Ground-Breaking Study by Y2U's John Carter Shows Why Public Lands are Overgrazed

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Y2U Staff Ecologist Dr. John Carter worked with his colleagues Allison Jones and Emanuel Vasquez to publish a paper in March of this year in the Journal of Geographic Information Systems, “Spatial analysis of livestock grazing and Forest Service management in the High Uintas Wilderness, Utah”. The article describes a spatially explicit forage capacity model showing how much forage there is for native species and livestock to consume and provides an analysis for the High Uintas Wilderness.

Their paper tells the story of the lack of capacity of the land to support domestic sheep. The Uinta Wilderness does not have the capacity, that is, the capability for grazing livestock due to the risk of erosion, steep slopes, limited forage, and arid climate. The Forest Service knew this in the 1960s but have since ignored their own Range Conservationist, Mont Lewis who pointed this out in his report on conditions and suitability for grazing domestic sheep here in 1970. He determined then that these lands were mostly not suitable for grazing.

Y2U has provided feedback to the U.S. Forest Service to address overgrazing and disease transmission to bighorn sheep in the Uinta Mountains. Learn more about this important work by clicking here.