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Other titles in the Legal History of North America series:
Legal History of North America #5: The Western Range Revisited: Removing Livestock from Public Lands to Conserve Native Biodiversityby Debra Donahue
Synopses & Reviews
The Western Range Revisited has ignited a firestorm of controversy since its original publication. Angry critics have called, not just for Debra L. Donahue's dismissal, but for the dissolution of the University of Wyoming College of Law, where she teaches. Citizens on all sides of the issue have voiced opinions through letters to the editor in Wyoming state newspapers.<P>Sparking this debate is Donahue's proposal to eliminate livestock grazing on large blocks of arid land administered by the Bureau of Land Management in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Her arguments are two: First, the BLM grazing program produces only a tiny fraction of the nation's livestock products, and it costs far more to administer than it generates in revenues. Second, livestock grazing adversely affects all other uses of public land, causing potentially irreversible damage to native wildlife and vegetation. Donahue argues that eliminating livestock on arid public lands makes economic sense, is ecologically expedient, and can be achieved under existing law.<P>In response to those who view livestock grazing on federal lands as central to the history and culture of the West, Donahue debunks the cowboy myth along with traditional notions of the importance of public lands ranching to western society and economies.<P>The Western Range Revisited makes a persuasive case for a land-management strategy that until now has been "unthinkable". For anyone concerned about the landscape of the West, this book is essential reading.
Livestock grazing is the most widespread commercial use of federal public lands. The image of a herd grazing on Bureau of Land Management or U.S. Forest Service lands is so traditional that many view this use as central to the history and culture of the West. Yet the grazing program costs far more to administer than it generates in revenues, and grazing affects all other uses of public lands, causing potentially irreversible damage to native wildlife and vegetation.
The Western Range Revisited proposes a landscape-level strategy for conserving native biological diversity on federal rangelands, a strategy based chiefly on removing livestock from large tracts of arid BLM lands in ten western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming.
Drawing from range ecology, conservation biology, law, and economics, Debra L. Donahue examines the history of federal grazing policy and the current debate on federal multiple-use, sustained-yield policies and changing priorities for our public lands. Donahue, a lawyer and wildlife biologist, uses existing laws and regulations, historical documents, economic statistics, and current scientific thinking to make a strong case for a land-management strategy that has been, until now, "unthinkable."
A groundbreaking interdisciplinary work, The Western Range Revisited demonstrates that conserving biodiversity by eliminating or reducing livestock grazing makes economic sense, is ecologically expedient, and can be achieved under current law.
About the Author
Debra L. Donahue, Professor of Law, University of Wyoming, teaches public-land law, water-pollution law, and natural resources law. She holds a J.D, from Texas A&M University. She has worked for three federal land management agencies, as well as the National Wildlife Federation.
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History and Social Science » Americana » Western States