Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/14/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The United States and Mexico share many natural resources. By sharing information on resources, such as rangeland, it should be possible for both countries to manage their resources more efficiently. However, because of different institutional objectives, information about rangeland management is rarely available in either country in a form that permits direct application in the other country. This paper compares the different federal institutions involved in range management and the way they use information about potential vegetation communities. A common approach based on the Natural Resources Conservation Service classification system is proposed, as that approach has been developed over many years and is applied by many US agencies. In contrast, there is no one agency in Mexico charged with providing ranchers with technical assistance that would have to abandon its approach. A test in a pilot area in Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora and Chihuahua is also proposed.
Technical Abstract: Economic pressures are forcing a continual re-evaluation of the scope of agricultural research programs. One response that could maintain or improve the benefits of agricultural research programs is more concerted international cooperation. In this paper a number of issues related to cooperation on range research to support conservation planning in the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico are analyzed. The federal institutions that support improved rangeland management in both countries are described. The information and approach of the Natural Resource Conservation Service's (NRCS) Ecological Site Descriptions is compared to that of the counterpart from Mexico, Forage Production Sites by COTECOCA ("Technical Commission for Stocking Rates"). The major areas of shared resources along the US-Mexico border are listed. Lastly, the development of a common framework based on the NRCS classification approach is proposed, along with the development of a common natural resource management databas as a pilot test in Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora and Chihuahua based on Major Land Resource Area 41. A map showing that area in the US, an estimate of the corresponding area in Mexico, and some of the ARS and INIFAP research locations emphasizes the potential for mutual benefit from collaborative research.