The use of brush management methods: A Texas landowner survey
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Adoption of effective brush management methods is critical to achieving many rangeland management objectives. However, landowners have often been reluctant to adopt new practices. In April 2000, a questionnaire was mailed to the 1 058 landowners in 48 Texas counties to identify factors that influence land management decisions, especially with respect to brush management practices, including Brush Busters treatments. Brush Busters is a Texas-based program developed to expedite the adoption of "select" individual plant treatments through the use of environmentally safe methods. Overall, landowners were "neutral" to "dissatisfied" with regard to the amount of brush on their land. Two primary reasons for wanting to decrease brush were to increase forage production and to conserve water. Kind of brush and cost of brush control were important factors determining the preferred treatment type. In general, the most effective methods were considered to be mechanical treatments for juniper (Juniperus ashei) and individual plant herbicide treatments for mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) and prickly pear (Opuntia spp.). Mechanical treatments and aerial herbicide applications were perceived to be the most expensive methods, followed by individual plant herbicide treatments, and fire was considered to be the least expensive method. Our study indicated that landowners' satisfaction with Brush Busters' select methods will likely result in an increase in the use of individual plant herbicide treatments for controlling brush. Our study emphasized that a key for enhancing the adoption of sound rangeland management practices is the development and effective dissemination of user-friendly information about low-cost techniques that produce quick results. Easily visible demonstration sites and the establishment of cooperative groups could accelerate the adoption of such practices.