Indicators of Southwestern range conditions. Page: 19
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INDICATORS OF SOUTHWESTERN RANGE CONDITIONS 19
the reach of grazing animals entails the decided thinning or wiping
out- of more palatable grasses or other forage plants (fig. 19), or an
increase in soil washing. This is usually just what happens, although
it is not apt to be well recognized, if the attempt is made to graze steep,
brushy slopes (fig. 20) heavily enough to keep browse plants from
growing beyond the reach of grazing animals.
On desert ranges, the big waves of annuals or "sixweeks plants"
may be considered excess if the extra livestock moved in to utilize
the temporary forage can be moved out as the green forage begins to
wane. Locally, such flexibility in the handling of livestock is feasible
FIGURE 19.-Unmistakable overgrazing indicators. These are (1) increasing
erosion-roots of bushes and grasses party exposed; (2) thinning of grama
sod; (3) intensive browsing of oak bushes to the point of stubby appearance, or
even the killing of occasional plants.
with sheep, but with cattle it is rare. Unless it is certain that the
herds can be moved when this uncertain irregular crop begins to dry
up, it is not excess forage (figs. 21, 22).
In judging excess forage it is necessary to know what portion of the
year constitutes the grazing period. Without this knowledge, areas
unused in autumn but reserved for winter grazing might, in September,
erroneously be regarded as excess.
Fire menace alone should not determine excess forage. The beneficial
effect of grazing in reducing fire risk should be fully appreciated,
but if grazing sufficiently close to eliminate most of the fire risk means
decided damage to important portions of the range, the unused
portions should not be considered excess.
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Talbot, M. W. (Murrell Williams), b. 1889. Indicators of Southwestern range conditions., book, December 1957; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5875/m1/21/?q=%22livestock%22: accessed June 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.