Page 19

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Title Is Utah Sahara Bound?
Subject Agriculture--Utah; Land use--Utah
Description The 11th Annual Frederick William Reynolds Lecture.
Creator Cottam, Walter Pace, 1894-
Publisher Extension Division, University of Utah
Date 1947-02-19
Date Digital 2008-05-29
Type Text
Format image/jpeg
Digitization Specifications Original scanned on Epson Expression 10000XL flatbed scanner and saved as 400 ppi uncompressed tiff. Display images generated in PhotoshopCS and uploaded into CONTENTdm Aquisition Station.
Resource Identifier,458
Source LD5526 .U8 n.s. v.37 no.11
Language eng
Relation Digital reproduction of "Is Utah Sahara Bound?," J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections
Rights Digital Image Copyright University of Utah
Metadata Cataloger Seungkeol Choe; Ken Rockwell
ARK ark:/87278/s6w66hr0
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2009-03-13
ID 319731
Reference URL

Page Metadata

Title Page 19
Description CAUSES OF VEGETATIONAL CHANGE 19 that day as a period of forage impoverishment. Supplemental feeding of livestock was unknown at that time, yet fat cattle were obtained at any season of the year. Fat sheep were marketed on the desert range in midwinter during the decade of 1895-1904. Such an achievement would have been utterly impossible during the recent drought period. The evidence seems conclusive that in the early days the damaging effects of acute shortage of moisture in drought years was unexpressed merely because the period of overuse was insufficiently long to have impaired visibly the recuperative power of the desert forage. Drought is not a new phenomenon of the desert. But disastrous range impoverishment is new. A question of practical and theoretical importance is that while all vegetational types have experienced considerable change both in 'the quality and the quantity of forage under grazing use, only the foothill areas of the Bonneville Basin have suffered drastic transformation in vegetative type. Grass, which probably dominated the major upland Basin areas a century ago, has been in the main replaced by desert shrubs or junipers. Several factors have undoubtedly contributed to this phenomenon: (1) Foothill vegetation has been much more severely grazed than other desert or mountain areas. Climatic and physiographic peculiarities of the region have of course been responsible for this. The steep escarpment which limits the Great Basin on the east is in general without extensive foothills and consequently spring-fall ranges are wholly inadequate to balance the summer grazing lands of the mountains or the extensive winter ranges of the lower Basin areas. Without supplemental feed, therefore, the upper desert lands have been subjected to disproportionate grazing use. (2) The vicissitudes of weather are greater in deserts than in adjacent mountain areas. Deterioration of vegetation, especially during and after drought years, proceeds with greater rapidity under grazing use, and, conversely, recovery is much slower. (3) It is possible that the grassy, desert plains type of vegetation of a century ago represented a relict or post-climax vegetation of a former post-glacial climate and was therefore ecologically un-adapted to withstand grazing use. The rapidity with which grassy uplands were invaded by desert shrubs gives credence to this assumption. Historical evidence suggests that the major transformations from grass to shrubs near populated centers took place within the first quarter of a century after settlement. Such rapid succession could be explained on the assumption that grass dominated the upland desert areas as a relict type and held its advantage in competition with shrubs by reason of priority rather than through climatic adaptability. Under such delicate ecological balance the introduction of the grazing factor initiated a successional change that proceeded rapidly to a more or less stabilized shrubby type. The soundness of this theory will have received a major test when grass reseeded areas of the sagebrush foothill zone can be compared with similar areas of higher altitudes with respect to their
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 019-RNLT-CottamWP_Page 19.jpg
Source Original Manuscript: Is Utah Sahara Bound? by Walter P. Cottam.
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-07-29
ID 319708
Reference URL