|Schlesinger, William - DUKE UNIVERSITY|
Submitted to: Wildland Shrub Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 4, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: A historical analysis can generally take one of three formats: narrative, context or analogue (Wasson 1994). As narrative, the analysis is limited to a description detailing events that have occurred and the resulting trends in those events. As context, historical analysis explains the present state based on interpretations of its varied history. As analog, the analysis attempts to support predictions regarding future conditions. The narrative format is the safest in that it typically involves the least interpretation and assumption. The context format is expected to provide a framework for understanding current conditions and identifying current needs. The analog is the most useful and the most precarious. It shares the central premise of scientific experimentation, the desire to make predictions about the future. However, like science, it is the most subject to bias, misinterpretation, faulty data and the other vagaries of forecasting. It is important that we reflect on our recorded research history in all three formats. This parallels the scientific method and insures that we do not continue to needlessly reinvestigate what we have already learned. Fortunately, the Jornada Experimental Range's (JER) history overlaps that of the discipline of rangeland management. Reviewing the history of the JER should not be a parochial exercise, but should have a wider generic application to the history of the discipline. In general, the history of research at the JER has six often overlapping and evolving themes. These six research themes are range management, animal husbandry, ecology, range improvement, interdisciplinary sciences and ecosystem science.