Introduction to Hawaii Rangelands

Rangelands are a type of land, not a use of land. They are not urban land and they are not agricultural crop land. They include some forests, some woodlands and other vegetation types not usually associated with range, but primarily, rangelands are grasslands, shrublands and savannas, and grasslands with scattered trees and shrubs.

Rangelands are used for many purposes. They provide wildlife habitat, forage for livestock, recreational opportunities, open space, scenic beauty, and they serve as watersheds. Rangelands offer a variety of products and values. Usually these uses are mixed and sometimes they are competing.

In Rangeland Ecology and Management., (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1994), H.F. Heady and D. Child define range managment as:

"Range management is a discipline and an art that skillfully applies an organized body of knowledge accumulated by range science and practical experience for two purposes: (1) protection, improvement, and continued welfare of the basic resources, which in many situations include soils, vegetation, endangered plants and animals, wilderness, water, and historical sites; and (2) optimum production of goods and services in combinations needed by society...Management of rangeland requires selection of alternative techniques for optimum production of goods and services with no resource damage...While emphasis is often placed on effects and management of domestic animals, the overriding goal is rangeland resource rehabilitation, protection, and management for multiple objectives including biological diversity, preservation, and sustainable development for people."

Rangeland managers usually focus on the soils and vegetation and the impact of animals, including man, on these. Within rangeland management, however, people can also specialize in plant ecology, plant physiology, wildlife habitat, animal science, economics, even sociology and political science.

Text adapted from the Arizona Rangelands web site

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