Economic evaluation of redberry juniper control in the Texas rolling plains



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Texas Tech University


Texas rangelands are an important resource to the Texas economy because they constitute a large portion of the state's total territory. Texas' total surface area amounts to 69.1 million ha. with rangeland constituting 38.5 million ha., or 61% of the area (Texas Soil and Water Conservation Board, 1991). This area has the capacity to sustain livestock and wildlife. In 1994, Texas rangelands supported 5.8 million beef cows, which produced about 4.4 million feeder cattle (Texas Agricultural Statistics Service, 1994).

According to the Natural Resource Conservation Service, bmsh infestation is a major problem on Texas rangelands (U.S. Dept. of Agric, 1964). The occurrence of bmsh reduces the capacity of these lands to support livestock and wildlife. As rangelands become infested with bmsh, carrying capacity decreases because forage production is decreased. "Worthless bmsh is slowly and surely suffocating the livestock industry in Texas and the Southwest by robbing ranches of their soil, water, and plant resources" (U.S. Dept. of Agric, 1964, p. 1). To individual ranchers, the presence of brush results in lost productivity and lower revenue.

Texas had 35.8 million ha. of rangeland infested by woody plants in 1964, representing 82% of all rangelands (U.S. Dept. of Agric, 1964). In 1982 the five major bmsh species on Texas rangelands were mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), pricklypear (Opuntia spp.), yucca (Yucca spp.), live oak (Quercus virginiana), and redberry juniper Juniperuspinchotii). By 1987 the major rangeland-invading bmsh species had altered slightly so that the five most common species were mesquite, pricklypear, black brush {Acacia rigidula), live oak, and redberry juniper (Texas Soil and Water Conservation Board, 1991) (Table 1.1).



Juniper, Juniperus pinchotii, Range plants