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North Texas University (2011)

Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland

Becker, Wayne

Titre : Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland

Auteur : Becker, Wayne

Université de soutenance : North Texas University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2011

Description
To assess sustainability of privately owned rangeland, a questionnaire was used to gathered data from ranches in Cooke, Montague, Clay, Wise, Parker, and Jack counties in North Central Texas. Information evaluated included : management philosophy, economics, grazing practices, environmental condition, quality of life, and demographics. Sustainability indices were created based on economic and land health indicator variables meeting a minimum Cronbach‘s alpha coefficient (α = 0.7). Hierarchical regression analysis was used to create models explaining variance in respondents’ indices scores. Five predictors explained 36% of the variance in rangeland economic sustainability index when respondents : 1) recognized management inaction has opportunity costs affecting economic viability ; 2) considered forbs a valuable source of forage for wildlife or livestock ; 3) believed governmental assistance with brush control was beneficial ; 4) were not absentee landowners and did not live in an urban area in Texas, and ; 5) valued profit, productivity, tax issues, family issues, neighbor issues or weather issues above that of land health. Additionally, a model identified 5 predictors which explained 30% of the variance for respondents with index scores aligning with greater land health sustainability. Predictors indicated : 1) fencing cost was not an obstacle for increasing livestock distribution ; 2) land rest was a component of grazing plans ; 3) the Natural Resource Conservation Service was used for management information ; 4) fewer acres were covered by dense brush or woodlands, and ; 5) management decisions were not influenced by friends. Finally, attempts to create an index and regression analysis explaining social sustainability was abandoned, due to the likely-hood of type one errors. These findings provide a new line of evidence in assessing rangeland sustainability, supporting scientific literature concerning rangeland sustainability based on ranch level indicators. Compared to measuring parameters on small plots, the use of indices allows for studying replicated whole- ranch units using rancher insight. Use of sustainability indices may prove useful in future rangeland research activities.

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