Renewable Energy, Energy Conservation, and US Rangelands

Holechek, Jerry L.
Sawalhah, Mohammed N.
Cibils, Andrés F.
Society for Range Management
Publication Year: 
On the Ground• Depletion of conventional oil and natural gas reserves,rising world demand for fossil fuels, and changinggeo-political conditions necessitate that theUnitedStatesaggressively develop both renewable and nonrenewableenergy along with increasing energy conservation andefficiency. Thiswill affect how rangelands are used, createincome opportunities for ranchers, and expand employmentopportunities for professional range managers.• Air and ground water contamination and increasedearthquakes could be serious environmental challengesfrom expanded development of unconventional fossilfuels. Renewable energy development involving wind,solar, and biomass also have environmental hazards.Rangeland managers in the future must be prepared tominimize and ameliorate environmental damage fromdifferent types of energy developments while optimizingenergy production with traditional rangeland uses.• In our view, government policies encouraging energyconservation could significantly reduce rangeland losses tourbanandex-urbanization,dependenceonforeignoilimportsand carbon emissions. They would also extend the longevityof fossil fuel reserves providing a hedge against possiblefailure of renewable energy sources to meet future needs.Keywords: rangeland, renewable energy, energyconservation, ecosystem services, geopolitics.
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Society for Range Management

Rangelands, a publication of the Society for Range Management, serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of facts, ideas, and philosophies pertaining to the study, management, and use of rangelands. The journal features scientific and historical articles as well as Society news. It provides readers with scientifically accurate information in a user-friendly format, placed in context of the world we live in today. Rangelands is a practical (non-technical) counterpart of Rangeland Ecology & Management (formerly the Journal of Range Management). The Global Rangelands collection includes articles from Rangelands up to 3 years from the current year. Access to more recent content is available by subscription from BioOne and the Society for Range Management and may also be available at your local university library. 
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