Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland Page: 2
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held beliefs and perceptions. This is especially true regarding outcomes derived from
implementation of various grazing strategies (Briske et al., 2008).
A primary issue with reconciliation of experimental evidence and perceived rangeland
management outcomes has been the scale of field experiments. Generally, scientific studies have
not conformed to the scale of grazing operations because of the importance of replicating
treatments in experimental research and the limited availability of land and other resources for
conducting such research. It is impossible to capture, in small-scale research trials, the
complexity of rangeland resources in operational scale grazing systems (Teague et al., 2008;
Furthermore, managers must adapt to changing biophysical and socio-economic
conditions. These include variables that are extremely difficult or impossible to address in short-
term and small scale grazing experiments, such as, changing weather conditions and variations in
grazing behavior of animals. As a result, the high number of variables affecting ranch-scale
management makes it virtually impossible to use traditional experimental protocols to compare
alternative management schemes at real-world operational scales. Even though pastoralist
knowledge is more focused on productivity than on maintaining ecosystem processes (Bollig and
Schulte, 1999), Knapp and Fernandez-Gimenez (2009) concluded that ranchers in the West have
gained insight about natural systems through daily interaction and management of landscapes.
Through interviews, they found that ranch managers' knowledge complemented scientific
knowledge, especially concerning active knowledge applied to management decisions,
embedded knowledge from living in place, and integrative knowledge that links ecological,
economic, and social aspects of rangeland systems.
As Maczko et al. (2004) indicated economic, ecologic, and social elements may be
visualized as one leg of a 3-legged stool, with each aspect of sustainability representing a leg.
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Becker, Wayne. Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland, dissertation, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103289/m1/13/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .