Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland Page: 31
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This phenomenon of overlooking our ecological impact is typical in many cultures, in
geographic locations all around the globe. Even in North America, it is believed that some
Native Americans negatively affected nature through their primitive domesticated livestock
rearing, farming, hunting and gathering techniques. Some primitive cultures practiced land use
principles that were solely anthropocentric, without regard to environmental degradation
(Nabhan, 1995). It is very possible that these practices along with region-wide drought helped to
bring about the demise of some of these native cultures.
Aldo Leopold (1949) wrote about land ethics. He believed that when we view something
as property, it is ours; we do with it what we wish. When we see something as part of a
community we tend to feel responsibility to at least consider the impacts we will have on others.
Leopold takes this philosophic concept and applies it to land; he concludes that the forces that
are out there in 1948 are not likely to bring about the change that is necessary to instill the
feelings needed to bring land out of the realm of "property" and into the concept of community
cooperation and responsibility. In particular, he was disillusioned with the education system for
the lack of ecological ethics being taught in agronomic course work.
When land is stocked to capacity, drought causes temporary reduction of productivity in
rangeland. Unless a land manager recognizes the threat and de-stocks, rangeland degradation
will occur. Research by Costa and Reham (2005) shows traditional decisions to retain livestock,
even at the expense of the environment may be as physiological as they are economic. High
stocking rates are deliberate and crucial decisions taken by the farmers. These decisions appear
paradoxical even irrational given the state of knowledge regarding the consequences of
overgrazing. The phenomenon appears to be linked with objectives of livestock managers.
Indications are that producers view cattle ownership as a means to ensure they are able to
continue land ownership, as a source of security and liquidity, and as a way of life worthy of
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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/m1/42/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .