Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland Page: 40
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nationally recognized, even romanticized national symbol. Knight (2002) also sites a Farm
Bureau Federation survey finding 85% of citizens rate farmers and ranchers as contributing
greatly to society.
Perceptions of individual managers are different than those of society at large. When
examining stocking rate considerations, Rowan et al. (1994) identified ranchers' decisions for
stocking rate adjustments as being influenced by rainfall or drought. Other factors with
significant influences on stocking rate change were age, grazing rights (owned vs. leased),
traditional stocking rate factors, traditional grazing program factors, and weed/brush information
factors. Livestock performance was perceived as the goal.
Interactions between the ecological and social/economic systems can lead to both positive
and negative consequences. Human use of rangelands may produce benefits such as food and
fiber, recreation and a sense of well-being. Human use can also result in alterations of the
ecosystem and its processes so that rangelands no longer provide the desired goods and services.
Feedbacks between ecosystem goods and services and ecological and social/economic processes
are usually complex and nonlinear (Maczko and Hidinger, 2008).
Suggestions for Economic Stability
The functional aspects of grazed ecosystems remain constant regardless of social and
economic factors (Conner, 1991). It has been theorized that high stocking rates and overgrazing
have occurred because land managers have chosen short term economic gains over long-term
stability (Costa and Reham, 2005). This does not have to occur; lighter stocking rates may
actually give higher financial returns. Several studies have shown that light stocking will benefit
land managers with a higher financial return and will minimize financial risk compared to
moderate or heavy stocking rates (Holechek, 1992). The improved financial returns are a result
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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/m1/51/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .