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Historic land use and grazing patterns in northern New MexicoAuthor(s): Carol Raish
Source: In: Shaw, Douglas W.; Finch, Deborah M., tech coords. Desired future conditions for Southwestern riparian ecosystems: Bringing interests and concerns together. 1995 Sept. 18-22, 1995; Albuquerque, NM. General Technical Report RM-GTR-272. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. p. 189-197.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station
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DescriptionThe entrance of the Spanish into what is now New Mexico in the 1500s permanently altered aboriginal land use and subsistence patterns by the introduction of domesticated animals such as horses, cattle. sheep, goats, and pigs. During the Spanish Colonial and Mexican periods, both the Puebloan groups and the Hispanic settlers practiced mixed farming featuring small numbers of livestock pastured in communal grazing areas. After New Mexico became a United States Territory, large-scale ranching ventures also developed in the area. The rapid rise in stock numbers associated with the commercial ranching ventures, combined with 250 years of grazing around the existing small communities, led to degradation of land and water resources both in the uplands and in riparian areas. Large-scale efforts to reduce stocking and restore degraded lands have been undertaken by the federal government since the early 1900s. Yet grazing on federal lands remains a topic of controversy and debate, as well as an important aspect of the lifeway of the small Hispanic communities of the region. If the traditional lifeways of these communities are to survive, means must be found to balance the goals of ecosystem restoration with the stock raising needs of the small villages.
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CitationRaish, Carol. 1996. Historic land use and grazing patterns in northern New Mexico. In: Shaw, Douglas W.; Finch, Deborah M., tech coords. Desired future conditions for Southwestern riparian ecosystems: Bringing interests and concerns together. 1995 Sept. 18-22, 1995; Albuquerque, NM. General Technical Report RM-GTR-272. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. p. 189-197.
Keywordsriparian ecosystems, human dimensions, hydrology, ecology, history, restoration
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