Institutions

Pushing the boundaries of current practice—and thought.

Over time institutions—land grant universities, state and federal conservation agencies, NGOs and grassroots conservation organizations and big business—have become as inextricably linked as the ecosystems they explore, manage and regulate. While close association strengthens the network and can improve cooperation, it can also lead to a narrow-minded group think. Unfortunately, complicated natural resource issues can rarely be solved with a single, silver bullet solution.

In the mid-20th Century, technology and chemistry began to replace manpower in agricultural production. More people moved to the cities. Efficiencies gained through chemical fertilizers and pesticides, allowed fewer people to produce more livestock and crops at higher levels intensifying and industrializing agriculture. Monocultures are easier to manage than diversity.

Large agri-chemical companies benefited. More inputs meant more money. The giants funneled research dollars targeted to the use and application of these inputs into universities and government agencies. Generations of researchers, regulators, conservationists and producers have been indoctrinated with the idea that better living could actually occur through chemistry.

Consolidation and economies of scale further intensified production. Independent producers slowly gave way to large-scale corporate farms and confinement livestock operations with attendant environmental issues. Lags in yield were compensated for by the addition of chemicals and intensifying management practices.

When, in the late 1980s, the notion of wildlife management on private lands began to take hold, practitioners reached into the same bag of tools that prompted the industrialization of agriculture. Brush was sprayed. Eventually deer were penned.

The land, the water, the wildlife and the web that interconnects them can only be manipulated so far before nature’s balance is disrupted. Organic matter disappears. Soil microbes perish. Water runs off and evaporates. Native vegetation dies. Diseases emerge. Species die.

Today, the natural world is precariously out of balance. And yet, instead of looking at the whole and attempting to move its diverse parts into alignment, our conservation institutions continue to treat the symptoms with prescriptions that don’t cure the underlying illness.

It is self-preservation. Without funding, they cease to exist. As a result, the status quo dominates science and the natural world suffers for it.

Now is the time to learn from our mistakes and think beyond the ineffective ruts of tradition.

Latest articles

Read more about land grant universities, state and federal conservation agencies, NGOs and grassroots conservation organizations and big business practices related to biodiversity.

Wyoming’s Incredible Animal Migrations Revealed as Never Before

“Here is a wonderful video showing animal movements around Yellowstone and Teton National Parks. In a first-of-its-kind mapping project by the University of Wyoming, researchers track how elk, mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn […]

Maybe This is Why You Don’t Like the Research Coming From Land Grant Colleges

This thoughtful article discusses inadequate funding for the land grant colleges and how this shortfall affects research. Not mentioned is that, faced with this continual funding crisis, the land grant colleges have accepted massive funding […]

EPA Allows Farmers to Keep Using Bayer’s Controversial Weedkiller

Collapsing insect populations probably explain the loss of much wildlife – including quail. Insect disappearance is an ominous trend which could foretell the failure of the world’s food web. Meanwhile the agrochemical giants continue to […]

A&M Cotton Research Could Open New Front in War on Weeds

Hybridization of plants and animals is as old as agriculture and a good thing unless it attacks nature. Instead of producing modified plants that withstand weeds and parasites the international agrogiants like Monsanto/Bayer turned GMO’s […]

Book Review… No Risk Ranching: Custom Grazing on Leased Land

Those who wish to enter ranching but can’t afford a ranch should consider this way of getting started. And those who already own land can increase their profits by this same method.

Did Humans Live in California 100,000 Years Earlier Than We Thought?

At our Circle Ranch Indian Cave,  Arizona State University found charcoal that radiocarbon dating says is 25,000-years older than the 10,000 BC date which most scientists say is when humans arrived in North America.  This […]

Federal Lands: A 660 Million-Acre Mess

There is general consensus that Federal lands are mismanaged, but no agreement on how to fix the problem. Should ownership and management: (1) remain as is? Or, should some federal lands (2) be transferred to […]

How the West Was Won: Selling of the Waggoner Ranch

The “80-20 Rule” states that typically, 80 percent of business profits come from 20 percent of total efforts. This simple insight is the single most powerful of all money-making principles. In ranching, 80 percent of […]

Eyewitness Account of Pronghorn, Bison, Elk, & Mule Deer Sharing Desert Ranges

According to invasive species believers, including TPWD, bison and elk should be removed from our state parks and wildlife management areas because they don’t belong and because they “compete” with, and “harm” desert bighorn sheep […]

Can the States Seize Control of Federal Lands?

When Texas joined the union, we kept our public lands and almost all of those were sold over the next hundred years. That’s why 97% of Texas is private. This is a major reason for […]

Multi-Paddock Grazing

Most range and wildlife scientists advise that the best way to graze, if one must graze, is “low-density set-stocking”: In plain English, a few cattle in the same place, all the time.For decades now, planned […]

Genuine Land Stewardship

Reprinted in its entirety below is an excellent article by our friend, Steve Nelle, entitled Genuine Land Stewardship.  Steve is a range and wildlife scientist who has enjoyed a long and successful career in the National Resources […]