EXPLAINING DIFFERENT LAND USE TRAJECTORIES IN THE CHIHUAHUA-NEW MEXICO BORDERLANDS

Author: 
Hruska, Tracy
Publisher: 
Society for Range Management
Publication Year: 
2018
Description: 
Conversion of rangeland to housing and irrigated crops continues to be a concern in the Southwest. This study was devoted to understanding dramatic differences in land use/land cover in the US-Mexico border region along northwestern Chihuahua and the Bootheel of New Mexico. While southwestern New Mexico has remained overwhelmingly devoted to raising cattle on native range, northwestern Chihuahua has undergone steady conversion of range to irrigated crops over the last several decades. Given that the two sides of the border share the same ecology � that of mixed Chihuahuan Desert grasslands and shrublands, why has land use varied so dramatically in recent decades? This question was answered primarily through extensive interviews with residents of Janos municipality, Chihuahua, and Hidalgo County, New Mexico. Land conversion in Janos has been driven by the conjuncture of three quite separate factors: a national land reform that fractured large ranches into smaller ones intermixed with newly-created agrarian communities; an influx of ethnolinguistically distinct farmers � Mennonites � with a strong cultural value for farming; and a system of groundwater regulation that does little to regulate groundwater. With none of these factors present in Hidalgo County, the region also retains relatively low land values and a strong cultural value for ranching. The future of Janos now depends on the (largely unknown) profundity of its isolated aquifer, while the Bootheel will be shaped by other factors.
Conference Name: 
SRM Reno, NV
Conference Date: 
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Resource Type: 
Text
Document Type: 
Conference Proceedings
Society for Range Management

A collection of presentation titles and abstracts from the SRM Annual Meeting and Tradeshows