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    Author(s): Linda Kennedy; Jane H. Bock
    Date: 2005
    Source: In: Gottfried, Gerald J.; Gebow, Brooke S.; Eskew, Lane G.; Edminster, Carleton B., comps. Connecting mountain islands and desert seas: biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago II. Proc. RMRS-P-36. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 241-244
    Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (117 KB)

    Description

    For most of the past 10,000 years, semi-arid grasslands of Southeastern Arizona have not been heavily impacted by large herds of hoofed animals. This began to change in the 1500s with the introduction of domestic livestock, primarily cattle. Impacts of this major ecological force on a native system were widespread. In 1968, Frank and Ariel Appleton created an outdoor laboratory, the Research Ranch, to examine the consequences of removing that major ecological force. The Audubon Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch is an 8,000-acre exclosure and living laboratory where short-term research projects are conducted and repeated, and where long-term study sites can be established. Results of these studies are providing sound scientific information that is being used to formulate policy on regional planning and land management issues. Perhaps the most useful role for the facility continues to be its use as a control for the many “environmental experiments” going on throughout the Southwest as the human population of the region increases. Impacts of road building, recreational usage, conversion of once open spaces to exurban home sites, and a shrinking, but usually locally valued, cattle industry can be evaluated with more insight when compared to conditions on the Research Ranch.

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    Citation

    Kennedy, Linda; Bock, Jane H. 2005. The Research Ranch: what do you do with a grassland besides raise cows?. In: Gottfried, Gerald J.; Gebow, Brooke S.; Eskew, Lane G.; Edminster, Carleton B., comps. Connecting mountain islands and desert seas: biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago II. Proc. RMRS-P-36. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 241-244

    Keywords

    rangelands, grasslands, semiarid climate, livestock, fire, drought, planning, land management, research

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