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POLITICAL ECOLOGIES OF CATTLE RANCHING IN NORTHERN MEXICO: Private Revolutions. By Eric P. Perramond. Jacob C. Brenner.
Table of contents

He persuasively argues that law and property were mutually constituted, neither operating as transcendent or autonomous, always mobilized by particular parties, with violence enmeshed in each. He illustrates that argument with illuminating, accessible and engaging accounts of particular contests over one of the largest communal land grants, the Tierra Amarilla grant.

Property emerges as a live, active, and vitally important concept. Moreover, it is a refreshingly well-written book, nimbly walking the difficult terrain between meticulous scholarship and well-crafted prose that makes it ideal for both the seasoned academic and anyone interested in a riveting story of violence, political struggles, and the very meaning of property.

Properties of Violence presents a way of conceiving of property as a mobile, fungible, plastic set of social relations. It rightly counter-poses land grants activists as active, rather than passive, participants in the on-going redefinition of land as property in northern New Mexico. Rather than becoming another interest group, CBCCs attempt to bring individuals from different interest groups together to promote the long-term health of particular landscapes.

Moreover, CBCCs are not temporary political coalitions.

In many cases, CBCCs avoid taking stands on controversial issues. Instead, the successful ones serve as nodes that bring producers, environmentalists, scientists, and agency personnel together. Their goal is to search for the common ground that unites people rather than to remain trapped within the issues that divide them.

Personal & Professional Notes

CBCCs are trying to stitch the West back together again in an intangible but fundamental way: by bringing together people with different interests, ideologies, and backgrounds to speak with rather than at each other. And common goals often revolve around ecological processes that cut across the jurisdictional boundaries that carve up the West: the movement of wildlife, the spread of invasive species, the flow of water, the reintroduction of fire as a natural disturbance in fire-adapted ecosystems.

As such, CBCCs serve as means to conserve those regions; they organize or participate in specific projects. They develop burn plans and help carry out prescribed fires. They restore eroded gullies. They improve wildlife habitat or build and maintain rural roads that capture runoff and reduce erosion.

The Thorn - A Documentary on New Mexico Cattle Ranching

Another shared goal is economic: a desire to keep ranch and forest lands from being converted into subdivisions and strip malls. To prevent urbanization, however, rural producers have to be able to make a living off the land. It is not easy to be a rancher or a forester in the modern West, especially during a recession.

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One possible source of income in the future may be conservation itself. The Forest Service is already awarding stewardship contracts to thin forests to reduce fuel loads to CBCCs in some national forests see an overview article in American Forests. In the future, federal, state, county, and municipal agencies may discover that contracting CBCCs to carry out such conservation projects may be more cost-effective than doing it themselves.

If a second revolution sweeps across the West, and if federal and state agencies develop more inclusive and collaborative decision-making processes to manage public lands, CBCCs may provide the critical institutional framework needed to partner with government agencies to stitch the West back together again, one watershed at a time. Inspired by the Malpai Borderlands Group, AVCA ranchers wanted to return fire to their high desert grasslands and keep the valley as a working landscape—open and unfragmented by subdivisions that were sprawling across the rest of southern Arizona.

Those were hard years.

Eric Perramond | Colorado College - voiclearlethvecho.cf

During the late s, Arizona was ground zero in the Western range wars. Environmentalists, land managers and ranchers battled over the environmental impacts of cattle grazing. With its headquarters in Tucson, the Center for Biological Diversity targeted the Chilton family ranch and its Montana grazing allotment in the Coronado National Forest , arguing that Chilton cows were degrading Forest Service lands Sheridan One final tension deserves to be mentioned, between specificity and generalization.