Brush management economic and financial considerations
- Additional Document Info
- View All
During the twentieth century, woody plants, particularly mesquite (Prosopis spp.) and juniper (Juniperus spp.), have come to dominate much of Texas that was previously covered by grassland or open savanna (Smeins et al. 1997). Replacement of grasslands and savannas with woodlands is a trend that coincides with European settlement and is attributed to a variety of factors, including reduced fire frequency and overgrazing (Scholes and Archer 1997). When woody species increase in abundance and change grasslands and savannas into shrublands and woodlands, the ability of the land to provide valuable ecological services is altered. The altered ecological services include the provision of forage for grazing livestock, habitat for wildlife, sources of surface and ground water, and carbon and nitrogen sequestration and cycling potential. While brush management has long been an important practice on Texas rangelands, it was, here-to-fore, used primarily to enhance livestock production. Recently, there has been an increased interest in manipula tion and management of woody vegetation on rangelands to (1) enhance their suitability and/or productivity as wildlife habitat, (2) provide sources of surface water and/or groundwater recharge, and (3) serve as possible sinks for atmospheric carbon. In the first section of this chapter we will examine these potential ecological services and some of their associated economic aspects in more detail. Regardless of the reason for using it, brush manipulation and management are almost always costly, and often require very large investments. Whether the purpose is to enhance wildlife habitat, water yield, livestock production, or all of these, there are several economic and financial concepts and analytical techniques that managers may use to help insure that the brush management practices employed are as efficient and effective as possible. In the second section of this chapter we will delineate, describe, and explain the possible uses of a few of the most important of these concepts and techniques. 2004 by Texas A&M University Press. All Rights Reserved.
author list (cited authors)
complete list of authors
Brush Management: Past, Present, Future