habits, requirements, value, etc., of individual
range plants; and also information on the characteristics, behavior,
competitive relationships, succession, soil, and other requirements,
etc., of the associations of range plants which form types.
2. Artificial revegetation, to develop quick, low-cost receding
and transplanting methods of restoring vegetation on the depleted
ranges for grazing and watershed and other purposes. For artificial
revegetation there is also the need to develop improved strains of
range plants or hybrids, and also to explore the possibility of foreign
introductions.
3. Watershed investigations, to determine methods of managing
the plant cover of range watersheds to prevent erosion, silting, and
floods, and assure the maximum supply of usable water. This in-
volves a clear understanding of the part that the cover in varying
degrees of composition, density, etc., and under different soil, topo-
graphic, climatic, grazing, and other conditions plays in erosion and
run-off. Practical special-control measures should also be developed
for use in arresting ;Ir._.iv.it.1 erosion as a preliminary to the re-
establishment of plant cover.
4. Wildlife, to develop basic principles and methods for restoring
environmental conditions and for managing the wildlife resource as
a crop, both in proper relation to other products and services of wild
lands. This necessitates also a full understanding of the life
histories, requirements, etc., of the wildlife species.
5. Animal husbandry, to improve or develop livestock strains es-
pecially adapted to range conditions and to market requirements,
and also better breeding and feeding methods.
6. Economics, to determine the proper place of western range
livestock production in the local, regional, and national picture; the
most effective integration of range and crop agriculture; costs, re-
turns, profits, and other information needed for the determination
of satisfactory economic units and for the efficient handling of in-
dividual enterprises; a sound basis for the highest use of range
land for grazing or other purposes; a sound allocation between
private and public ownership and between the States and the Federal
Government; the basis needed for policies and administration of
public lands; and, in general, the basis for sound land use and for
social and economic security.
7. Additional investigations needed include climate, entomology,
etc.
The range research so far done will permit vast improvements over
nearly all existing practices so that there is no need for delaying
initial action on a constructive program. For the full consummation
of the program recommended, however, it is only a meager beginning.






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


The responsibility for range research rests with-
The Federal Government for work on interstate, regional, and
national problems, and on local problems for the administration of
Federally owned or controlled lands.
The States for work on local and State problems and on other
problems where the administration of State lands or those of minor
political subdivisions are concerned.
Endowed institutions have the opportunity for work on a wide
range of problems, and particularly those of a fundamental
character.
Private agencies, and associations in particular, have the oppor-
tunity to round out and supplement the work which other agencies
can do.
Past experience has shown that the most effective application of
the results of agricultural research can be obtained through extension.
In the range-animal husbandry field extension activities have been
partly responsible for marked improvements, but extension in range
management has been almost wholly neglected. Provision for re-
search fails in its real objective unless its results are made known
through extension in such a way that they can be applied by the
private owner. An essential feature is aid and advice in the prepa-
ration and carrying out of sound management plans.
IN LEGISLATION

Both Federal and State legislation will be required to carry out the
program recommended. The more important provisions are:
FEDERAL
PUBLIC DOMAIN AND GRAZING DISTRICTS

1. To transfer jurisdiction of the public domain and the grazing
districts from the Department of the Interior to the Department of
Agriculture.
2. Necessary or desirable modifications of the Grazing Act of June
28, 1934:
To place all of the public domain under permanent Federal man-
agement.
To prevent the establishment of prescriptive rights.
To allow the distribution of grazing privileges necessary for both
social and economic security to the greatest number entitled to use
the range.
To authorize administration of all range resources, forage, water-
shed, wildlife, in accordance with the multiple-use principle and for
the highest public benefits.
To clarify Federal authority in the administration of its own
lands.
To authorize the leasing of isolated tracts of Federal lands of less
than 640 acres.
To authorize the President, upon the recommendation of the Na-
tional Forest Reservation Commission, to transfer to the national
forests from the public domain or the grazing districts lands which
in the judgment of the Secretary of Agriculture meet national-forest
specifications.





62 THE WESTERN RANGE

3. Unless fully authorized, as on the Indian reservations, to pro-
vide for the administration of ranges on all other Federal reserva-
tions and withdrawals, where not inconsistent with their purposes,
by the Secretary of Agriculture with the concurrence of the Secre-
tary of primary jurisdiction.
THE TRANSFER OF PRIVATE LANDS TO FEDERAL OWNERSHIP
1. To authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to transfer to national
forests or grazing districts, lands purchased by Federal agencies, if
they meet the qualifications for such units.
2. To authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to purchase range
lands submarginal for private ownership or needed for public benefits
such as watershed protection, upon approval of the National Forest
Reservation Commission, and to add them to national forests or
grazing districts.
3. To broaden existing authority so that the Secretary of Agri-
culture could make exchanges with private or other public owners
within or adjacent to national forests or grazing districts on the
basis of equal land or grazing values, in order to consolidate owner-
ships for more efficient administration, and also to pay costs of
transfer and an equitable part of unpaid taxes on donated lands.
TRANSFERS TO PRIVATE OWNERSHIP
To provide for the classification by the Secretary of Agriculture of
Federal lands in the public domain as most suitable for private own-
ership, as a prerequisite for alienation, coupled with other provisions
as to maximum size of units, etc., which will prevent a repetition of
the mistakes of the past. More study will be necessary to afford a
satisfactory basis for such legislation.

EXTENSION"
To provide for aid to private owners through extension in coopera-
tion with State agencies.
STATE
Legislation which will substitute for sale or other disposal to
private owners the retention and sustained yield management of
range lands now in State ownership or which may hereafter be
acquired, which are unsuitable for private ownership. This will
include:
1. Possible revision of State constitutions and Federal enabling
legislation.
2. The setting up of professionally qualified administrative
agencies.
3. The revision where necessary of tax-delinquency legislation.
4. Provision for consolidations through exchanges with private
owners and the Federal Government.
5. Provision for classification by competent agricultural agencies
as a prerequisite to passage to private ownership.
6. Provision for cooperation with the Federal Government on the
administration of intermingled holdings.





THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


7. Provision for the acquisition by gift or purchase and manage-
ment of lands submarginal for private ownership or having high
public values.
8. Provision for cooperative aid to private owners of range land,
in research and extension.
9. Authority to form cooperative range management associations.
10. Provision for the handling of wildlife: On a sustained crop-
management basis; with professionally trained organizations; under
flexible laws which outline principles but delegate authority to make
adjustments in administration necessary to meet rapidly changing
conditions; in cooperation with the Federal Government on Federal
lands; some reasonable incentive to private owners to protect and
produce wildlife on their lands.
COSTS AND RETRNS

The cost of carrying out any such constructive program as that
outlined for 728 million acres of range land will be high. Unfortu-
nately, postponement will only increase the final cost, because the
longer the destructive forces now in effect continue the more the
ground that must be regained. The cost will fall upon the Federal
Government, the States, and private owners.
The following estimates of cost are based on 30 years' experience
in the handling of the national forests and on special surveys con-
ducted on the public domain and on privately owned lands. The
estimates are for the amounts believed necessary to carry out the
program recommended. In the light of extended national forest
experience in which the rebuilding of the range resource has been
retarded by inadequate funds, it is not believed that the public
ranges, at least, can be restored and maintained for less than the
amounts stated. The estimates are given because of the conviction
that the public should have a full understanding of probable costs
before embarking on a much larger enterprise than that now under
way. No estimates have been made for special erosion control be-
cause of uncertainty as to the area which should receive special treat-
ment other than revegetation, and what such treatment would cost.
Special treatments are still in an early developmental stage.
The proposed expenditures fall into four categories-capital in-
vestments in improvements, current expenditures for administration,
the public acquisition of land, and research and extension.
NATIONAL FORESTS

Annual costs first 5-year period
Capital investments, including range surveys, fences, water develop-
ment, revegetation, rodent control, etc---------------__------_- $1, 140, 000
Grazing administration on 82.5 million acres at $0.0149 per acre
(present cost $0.0089 per acre or $734,000) ----------------- 1,234, 000
Wildlife administration on 120 million acres at $0.006 per acre
(present cost' $0.0018 per acre or $216,000)-------------------- 720,000
Maintenance and replacement of infprovements----------------- 742,000
Total annual cost---------------------------_--- ---____ 3, 836,000
For the second 5-year period annual expenditures for capital in-
vestments would be reduced to $910,000 and for the maintenance and






64 THE WESTERN RANGE

replacement of improvements increased to $986,000, making the total
annual cost $3,850,000.

GRAZING DISTRICTS, PUBLIC DOMAIN, AND OTHER FEDERAL

Annual costs first 5-year period
Capital investments, chiefly revegetation, 149.4 million acres -- $3, 536, 000
Grazing administration at $0.0151 per acre--------------------- 2,260, 000
Wildlife administration at $0.001 per acre------------------------ 150, 000
Total annual cost------------- ----------- 5, 946, 000
For the second 5-year period annual expenditures for capital in-
vestments would be reduced to $3,403,000, and for maintenance and
replacement of improvements would amount to $550,000, so that the
total annual cost would be $6,363,000.

INDIAN LANDS
Annual costs first 5-year period
Capital investments, 48.4 million acres-------------------------- $766, 000
Grazing administration, at $0.011 per acre (present cost $0.005 per
acre, or $242,000) ----------------------- _------.--------- 532, 000
Wildlife administration, at $0.001 per acre --- ----- -- --- 48, 000
Maintenance and replacement of improvements------------ 75, 000
Total annual cost ---- -------------------- ---- 1,421,000
For the second 5-year period annual expenditures for capital in-
vestments would be reduced to $532,000, and for maintenance and
replacement of improvements would be increased to $232,000, so
that the total annual cost would be $1,344,000.

STATE AND COUNTY LANDS

Annual costs first 5-year period
Capital investments, 65 million acres -------------------- $1, 313,000
Administration (minimum) ---------- ----------------- 754,000
Total annual cost ---------------------------------- 067, 000
During the second 5-year period, maintenance and replacement
of improvements would probably cost about $150,000 annually, mak-
ing the total annual cost $2,217,000.

PRIVATE LANDS

The annual capital investments needed during the first 10-year
period on the 376 million acres now in private ownership is esti-
mated at $6,416,000, of which the largest item is about $4,800,000 for
revegetation. Incidental labor will take care of a substantial part of
this cost, and furthermore it will be reduced by the rate and extent
that the public assumes the burden through acquisition of the poorer
private lands where costs of restoration, etc., would be highest.






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS 65

PUBLIC ACQUISITION OF PRIVATE LANDS

The acquisition of 125 million acres of submarginal watershed and
other high public-value land would require at least 20 years. Taking
into account gifts with or without payment of accrued taxes, tax
delinquency, and direct purchase, the cost might average $1 per acre,
or about $6,300,000 annually.
The annual cost of public administration is estimated at about
$0.015 per acre, to which should be added capital investments of
about $0.017 per acre annually during the first 10 years. The rate
at which total annual costs build up will be governed by the speed
of acquisition. The latter figures duplicate estimates already given
and will correspondingly reduce the expenditures by private owners.
The Federal and State shares of these costs will obviously depend
upon the division of the areas acquired between these agencies.

RESEARCH AND EXTENSION

To meet the requirements for all classes of range research it is
estimated that expenditures by all agencies should reach an annual
total of $2,750,000 in a 10-year period, this by gradual increases over
current expenditures of about $750,000. Of the former total the
Federal Government should assume the responsibility for about
$2,000,000 and the States for $550,000, leaving a $200,000 balance for
other agencies.
The cost of range extension estimated at $1,000.000 annually should
be borne about equally by the Federal Government and the States.
The estimated maximum cost should, if possible, be reached in about
10 years.
RETURNS

The high cost of rehabilitation and administration of publicly
owned range lands makes the possibility of self-liquidation a ques-
tion of both public and private interest.
Looking ahead, it is doubtful if the Federal Government can any
more than break even on any comprehensive program of range res-
toration and intensive management on the national forests and the
grazing districts, even though grazing fees on the national forests
were ultimately increased by about 30 percent above the base fees,
and those on the grazing districts were made approximately equal
to the national forest base fees.
Even then, account is taken neither of the uncertain cost of special
erosion-control measures nor of Federal contributions to States and
counties in lieu of taxes, which in a sense are the transfer of funds
from one public purse to another.
Grazing fees high enough on both the national forests and the
grazing districts to enable the Federal Government to break approxi-
mately even seem fully justified. Fully productive, well-managed
ranges should result in higher returns to the stockmen and justify
somewhat higher fees than those now charged on the national forests
and those apparently contemplated for the grazing districts.
Sight should not be lost of the fact, however, that the public
receives other tangible and intangible benefits from fully produc-
64946-36-6





66 THE WESTERN RANGE

tive ranges. Among the largest and most important of these are
the far-reaching benefits from watershed protection. Of great im-
portance also is the fact that range use can hardly be eliminated
from western agriculture without wrecking the entire structure.
Furthermore, range livestock production alone furnishes a liveli-
hood for a large number of people. Other benefits in which both
the Federal and State governments share are the sustained taxable
value of related lands, income and other taxes, and direct and in-
direct returns from hunting, fishing, and recreational use.
Essentially the sarhe considerations hold on State range lands
as on Federal.
Despite radical readjustments and increased capital investments,
the program proposed should work out to the financial advantage
of the private owner. He should gradually be relieved of submar-
ginal and high public-value lands. His financial handicaps should
be reduced. He should have the advantage of an increasing volume
of cheap range feed, of increased unit livestock production, of de-
creased production costs, and of greater profits.
THE KEY TO REMEDIAL ACTION

In the complex range pattern, with its multiplicity of interrelated
overlapping problems, which require a corresponding multiplicity
of interrelated overlapping remedial measures, a clear-cut focal
point-a center of responsibility-among public agencies is neces-
sary in planning, initiating, correlating, and consummating action
if public obligations are to be redeemed.
This is true of privately owned range lands and livestock, in
which the maximum of seli-help ordinarily depends on some meas-
ure of public leadership and aid to create conditions under which
self-help can be effective or even start.
It is equally true of publicly owned range lands where, as already
shown, the splitting of jurisdiction of this agricultural problem
between different agencies almost inevitably means working at cross
purposes, inefficiency, and excessive costs. Furthermore, public
lands cannot be divorced from their surroundings. Such lands have
a direct and vital bearing on the ranch owner and his welfare and
must be handled in full recognition of this fact. This bearing ex-
tends far beyond private range lands and livestock to private crop-
lands, and to the entire agricultural structure.
A check of the broader groups of problems and their solution will
still further illustrate and emphasize this point of view.
Take for example the broad group of problems centering in the
reversal of the range and soil-depletion process, and requiring such
action as the removal of large numbers of excess stock.
Or take the equally broad group of ownership and use problems
requiring large shifts from private to public ownership, or range
restoration on mistakenly cropped lands, or the building of units of
economic size.
Or the large number of additional problems of private ownership
requiring the removal of financial handicaps or the recognition of
the responsibility of stewardship.
Or the problems already referred to involving lands now in public
ownership or those hereafter acquired.






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


Or the problem of knowledge and its application, requiring range
and livestock and land-use research and extension.
Or those centering in human wastage in agricultural communi-
ties requiring action to insure social and economic security.
The lack of clear-cut centralized responsibility up to the present
time has undoubtedly contributed in a major way to the neglect and
abuse of the range resource. In far too many instances what has
been everyone's responsibility has been no one's responsibility. It
seems futile to continue an arrangement which has led to such re-
sults. Centralized responsibility affords the only way in which the
general public can hope to hold its agencies to a strict accountability.
Any consideration of Federal activities other than the jurisdiction
over Federal range lands-research, extension, general agricultural
integration, and aid in various other forms-make still more con-
clusive the fundamental soundness of the centralization of full Fed-
eral responsibility in the Department of Agriculture for an activity
which is agriculture to the core.
Within their spheres of action the States must face and meet sim-
ilar problems of responsibility and organization.
IS REMEDIAL ACTION WORTH WHILE?
The program outlined for the solution of the range problem runs
into very large sums of money which will constitute a heavy drain,
particularly on Federal and State treasuries. Large as they are,
these expenditures are only a part of the price which must be paid
for the wasteful use and destruction of a great natural resource.
Still another part of the price is the time over which the reconstruc-
tion effort must continue. It has taken little more than half a cen-
tury to reduce the productivity of the range by about half, and it
will probably take at least as long to bring it back to a grazing
capacity equivalent to present stocking. The cost will be a heavy
public burden, regardless of the possibility of direct returns that
in the long run may make the enterprise self-liquidating.
Is restoration worth while? This question should be raised and
squarely faced before a final decision is made. Perhaps the soundest
decision can be reached by contrasting what will happen if the effort
is not made, with the benefits if it is.

IF No ACTIoN Is TAKEN
If drastic and immediate action to restore the range resource is
not taken, it seems inevitable that depletion will continue. Whether
it continues more or less rapidly than in the past, the end result is
bound to be the same-the Great American Desert, once only a name,
will become that in fact. If anyone questions the inexorable work-
ing of the cause and effect he need only examine the history of the
semiarid pastoral countries of southwestern Asia and the Mediter-
ranean. The more precarious range types of the Southwest and In-
termountain region will merely be the first to qualify, but the other
and more favorable types are certain to follow sooner or later.
The gradual destruction of the basic forage and soil resource will
inevitably in time reach the point where the range livestock industry
can no longer exist. The range alone can furnish the cheap feed






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


Or the problem of knowledge and its application, requiring range
and livestock and land-use research and extension.
Or those centering in human wastage in agricultural communi-
ties requiring action to insure social and economic security.
The lack of clear-cut centralized responsibility up to the present
time has undoubtedly contributed in a major way to the neglect and
abuse of the range resource. In far too many instances what has
been everyone's responsibility has been no one's responsibility. It
seems futile to continue an arrangement which has led to such re-
sults. Centralized responsibility affords the only way in which the
general public can hope to hold its agencies to a strict accountability.
Any consideration of Federal activities other than the jurisdiction
over Federal range lands-research, extension, general agricultural
integration, and aid in various other forms-make still more con-
clusive the fundamental soundness of the centralization of full Fed-
eral responsibility in the Department of Agriculture for an activity
which is agriculture to the core.
Within their spheres of action the States must face and meet sim-
ilar problems of responsibility and organization.
IS REMEDIAL ACTION WORTH WHILE?
The program outlined for the solution of the range problem runs
into very large sums of money which will constitute a heavy drain,
particularly on Federal and State treasuries. Large as they are,
these expenditures are only a part of the price which must be paid
for the wasteful use and destruction of a great natural resource.
Still another part of the price is the time over which the reconstruc-
tion effort must continue. It has taken little more than half a cen-
tury to reduce the productivity of the range by about half, and it
will probably take at least as long to bring it back to a grazing
capacity equivalent to present stocking. The cost will be a heavy
public burden, regardless of the possibility of direct returns that
in the long run may make the enterprise self-liquidating.
Is restoration worth while? This question should be raised and
squarely faced before a final decision is made. Perhaps the soundest
decision can be reached by contrasting what will happen if the effort
is not made, with the benefits if it is.

IF No ACTIoN Is TAKEN
If drastic and immediate action to restore the range resource is
not taken, it seems inevitable that depletion will continue. Whether
it continues more or less rapidly than in the past, the end result is
bound to be the same-the Great American Desert, once only a name,
will become that in fact. If anyone questions the inexorable work-
ing of the cause and effect he need only examine the history of the
semiarid pastoral countries of southwestern Asia and the Mediter-
ranean. The more precarious range types of the Southwest and In-
termountain region will merely be the first to qualify, but the other
and more favorable types are certain to follow sooner or later.
The gradual destruction of the basic forage and soil resource will
inevitably in time reach the point where the range livestock industry
can no longer exist. The range alone can furnish the cheap feed






68 THE WESTERN RANGE

which is the most important competitive advantage in livestock pro-
duction of all except one of the 11 far-western States. With the
elimination of the range must consequently go the gradual elimina-
tion of the western livestock industry itself.
Along with the industry must go its contribution to the meat,
wool, and hide, and other requirements of the country. The extent
to which this might make the United States dependent on foreign
supplies is uncertain, but there can be no question that it will place
us in a less favorable position in which to meet future emergency
requirements, such, for example, as that of the World War.
No distinction can be drawn between the dependence on the range
of livestock and of wildlife. The flood and erosion situation on de-
pleted ranges is rapidly becoming more and more serious, and this
tendency would certainly continue and its effect would become more
and more far reaching. Not least in importance will be reduction in
the effective life of the irrigation reservoirs which depend upon
watershed protection.
Crop agriculture is now so closely integrated with the use of the
range that it is almost certain to suffer in other ways than impaired
water supplies as range problems become more and more acute.
And whatever injures either or both will extend into communi-
ties, towns, and cities dependent upon a prosperous agriculture, and
affect supply services, banking, transportation, and in fact all other
industries which are a part of the existing western civilization.
Reduced tax returns will curtail essential public activities.
The social wastage growing out of range depletion and the various
maladjustments in the use of range lands has already been very
large, but is inconsequential in comparison with the wastage which
will be inevitable if any large part of the range is entirely destroyed.
THE BENEFITS PROM RESTORATION
An area of 728 million acres of restored and fully prodhUtive
range cannot be otherwise than a source of perpetual wealth.
The maintenance of this range area would, according to the best
information now available, carry at least 17.1 million animal units
of domestic livestock 50 years hence, as compared to the 17.3 million
units which are now rapidly depreciating the range, and the 10.8
million units which it can now carry in safety (fig. 22). The gain
in the value of livestock production between the present and poten-
tial grazing capacity would undoubtedly justify the entire annual
cost of restoration several times over.
Serious depletion was one of the primary causes of the 1934 Fed-
eral expenditure of $100,000,000 to purchase starving western-range
livestock. The elimination or the drastic reduction of such expendi-
tures, which range restoration should make possible, would make a
major contribution to the cost of the program recommended. From
the standpoint of broad public policy the choice lies between mere
alleviation by periodic repetition, leaving the basic problem un-
touched, and striking directly and constructively at a primary cause
in order to make such expenditures unnecessary in the future.
Erosion and destructive floods would gradually be reduced to a
minimum, and the life of irrigation and other reservoirs greatly ex-
tended. The reduction in the annual flood-damage bill alone would






THE MAJOR RANGE PROBLEMS


go a long way toward carrying the annual cost of a constructive
program. Wildlife could again assume a proper place among the
products of the range and make its contributions to western life.
Only by restoration is it possible to make the range contribute as
it should to working out a satisfactory balanced and hence a
permanently prosperous western agriculture. Sources of livelihood
now so badly needed with the passing of the frontier and the replace-




Present
Grazing Capacity

Potential (50yrs
Grazing Capacity

Present
Stocking .

Grazing Capacity
on Virgin Range_


0 5 10 15 20 25
MILLION ANIMAL UNITS


FGuiE 22.-- PIESEN'T AND POTENTIAL GRAZING CAPACITY.
The present grazing capacity of the available range area, estimated at 10.8 million animal
units could, it is conservatively estimated, be increased to 17.1 million units in 50
years if the entire range area is placed under management in the immediate future.
But even this increase would fall 0.2 of a million units short of what stockmen are now
trying to carry on ranges whose productive capacity has already been reduced by
more than half. How much longer would be required to reach the original capacity
of 22.5 million units no man can say, but it might well be another half century.
Aside from human inertia, the chief retarding factor in both instances would be the
long, slow process of rebuilding the soil.

ment of labor by machinery in manufacturing, high standards of
living, stable communities and general social and economic well-
being, reasonable prices to the ultimate consumer, all depend vitally
upon the proper handling of natural resources, among which the
western range must occupy a conspicuous place.
With such. contrasts in probable losses and possible benefits a
recommendation for affirmative action is the only one that can be
made.












II. THE VIRGIN RANGE


By RICHARD E. MoARDLE, Director, and DAVID F. COSTELUO, Assistant Conserva-
tionist, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station
The transcontinental traveler of today would have difficulty in
visualizing the western range as it was before occupancy by the white
man and his domestic livestock, for little virgin range remains in
the western United States. But nearly a century ago the "forty-
niner", on his way overland to the Pacific coast, found a vast, un-
spoiled natural reservoir of forage extending from the Mississippi
River to the Pacific Ocean and from Canada to Mexico. Much of
it was called at that time the "Great American Desert"-an immense
region of rolling grassland, parched deserts, and rugged mountains;
inhabited only by Indians and roving herds of buffalo, elk, and other
animals; with treacherous rivers to be forded and long stretches
without water of any kind, with mud or dust, blistering heat or
sudden snowstorms. Who among these overland voyagers could have
dreamed that within a few short decades other settlers would engage
in fierce wars among themselves for possession of this "desert" land;
how could they have guessed that this land would produce five times
more wealth for the Nation through the pasturage of livestock than
all the gold they would dig out of the earth with their picks and
shovels? For this vast desert, plain, and mountain country was soon
to become the great western range.
Before agricultural settlement by the white man, the virgin range
comprised the western two-thirds of the United States. If nongraz-
able lands such as mountain tops, almost barren deserts and dense
forests, are excluded, it encompassed nearly 850 million acres. As
might be expected for so large an area, there were tremendous varia-
tions in topography, soil, and climate. These great differences in
environment resulted in correspondingly great differences in the kind
of vegetation. In some places the range was a natural grassland
that stretched for mile upon mile without bush or tree to break the
monotony of the landscape. Other areas, less extensive, were brushy,
the intermingled grasses and weeds being inconspicuous though pres-
ent in considerable quantities. Elsewhere the range was clothed
with forests, but frequently these forests were sufficiently open to
permit the establishment of shrubs, grass, and herbaceous plants
beneath the forest canopy.
Each of these three main classes of vegetation-grasslands, brush,
and forests-included several distinctive types, areas characteristi-
cally possessing one or more outstanding vegetational features which
caught the eye and lingered in the memory of the early-day trans-
continental travelers. Their diaries describe how in journeying west-
ward they spent weeks crossing first the tall-grass prairies and then
the short-grass plains, "endless" grasslands extending to the very
foot of the Rocky Mountains (fig. 25, p. 85). Those who traveled






THE WESTERN RANGE


the Oregon Trail encountered bunchgrass plains in what is now east-
ern Oregon and Washington, and those who reached the central
valley of California saw a similar type. Pioneers who traveled far
to the Southwest found near the Mexican border another type, the
semidesert grass.
The overland travelers eventually were obliged to leave the open,
grassy plains for the more laborious passage through the brush of
deserts, foothills, and lower mountain slopes. Along the northern
trails this type was sagebrush in which there was considerable grass;
in the far Southwest was a quite different type consisting of various
southern desert shrubs, such as the creosotebush and saltbushes (fig.
30, p. 95). In southwestern Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and the South-
west the pioneers encountered salt-desert shrubs on alkaline soils, and
in California these adventurers of covered-wagon days found chap-
arral, a dense mixture of a hundred different brush and tree species
forming almost impenetrable thickets on the foothills.
On the mountain sides above the brush fields were open forests of
gnarled pifion and juniper (fig. 34, p. 101). jAt still higher eleva-
tions, or where the soil was more moist, they encountered parklike
open forests of ponderosa pine and of aspen and fir. Denser forests
of spruce and fir, western white pine, redwood, Douglas fir, spruce,
hemlock, and lodgepole pine occurred over large areas but inter-
mingled with these forests were open, grassy meadows of varying
size.
A DETAILED PICTURE OF VIRGIN RANGE TYPES

This varied succession of range types was found widely scattered
throughout the West, often extending without a break over large
areas. Other types were local only. The descriptions of the indi-
vidual types which follow give a more detailed picture of the many
different kinds of grazing lands found in the virgin range. The
approximate total acreage 3 and grazing capacity of each range type
in its virgin condition are given in the next chapter.
TALL GRASS

Probably no part of the western range produced palatable and
nutritious forage in such abundance -as the tall-grass prairies. Not
only was there an enormous volume of vegetation on the 42 million
acres in this type,4 but there was scarcely a grass, weed, or shrub
present which could not be eaten by grazing animals. When the
white man first settled in the Midwest, the prairie extended wedge-
like from Illinois northwesterly into Canada and southwesterly into
Texas. Its western boundary, though very irregular, was in the
Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, where the tall grass of
the prairies gradually merged with the short grass of the plains.
The vegetation of the prairies varied with topography, soil, and
moisture, but always dominating these gently rolling lands was a
mixture of several species of tall grass. An intermingling of half-

3 Areas of range types in their virgin condition are approximations based on estimates
by skilled observers and tempered by reasonably accurate information on extent of the
types 50 to 100 years ago, their recent expansions and contractions and the area in each
type which has been used for agricultural crops, roads, etc.
4 This was the area of tall grass within the limits of tile present range, west of the
boundary shown in fig. 25, p. 85. East of this boundary, the prairie tall-grass type cov-
ered approximately 210 million acres, or a total of about 252 million acres.





THE VIRGIN RANGE


shrubs and multitudinous flowers gave the landscape variety and
color. In the moist bottom lands sloughgrass grew tall as a horse's
back. On the drier slopes other grasses, 2 or 3 feet tall, such as the
bluejoint turkeyfoot ("big bluestem"), the prairie beardgrass ("little
bluestem"), Indian grass, wild-rye, and switchgrass formed socie-
ties, characteristic in themselves, but all a part of the greater forma-
tion that was the prairie. The still drier uplands were carpeted with
shorter grasses, bluestem, needlegrasses, side-oats grama, and in some
places by the bunch-forming sand dropseed. Interspersed with
these were semiwoody and herbaceous plants that bloomed with the
change of season: goldenrods, wild daisies, the wreath aster, and a
host of associates. The silvery canescence of the leadplant or "prai-
rie shoestring", the bright yellow of the sunflower, the white of the
anemone, and the brilliant orange of the butterflyweed, or "pleurisy-
root", intermingled with the green background of the prairie grasses
in a beautiful and intricate mosaic. In late summer these bright
colors slowly faded as the vegetation dried and the prairie became a
vast sea of rusty brown.
The prairie was productive. It is hard to picture today the vast
numbers of wild fowl-golden plovers, prairie chickens, geese, and
ducks-that inhabited this region. Countless bison grazed in massive
herds over the country where later the settler was to find good
pasturage for his livestock. Its vastness, its productivity, and the
ease with which it restored itself all contributed toward making the
prairie an exceedingly valuable range resource.
SHORT GRASS

As the pioneer moved westward the tall-grass prairies gradually
gave way to an endless carpet of sod-forming grasses much shorter
than those of the prairies. These vast short-grass plains were for
the most part fairly level and extended from the Panhandle of Texas
northward beyond the Canadian border. The eastern edge was near
the center of the present States of Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dako-
tas; westward it stretched to the very foothills of the Rocky
Mountains, forming a belt from 300 to 600 miles wide and 280
million acres in extent.
The plains country received very much less rain than the prairies,
and, as a consequence, was dominated by grama and buffalo grass,
which needed relatively little water. The deeper-rooted, moisture-
requiring tall grasses and herbs so typical of the prairies were
ahlost entirely excluded.
This vast area of sod-grasses was not, however, uniform in compo-
sition throughout its entire extent. Along the western edge of the
short-grass belt in Montana and Wyommig, the short-grass type
alternated with the sagebrush and was further modified by a gener-
ous admixture of several other valuable forage plants including
wheatgrass and junegrass. Further south, along the western edge
of the short-grass plains, the grama was mixed with a great variety
of palatable herbaceous plants, some of which also were found in the
nearby mountains. In what is now western Kansas and Oklahoma,
eastern Colorado, northeastern New Mexico, and the Texas Pan-
handle, buffalo grass, galleta grass, and other grasses appeared in
greater abundance than in the more northerly portions of the type






74 THE WESTERN RANGE

Various annuals of moderate or low palatibility also appeared:
Woolly Indian-wheat, sixweeks fescue, rough pennyroyal, and west-
ern stickseed; and during wet years, perennial grasses such as
needle-and-thread and sand dropseed, together with various weeds,
developed a taller cover. Elsewhere, bluestem ("western wheat-
grass") and western needlegrass added greatly to the luxuriant
appearance of the short-grass cover. In the transition zone between
the prairies and the plains, the sod cover was more open, and
included deep-rooted plants of the tall-grass type such as "wire-
grass" and bush morning-glory.
Grama, buffalo grass, and most of the other species of the short-
grass type were palatable and nutritious. Although the short grasses
matured early, their cured leaves remained as valuable forage and
were available the year round except when covered with snow. In-
jurious species were at a minimum. The high grazing capacity of
the range is indicated by the enormous herds of buffalo which
roamed these plains.

PACIFIC BUNCHIRASS
In western Montana, southwestern Idaho, eastern Washington and
Oregon, and in central California the pioneer found a luxuriant
grassland that resembled the prairies but with the additional char-
acteristic of many grasses growing in tufts or bunches. This bunch-
grass type was so luxuriant in its virgin condition that explorers
made frequent comments concerning it. Commander Wilkes (186)6
wrote in 1841 of north central Oregon: "These hills, as well as the
country nearer at hand, were covered with a natural hay or bunch-
grass, which affords very nutritious food for cattle", and again near
Walla Walla in eastern Washington, "To the north and south are
extensive prairies, covered with the natural hay of the country, on
which the cattle feed." Fr4mont (65) wrote of eastern Oregon in
1843: "The mountains were covered with good bunchgrass"; and later
Stuart (138) recorded:
We crossed the Rocky Mountain Divide on the 10th day of October, 1857,
where the station called Monida now is on the Oregon Short Line railroad. As
soon as we had crossed the divide a wonderful change appeared in the country.
Instead of the gray sagebrush covered plains of Snake River, we saw smooth
rounded hills and sloping benchland covered with yellow bunchgrass that waved
in the wind like a field of grain.
These testimonials as to the character, productivity, and palata-
bility of the vegetation abounding in this territory are further sub-
stantiated by scattered remnants of the original vegetation, not so
easily read as diaries but far more realistic. Cemeteries, fence
corners, and moderately grazed fields indicate an abundance of
palatable and nutritious bluebunch wheatgrass, Idaho fescue, giant
wild-rye, bluegrass, and needlegrass. Not so abundant, but highly
important as forage, were palatable weeds, such as balsamroot,
hawksbeard, mountain-dandelion, and sunflower.
Farther south, in California, was a similar native bunchgrass
prairie closely resembling the bunchgrass prairies of the Pacific
Northwest. The more important forage species were bluegrass, june-

6 Italic numbers in parenthesis refer to literature cited, p. 557.






THE VIRGIN RANGE 75

grass, oniongrass, needlegrass, wild-rye, and" squirreltail grasses.
Clements (34) describes a nearly continuous area of California
needlegrass several hundred miles long which once existed there.
Mixed with these more valuable grasses were clovers, lupines, sun-
flowers, poppies, and innumerable other herbs in infinite variety.
Although totaling only about 61 million acres and small in com-
parison with the tremendous area occupied by the short-grass plains,
the Pacific bunchgrass type was undoubtedly the finest grassland
west of the Rocky Mountains. It provided valuable forage for
immense numbers of wild animals and later was to become equally
valuable for pasturage of domestic livestock.
SEMIDESERT GRASS
South of the short-grass plains and paralleling the Mexican border
in Texas, New Mexico, and southern Arizona occurred a discontinu-
ous belt of arid grassland which resembled the plains to some ex-
tent. But the vegetation of these semidesert grasslands was quite
different from that of the true short-grass type. In addition to the
grasses, many parts of the area supported a scraggly growth of
thorny shrubs and low trees. It covered approximately 93 million
acres, extending over broad, flat valleys, low hills, and mesa tops
and up onto the lower slopes of the mountains.
The most valuable forage plants in this type were three grasses:
Rothrock ("crowfoot") grama, black grama, and curly-mesquite. In
some localities Rothrock grama formed rather dense stands having
the appearance of fields of short cereal, and on the lower foothills
curly-mesquite occurred in sufficient density to form a sod that in
many ways resembled the buffalo-grama sod of the plains. These
nutritious grasses, however, though distributed widely throughout
the type, comprised only a relatively small portion of its total area.
More widely distributed was the black grama, which sparsely covered
the sandy and gravelly slopes between the river bottoms and the
foothills.
Scattered through this grass type were thorny shrubs and dwarfed
trees such as mesquite, mimosa, catclaw, and other acacias, hack-
berries, creosotebush, jojoba, ceanothus, and low-growing live oaks.
Interspersed with these were pricklypear and other cacti, yucca or
Spanish-bayonet, and other plants characteristic of regions of little
rainfall. None of these latter species were of appreciable value for
forage.
The diaries of the early explorers and the accounts of later travelers
through the Southwest seldom or never mentioned any difficulty in
finding forage for their animals. The immense numbers of pack and
draft animals and cattle that year after year followed the Butterfield
and old Texas-California cattle trails through this type were able
to maintain themselves on the natural forage during months of
travel.
SAGEBRUSH-GRASS
One of the most distinctive range types which the early travelers
encountered was the sagebrush-grass. The pioneers of the Oregon
Trail seldom were out of the sagebrush type from the time they
entered it in eastern Wyoming until they reached the Cascade Range
in central Oregon; or if they turned southward in southern Idaho






THE WESTERN RANGE


they found it all the way through Nevada to the foothills of the
Sierras.
The traveler, accustomed to the green prairies of the Midwest,
found the dull, gray expanse of the sagebrush forbidding and barren,
but in reality this type had many attractive features.
There are many lovely plants that blossom in early spring, filling the air
with fragrance, and, in summer and fall the yellow of sunflowers and of the
still more plentiful rabbitbrush, a relative of the goldenrod, frequently give
broad dashes of brilliant color. Beneath the sagebrush in a state of nature
nutritious bunchgrass grows abundantly (112).
A significant feature of tile virgin sagebrush type was the abun-
dance of palatable grasses and weeds which grew under and between
the shrubs. Prominent among these were the wheatgrasses, blue-
bunch fescue, needlegrasses, wild-rye, Indian ricegrass, wild gera-
nium, balsamroot, and yarrow. Of lesser importance as forage but
of frequent occurrence were hawksbeard, phlox, sunflower, lupine.
and many other species. This cover of grass and weeds beneath the
sagebrush varied in density with soil and moisture conditions from
a thin stand such as in the Snake River plains of Idaho to a fairly
thick sod as in the mountains along the foothills in Montana.
Occasional very dense stands of sagebrush were found, but as a
rule the individual plants were several feet apart, forming open
diminutive forests from 2 to 7 feet in height. Mingled with the
silvery gray foliage of the sagebrush were other browse species such
as bud sagebrush ("bud-sage"), bitterbrush, and rabbitbrush.
Throughout its range the sagebrush type occurred in streaks and
patches along rivers and streams as well as on areas of poorer and
drier soils. It was found on extensive plains, on the rolling foot-
hills, and extended upward on dry mountain slopes to merge with
open forests of pifion-juniper and ponderosa pine.
In its primitive condition, the rich understory of grasses and weeds
beneath the "sage" provided abundant feed in spring and fall for
deer and other animals that migrated between plains and foothills
and the higher elevations. On the broad plains, nutritious forage
was available throughout the year. Because of its widespread oc-
currence over 90 million acres and its high forage value, the sage-
brush-grass type was unquestionably one of the most important of
all the original western ranges.

SOUTHERN DESERT SHRun
Driest of all the range types was the southern desert shrub, of
which the greater portion was in southwestern Arizona, southern
Nevada, and southeastern California. Smaller areas occurred in
southern and western Texas and southern New Mexico near the
Mexican border. The Mohave Desert is included within this type
as are also the lower valleys of the Rio Grande and of the Colorado,
Gila, and Pecos Rivers. In its original condition only 25 of the
approximately 51 million acres in this type were of appreciable value
for grazing.
Owing to extremely high temperatures and very low rainfall, this
type has never produced sufficient vegetation to make it a very
dependable part of the range resource. Travelers, however, invari-
ably were impressed with the bizarre and varied appearance of the
plants on these sun-scorched desert lands. There was little uni-






THE VIRGIN RANGE


formity in the plant cover. Gray stretches of desert saltbush formed
dense thickets 3 or 4 feet tall in the valleys. Over extensive tracts,
widely spaced creosotebushes gave the appearance of scrubby
orchards. On the surrounding hills and ridges were varied forms
of cacti, centuryplants, agaves, and yuccas; this portion of the
desert must have been interesting, picturesque, and even weird with
its great columnar cacti, spiny paloverdes, the radiating stems of
ocotillo, and the beauty and variety of myriads of bright-colored
flowers which appeared for brief intervals after the infrequent rains.
Over most of the range, palatable forage was provided by mesquite
browse and weeds which sprang up after rains. With increase in
elevation toward the fringing mountains, however, the vegetation
became more abundant, and at the highest elevations within the
type were such true forage plants as Rothrock and black gramas,
alkali sacaton, lovegrasses, and three-awns, and in certain situations
saltgrass and galleta.
SALT-DESERT SHRUB
On the rolling alkaline soils of southwestern Wyoming, southern
Idaho, Utah, and Nevada was the salt-desert shrub type, covering
about 42 million acres, which resembled a low, scattered sagebrush
formation. The predominant vegetation was a mixture of palatable
low shrubs and scattered grasses. The most nutritious browse plants
were shadscale, bud sagebrush, winterfat, and rabbitbrush. The
most valuable grasses were wild-rye, squirreltail, Indian ricegrass,
galleta, and alkali sacaton, and although these seldom were thick
enough to develop a sod they formed fairly close stands in the less
alkaline situations.
The composition of the plant cover varied according to the salt
content of the soil, and consequently different areas were dominated
by different species. Where the salt content was extremely high,
pickleweeds and seepweeds occurred over great level expanses, but
these were unpalatable and never of value for grazing. Under more
favorable soil conditions the alkali sacaton formed a close sod over
extensive flats where clumps of yellow-flowered rabbitbrush, 2 or 3
feet high, frequently appeared. On moderately alkaline areas,
greasewood plants 2 to 5 feet in height were more or less evenly
spaced from 5 to 8 feet apart; their bright green foliage contrasted
strongly with the ashen hue of the low, hemispheric clumps of shad-
scale which frequently grew in mixture with the greasewood.
Even in its primitive condition the percentage of ground covered
by the salt-desert vegetation was slight. A recent survey in Nevada
of railroad rights-of-way which have been fenced for more than 30
years showed that grass covered only 1 percent and browse less than
3 percent of the total ground area. But even this apparently scant
cover of vegetation furnished feed for thousands of game animals
each winter.
PIYON-JUNIPER

The first forest type usually encountered by the pioneers after
crossing the Great Plains on their westward trek was the pifion-
juniper. These low-growing, open forests of pifion pines and juni-
pers occurred over 74 million acres from the eastern foothills of the
Rocky Mountains in Colorado westward to central Oregon and





THE WESTERN RANGE


south through the foothill country of Utah, Nevada, eastern Cal-
ifornia, Arizona, and New Mexico. On the lower slopes of high
mountains the pifion-juniper type formed a transition zone between
the treeless sagebrush or similar shrub types and the denser forests
growing at higher elevations. In many places, particularly on the
elongated low ridges of Nevada, pifions and junipers were the only
forest trees present in any abundance. Here the type occurred as
large islands in a sea of sagebrush. The pifion-juniper type extended
without a break over thousands of acres throughout the Southwest,
and long fingers of this fringe forest type followed low, rocky ridges
and other broken ground out into the semidesert plains.
The pifions and junipers were short, dense-crowned trees 20 to 40
feet tall, the individual trees generally growing rather far apart.
Along the upper edge of the pinon-jumper belt, the pines often
dominated the forest mixture, whereas, at the lower edge of the belt,
the junipers ordinarily occurred in greater abundance than pine.
The piion-juniper type was an important forage resource. The
wide spacing of the trees permitted the development of consider-
able browse such as mountain-mahogany, bitterbrush, and cliffrose,
as well as many palatable grasses and weeds, the more prevalent of
which were the gramas, needlegrass, wheatgrass, bluegrass, and
.fescue.
WOODLAND-CIAPARRAL
Around the sides of the great central valley of California, on the
low hills along the Pacific Coast from San Francisco south to Mex-
ico and in southern Arizona, the early-day traveler found vast brush
fields composed of not one but dozens of different species of shrubs.
These almost impenetrable thickets of bushes and stunted hardwood
trees later acquired the name "chaparral." Associated with these
chaparral thickets were large areas of comparatively open wood-
land, parklike stretches characterized by various species of oaks, and
an understory of palatable grasses and herbs. Just as the pifion-
juniper type elsewhere in the Southwest formed a transition zone
between the grass or desert-shrub vegetation of the plains and the
forests of the higher mountain slopes, so the woodland-chaparral
formed a transition zone between the grass types and the higher
mountain forests in southern California. and Arizona. In California
alone, the woodland-chaparral type covered about 10 million acres.
Although more than a hundred different species of shrubs and
dwarfed trees intermingled to form this peculiar plant cover, its
species composition varied considerably in different parts of the
type. The most important species were highland live oak, poison-
oak, scrub oak, hollyleaf cherry, sumac, ceanothus, and manzanita.
At varying elevations the shrub species gradually merged with open
oak woodlands.
The woodland portions of the type supported a good growth of
valuable forage grasses and weeds. There was no available grass or
herbaceous forage beneath the dense canopy of the brush portions of
this type, and the brush itself was of low palatability. The chapar-
ral, however, had enormous value for watershed protection, since its
dense cover prevented soil washing and thus played a prominent
part in preserving lower, more valuable grasslands.






THE VIRGIN RANGE 79

OPEN FORESTS

Valuable forage occurred in the 131 million acres of open forests
that grew on the slopes of practically every mountain range from
the eastern foothills of the Rockies to the slopes of the Cascades and
the Sierras. In these forests the trees were fairly wide-spaced, and
a grassy floor beneath the trees added to a parklike appearance.
Numerous clear mountain streams and the easy accessibility of the
grass cover contributed to making these areas an extremely valuable
part of the forage resource.
The most extensive areas of grazing land in the open-forest type
were found under the ponderosa pine forests which occurred in large
bodies throughout the West. In many localities the prevailing open-
forest type was a pure stand of ponderosa pine; elsewhere it was a
mixed stand of ponderosa pine, sugar pine, and incense cedar or a
mixture of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. At high elevations in
the Rocky Mountains there were p.,rks and meadows in openings
between stands of Engelmann spruce v.nd alpine fir. Here and there
were areas of low-growing oaks, rnmaipL, and other mountain brush.
In Colorado and adjacent Southwestern States the type included
tracts of aspen and Douglas fir. Throughout the type were moun-
tain meadows of luxuriant grass and palatable weeds.
Almost everywhere in the open forests was abundant forage com-
posed of many different species of shrubs, grasses, and weeds. As
might be expected, the forage species varied considerably throughout
this very large region, depending on climate, soil, and to some extent
on the kind of overtopping forest cover. For the type as a whole,
however, the many valuable forage plants included blue grama,
bluestem, various rescues, "beardless bunchgrass", wheatgrass, pine-
grass, junegrass, bluegrasses, redtop, alpine timothy, needlegrasses,
ricegrasses, and elk sedge; wild geranium, bluebells, yarrow, suc-
culent vetches, and other nourishing weeds and palatable browse such
as snowberry, bitterbiush, and mountain-mahogany.
These open forests and mountain meadows had a high value for
forage. As a rule, this type occurred at rather high elevations, and
its forage matured later than that of the lower ranges. For this
reason the open-forest ranges later were to become an extremely
important link in the grazing cycle for domestic livestock providing
the all-important summer pastures and, in combination with the
lower ranges, making possible yearlong grazing.
DENSE FORESTS

Not all of the forests of the West were suitable for grazing.
Certain forest types were so dense that little herbaceous or shrubby
vegetation was able to live in the deep shade, or if herbage did de-
velop it was of low forage value. Included in the dense forest types
were the western white pine-western larch forests of northern
Idaho, thickets of lodgepole pine throughout the Rocky Mountains,
redwood stands along the northern California coast, the fog-drenched
Sitka spruce-western hemlock and Douglas fir forests of western
Oregon and Washington, and parts of the Engelmann spruce-alpine
fir forests of the high Cascade Range and the Rocky Mountains.
Here and there in these dense forests were open, grassy meadows.





80 THE WESTERN RANGE

In the aggregate, these dense forests covered a very large area and
comprised about 68 million acres. Occasional fires, started by light-
ning or by Indians, removed the forest cover temporarily, and for a
few years deer and other wild animals found considerable feed in the
burned areas, on which generally developed a good cover of such
palatable plants as peavine and fireweed, until new forest growth
shaded out these succulent plants.
WHAT THE RANGE RESOURCE OFFERED A GROWING NATION
In the days of the "Forty-niners" there were few settlements in
all that vast territory lying between the Mississippi River and the
Pacific Coast. True, the Spaniards had a few herds of cattle and
sheep in the Southwest as early as 1598, and the Mormons in 1847
established a small colony on the shores of a great salt lake near the
western foothills of the Rocky Mountains; there were a few military
posts scattered here and there, and at various strategic points were
isolated trading establishments of the great fur companies; and, of
course, a few small, struggling communities had taken root in the
fertile valleys adjacent to the Pacific Ocean.
Except for these rudimentary beginnings of settlement, the whole
of the far-flung expanse of prairie, plain, desert, and mountain high-
land was virgin territory. It was virgin country in 1540 when the
Spanish captain, Coronado, led the Conquistadores up from Mexico
through what is now Texas and on northward over the lush grass of
the never-ending plains. It was the free and unchallenged home of
the buffalo and antelope in 1805 when Lewis and Clark made their
intrepid march to the mouth of the Columbia. And it was still
virgin territory in 1835 when Colonel Dodge and his party of Gov-
ernment explorers spent the entire summer following the Platte
River toward its source, traveling across the Great Plains, along the
frontal wall of the Rockies, and returning eastward by way of the
Arkansas River. As late as 1858, buffalo roamed over the land where
Denver now stands. Those who set forth three-quarters of a century
ago to cross this vast, uncharted, little-known wilderness saw the
land as Coronado saw it three centuries before. They saw a virgin
range, an enormous, untapped natural resource.
This virgin range exhibited a wide variation in plant cover, but
everywhere except in the desert areas, there was an abundance of
palatable and nutritious plants suitable for the pasturage of wild
game and, later, for domestic livestock. Before white settlement the
range was used only by wild game. Although these animals were
present in very large numbers, occasionally overgrazing local areas
and variations in forage production were caused by droughts, some
of which undoubtedly were as severe as those experienced in recent
years, the range by and large was able to maintain itself. It would
have continued to do so if the white man had not upset its natural
and fairly stable equilibrium.
The magnificent opportunities for prudent utilization of this great
natural resource could not have been fully appreciated by those who
settled the range; for the story of the range is in part one of high
hope-and lofty ideals, and in part one of indifference to the welfare
of the generations to follow. It is a story of the prodigal exploita-
tion of a vast natural resource on an enormous scale.












III. THE WHITE MAN'S TOLL
By RICHARD E. MCARDLE, Director, and DAVID F. COSTELLo, Assistant Conserva-
tionist, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station; E. E. BIRK-
MAIBE, Range Examiner, and CARL EWING, Forest Supervisor, North Pacific
Region; B. A. HENDRICKs, Associate Range Examiner, Southwestern Forest
and Range Experiment Station, C. A. KuTrzLB, Staff Technician, Rocky Moun-
tain Region; ALVA A. SIMPsoN, Associate Director, Plains Shelterbelt, and
ARNoLD R. STANDING, Range Examiner, Intermountain Region

If the "Forty-niner" could but repeat his westward journey today,
how different the range would appear! Where less than a century
ago he spent weary weeks guiding his ox team over rolling prairies,
wind-swept plains, and rugged mountains; where were but wagon



National Forests

Indian Lands_-
Public Domain &
Grazing Dist's
Other Federal_

State and County

Private------

0 10 20 30 40 50
AREA (PERCENT)

FIoGun 23.-OWNERSHIP DISTRIBUTION OF THE PRESENT RANGE AREA.
Of the immense area of "free range", more than half has passed into private ownership.
National forests, Indian lands, and public domain divide up about 36 percent in the
ratio, roughly, of 2-1-3.
tracks and isolated Indian villages in the days of the gold rush, he
now would find a network of roads, farmsteads, cities, and towns.
Enormous areas throughout this western country would still have
somewhat the appearance of the "endless grasslands" that he knew;
but beneath the appearance is a change that might elude the "Forty-
niner"-the great depletion in quality and quantity of the forage
resources that has taken place in the last 50 or 60 years.
Widespread, continuous, and exhaustive use of the forage has
changed the whole character of the virgin range. The outstanding
changes have been (1) the passage of much of the land from Federal
ownership to other forms of control, (2) a reduction in the area
available for range use, (3) a tremendous decrease in the quantity
and quality of the forage, and (4) deterioration of the basic resource,
the soil itself.
64941-36--7 81




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