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New Patterns on [and and Water MODERNIZATION OF AGRICULTURE A productive and efficient agriculture is one of the great strengths of the United States. Applications of new knowledge and techniques have made it possible to engage a steadily declining proportion of the population in food and fiber production and, at the same time, in- crease the quantity, quality, and variety of output. The rising trend in farm production had its beginning in the late 1930's and early 1940's, as the national economy recovered from a catastrophic depression and geared for war. It has yet to show signs of slackening. In 1967, American farms turned out a volume of food and fiber that exceeded by 3, percent the volume produced in 1950. Trend toward Large Cropping Units This increase in production seems all the more remarkable when the circumstances are considered. From 1950 to 1967, the number of farms in the nation dropped by about two and a half million. In order to utilize the work potential of machines and offset rising costs of labor and materials, commercial farmers have increased the size of their operations. Farmers harvested 34 million fewer acres in 1967 than in 1950, and farm employment declined by 5 million persons in the 1 7-year period. The small subsistence farm is rapidly passing out 55
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56 Land Use and Wildlife Resources of existence as older operators die or move. A major portion of the abandoned acreage is in the eastern United States, lands once reclaimed Tom the primitive forest. Thus, the area is now in various stages of re- version to forest, and its wild fauna is changing accordingly. The foregoing trends, accepted without further inquiry, sometimes lead city dwellers to the specious conclusion that our agriculture is undergoing a national decline. But it is the essence of economic and technologic progress that a nation devote progressively less of its activity to the production of basic necessities and more to endeavors that make life more stimulating and enjoyable. The 37 percent increase in agricultural yields in 17 years represents an accomplishment strikingly different from the progress shown in our historic development. Until early in this century, farm output in- creased with the growth of population and with the expansion of that population westward to bring new lands under the plow. In the decade after 1870, a time when settlement of the West was in full swing, the number of farms rose by half, and production showed a similar rise. After 1880 the rate of establishment of new farms slowed somewhat as the better lands were settled. In the 40 years it took for the num- ber of farms to reach a maximum, the acreage in crops nearly doubled. Expansion of cropland still was the principal means of increasing agricultural yield, and the volume of crops for human use also nearly doubled. The recent major spurt in production came long after the peak of are al expansion. In fact, with this growth has come a reduction in the need for more cropland. Land so used dropped from 377 million acres in 1950 to 342 million in 1967. During that period, farmers over the nation withdrew from crops an acreage exceeding the land area of New England. On the northern plains, farmers withdrew more than 1 acre in 20, primarily in response to programs instituted to re- duce grain surpluses. But the proportionate shrinkage has been sharp- est in the South. There almost 1 acre in 4 has been converted from cropping to other uses. Causes and Effects The extensive and rapid reduction in crop acreage has been effected in several ways. In part it represents the withdrawal of whole farms from agriculture, particularly those surrounding urban areas, and many in submarginal areas. Some of the decrease can be attributed to land-rationing programs the government has sponsored since 1950. But much of it stems from the discovery by farmers that, within
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New Patterns on Land and Water 57 broad limits, it is more economical to increase yields through im- proved methods than to cultivate more land for the same amount of product. In the 1 7-year period, crop production per acre rose nationally by nearly 50 percent and in some parts of the South by about 100 per- cent. Such changes have been the basis for predictions that by 1980 we can readily supply our sharply increasing domestic requirement for farm products and increase exports moderately with even further re- ductions in our cropland base. The advent of the tractor and other motor-driven equipment re- leased millions of acres of land that had been used in producing feed for horses and mules. Between 1930 and 1967, land used for this pur- pose was reduced from 65 million acres to 4 million acres (Economic Research Service, 1 968a). Thus, an area equivalent to 80 percent of the cultivated land in the Corn Belt was added to land available for producing human food. Indirectly, availability of this acreage made it possible for managers to assign less intensive uses to marginal lands that previously had been cultivated. The ability of agriculture to achieve striking improvements in pro- ductivity while constantly yielding part of its land to nonfarm uses suggests that the structure of the industry has been substantially changed. The change has evolved as a response to the persistent pres- sures that accompany national economic expansion. That it has been healthy for segments of the industry is evidenced by the increased size of the average farm. Today's "average farmer" operates a farm twice the size of the one run by his 1940 counterpart. Expansion of farm enterprises has long been a characteristic of American agriculture. In the days when labor was a major component of farm input, farmers expanded their operations as new tools, better horse-drawn equipment, and new methods slowly improved the work capacity of labor. Although the largest gains in acreage per farm have occurred since the advent of the tractor, a national trend to larger management units was well under way by the turn of the century. The trend continued in the North and West even as the number of farms was pushed higher by the establishment of new farms. Prevalence of the sharecropper system in the South delayed by several decades the beginning of the trend in that region. But since 1940 southern farms have displayed a spectacular gain in acreage. Changes in the economic pattern have been accompanied by major changes in the ecological pattern on the land. Poorly managed "patch farming" produced ex- cellent quail habitat and a colorful kind of hunting; unfortunately,
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58 Land Use and Wildlife Resources the larger modernized agricultural unit does not do so well for wild- life by-products. Generally, when small farms are converted into large management units, wildlife habitat deteriorates drastically (see Chapter 41. This deterioration undoubtedly has occurred on a broad scale. Early tabu- lations from the 1964 Census of Agriculture indicate that about three fourths of the 2.2 million loss in number of farms occurred among units of less than l DO acres. In fact, more than half the farms that disappeared were less than 50 acres. Ownership and Tenancy The American agricultural "revolution" has featured not only a major overhauling of the land-use pattern and a shift to mechanization but also a significant change in the tenure of farm operators. By 1959, about 80 percent of all farms were operated by owners and part owners, in comparison with only 57 percent in 1935. Between 1935 and 1959, the proportion of all farms worked by tenants declined from 42 percent to- less than 20 percent. In the South, the proportion of farms operated by sharecroppers changed from 10.5 percent in 1935 to slightly more than 3 percent in 1959 (Economic Research Service, 1 966). Who owns and manages the land has important implications in the long-term outlook for soil and water conservation as well as for other values not associated with immediate returns. There is little incentive for a sharecropper or tenant to invest his efforts in management for the future or to consider a by-product such as wildlife. There is, in- stead, a real incentive to emphasize practices promising the greatest income in the shortest time. An increase in the proportion of owners and operators of farms means generally greater attention to scientific methods. However, the end result is likely to be a specialized, more intensive land use, and this is largely inimical to the kind of management that benefits wildlife. That this is not true of all types of agriculture is evident from Chap- ter4. I m pacts of Change Combined effects of the foregoing trends appear to be promoting specialization in agricultural production. Sharp differences in cropping systems are developing, even within long-established production areas. To exploit their available resources, farmers are making not less than three kinds of major organizational adjustments:
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New Patterns on Land and Water 59 (1 ) Crop production is being shifted to areas of expansive, level, productive soils that lend themselves to mechanization and to inten- sive use of fertilizers and other chemicals. (2) Within these areas, farmers with a suitable land base are confining their attention increas- ingly to a few regionally adapted crops. (3) Location shifts accom- panied by specialization make it possible to exploit the capacities of costly field equipment and frequently to achieve a higher degree of efficiency than is possible with a more diversified operation on less productive soils. When supplementary enterprises are reduced, it is often the livestock group that is dropped. These reorganizations are resulting in major changes in the cropping pattern and the agricultural landscape-changes that significantly affect the potential for recreation benefits. Improved land manage- ment and greater industrial values reduce the economic position of wildlife, which, in most cases, depends in part on the presence of uncropped areas and semipermanent types of vegetation (see Chapter 41. These essentials of the wildlife habitat are being wiped out by the efficient technology that is taking over our best soils. Trends in drainage are a case in point: Excess water is a problem on much cropland in the humid part of the country. Nationally, about 1 12 million acres need further artificial drainage for maximum agri- cultural use (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 19651. Half of this acreage lies in the Corn Belt and the lower Mississippi Valley, two major areas where the rapid shift to large-scale cropping is occurring. The alluvial and glacial soils are pocketed with sloughs, potholes, and other wet depressions, which provide excellent wildlife habitat but commonly are an agricultural liability (Chapter 51-. Some of the earlier attempts at drainage left spoilbank barriers or resulted in ir- regularly shaped fields poorly adapted to the use of multirow equip ment. Land grading for improved drainage and the removal of surface irregularities is increasing. Artificial reshaping to a constant slope, a practice originating in the arid West as an aid to irrigation, is now used in humid areas. The Soil Conservation Service provides techni- cal assistance in land forming and by 1966 had contributed to these practices on 13.6 million acres. Of this total, 190,000 acres was classi- fied as drainage land grading, requiring detailed engineering survey and layout; 8.6 million acres as irrigation land leveling; and 4.9 million acres as land smoothing or rough grading to remove irregularities. As part of the readjustments in land use, livestock operations are becoming more specialized. In the Corn Belt fewer farmers feed cattle and hogs, and the average size of such enterprises is increasing.
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60 Land Use and Wildlife Resources Poultry production (non-land-based) is being shifted to sites of low agricultural value. Cotton raising is moving (as fast as artificial restraints permit) to irrigated areas in the Southwest and California. In the three Delta states this crop is being shifted from small hill farms to the level fertile soils of the Delta proper. Even more corn is being raised in the Corn Belt; this region has increased its proportion- ate share of the national crop by a third since 1950. While the north- ern plains area is still dominant in wheat, production is increasing on the southern plains. The great advantages of mechanization and irri- gation in vegetable production have caused a concentration of these crops in the California Central Valley and level lands in the south- eastern states. The pasturing of livestock is declining in the Corn Belt, the Lake States, and the Northeast, and is gravitating to range- lands of the South and West. The largest percentage gains in live- stock production have been in the Delta and southeastern states. All these trends have added to agricultural efficiency and yields. The land-use picture is one of a highly technical and specialized food and fiber industry taking over almost exclusive use of the most fertile and productive lands of the continent. Correspondingly, marginal farming is on the decline, thus making way for uses more compatible with land capabilities and public demand. Where such areas are not pre-empted for human occupancy, wildlife, forests, and recreation are likely to improve their standing as social and economic benefits. Federally financed programs dealing with soil and water conserva- tion problems on a national scale have profoundly influenced prac- tices and attitudes as they relate to land use. Extensive knowledge of land capabilities, collected over the past three decades, serves as a guide in determining the wisest and most profitable use for a given tract of land. In addition, there has developed a conservation con- sciousness in both farm and nonfarm people to a degree unknown before. Gains and Losses in the Agricultural Base Our uses of land have by no means adjusted fully to the agricultural potential, nor are they likely to do so. Charles E. Kellogg has esti- mated (unpublished data) that we have some 50 million acres of soil used for crops-or with an official cropping history that makes them eligible for crop uses-that are not suitable for farming under any known combination of practices. On the other hand, about 230
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New Patterns on Land and Water 61 million acres of soils (leaving out temporarily idle areas, federal lands, highways, and urban sites) suitable for cropping are not so used. Most of this land has a cover of brush, trees, or grass. Despite the striking decline of land in farms, cropland acreage, and number of farms, a substantial acreage of new land is being brought into cultivation through drainage and irrigation and in other ways. Eight states have increased their cropland harvested up to 1965: Dela- ware, to which vegetable production has shifted as urbanization has taken over cropland in other states; Florida, where drainage and irriga- tion have brought large acreages into sugarcane, citrus, melons, and tomatoes; Arkansas, which reflects the effects of drainage and clearing of Mississippi Delta alluvial land; and Montana, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington, where irrigation developments have brought about net increases in cropland. In total, these eight states added to their cropland harvested by 1.9 million acres; the total decrease in the 48 contiguous states was about 43 million acres. In view of the fact that major problems of American agriculture are associated with surpluses, adding new land is open to question. This is especially true since the most readily available land has been taken up, and today the reclamation of more desert, swamp, and low forest lands is a high-cost enterprise. Also, it is frequently destructive of outdoor recreational environments and wildlife. Although pressing need for human food worldwide may eventually require that more lands be brought into this type of production, there should be a more careful weighing of costs and values than in the past. He w Cro plands by Irriga lion The availability of irrigation water makes cropping possible on the highly mineralized soils of the arid West, and it supplements rainfall on many areas in the humid eastern states. In rice culture, irrigation is a routine requirement for profitable yields. Irrigated land on farms throughout the United States totaled more than 37 million acres in 1964. Seventeen western states accounted for more than 33 million acres. Nationwide, land under irrigation is now increasing at the rate of 780,000 acres annually, and in the period 1949 to 1964, western states accounted for 80 percent of the increase. The total area of irrigated land is now approximately 40 million acres. Changes in irrigated acreage are uneven within regions and within time periods because of variations in availability of water, the amount of rainfall, and demand for products. Although irrigated acreage in the West increased by 6.5 million acres during a recent 10-year period,
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62 Land Use and Wildlife Resources acreage decreased substantially in three of the states because of a shortage of surface water. In the Delta states, restrictions on rice acreage resulted in a decrease of total acreage irrigated, despite a marked increase in irrigation of cotton and soybeans. A survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (1965) appraised irrigation potentials based on the limiting factors of soil suitability and the availability of water within watersheds as planning units. It ap- peared that 66.9 million acres of cropland and pasture (slightly more than double the 33.2 million acres estimated by the Bureau of the Census to have been irrigated in 1959) would benefit from additional water. Although there has been a steady increase in irrigation, much of the land already was in crop production, particularly in the humid East. But much of the 9-million-acre increase in land irrigated between 1950 and 1965 in the 17 western states also comprised land previ- ously cropped under dry-land conditions. In the most arid states-New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada-the irrigated area increased from 2.7 to 3.0 million acres between 1950 and 1965, and most of this represents "new" cropland. From the standpoint of wildlife relationships, it is of interest to note that 51 percent of the irrigated cropland in the West is used for the production of livestock feed. In addition, more than 5 million irrigated acres in the region are in pasture or other nonharvested crops (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 962b). About 56 percent of the irrigation water in the West is from streamflow, representing an annual withdrawal of some 120 million acre-feet (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 962a). Major impound- ments help provide this large volume of water, and nearly complete use is being made of streamflow in some of the older irrigation areas; yet the search for new sources continues. The wildlife species most notably associated with western irrigated land from the latitude of Colorado northward is the ringneck pheas- ant (Hart et al., 1956; Yeager et al., 19561. This Asian gamebird was first naturalized in North America in the Willamette Valley of Oregon and has since shown its outstanding capabilities to survive in the presence of various types of intensive hay and grain agriculture. With- out question, irrigation has been the key to pheasant productivity in many valleys of the West. Where riparian lands are converted to intensive agriculture and settlements, the wildlife that inhabits native ranges is largely elimi- nated. In various western states such species might be deer, elk,
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New Patterns on Land and Water pronghorns, javelins, Gambel quail, and white-winged doves. In decades to come, major changes in western fauna may be expected if extensive water developments are carried out on the scale envisioned by Senator McGee of Wyoming (19601: 63 Even with transpiration, evaporation, comsumption, and seepage into impervious aquifers, three-fourths of the water of our western rivers still discharges into the ocean. This means that the West has only begun to use its water. The Bureau of Reclamation, in its report to the committee tSenate Select Committee on Water Resources], states, "The amount of physically feasible water resource develop- ment remaining in the seventeen reclamation states is enormous." Their report summarizes 1,085 reclamation projects, both public and private, upon which construction has not yet been undertaken. The bureau estimates that 75 percent of the federal projects and 90 percent of the non-federal projects listed can be developed by the year 2000. Such a program would provide for the irrigation of 17 million acres of new land equiva- lent. It should pour over 4 million kilowatts of hydropower into our transmission systems. It would cost $22 billion. Plans for these major works involve the possibilities for weather control (especially cloud seeding) and transmountain river diversions. In the face of a prospective near-total mechanization of the hydrology and, indeed, the entire human environment, the position of wildlife probably has relevance as only one of an entire spectrum of outdoor resources requiring space and a (somewhat) natural scene. Such frag- ile amenities will take their place in planning insofar as the total ecological picture of defined goals and human population relation- ships is given critical and realistic consideration. This kind of policy appears to be extremely slow in developing. Added Acres through Drainage In common with irrigation, drainage has been an important means of bringing more land into crop production. Compilations of the Agri- cultural Research Service indicate that nearly 100 million acres of agricultural land had been "reclaimed" by drainage by 1960-more than 3 times the area made available by irrigation. In the United States there are still some 172.5 million acres of level, or nearly level, land that need group drainage outlets if they are to be used efficiently for cropping (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 19651. Almost two thirds of the acreage in watershed projects that would be feasible to drain for farming is in the eastern third of the country. Currently, the greatest area of development of new cropland through drainage is on the alluvial land of the Mississippi Delta, where almost a million acres
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64 Land Use and Wildlife Resources were added between 1959 and 1964. Some new areas also are being developed on the southern coastal plain. In the humid eastern half of the United States, it has been common practice to invoke the authorities of local drainage districts to dredge the outlets of natural lakes to expose areas of organic soil for cultiva- tion. Through the same process, marshes large and small have pro- gressively disappeared. Extensive drainage projects helped to create some of the nation's most valuable croplands Parts of Indiana's famous Kankakee region exemplify this, as do Michigan's lake plains and the Black Swamp area of northwestern Ohio. Often such enterprises were speculative and failed as a result of poorly understood conditions, as in the case of Wisconsin's Horicon Marsh and Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp. Both of these "failures" are now dedicated to wildlife refuges. Drainage on lands already in cultivation must be continued for rea- sons of efficiency. This type of drainage is not to be judged by effects on wildlife, although frequently the benefits to one species may bal- ance the disadvantages to another. There is perhaps no other phase of land use where wildlife relation- ships are more clearly and more extensively influenced favorably or un- favorably than in drainage for the conversion of "idle" wet areas to agriculture. Nor has there been any other comparable area of disagree- ment between agricultural interests and the proponents of wildlife conservation. This is particularly true of government-sponsored, tax- supported drainage that in recent decades was in the anomalous posi- tion of contributing to the production of surplus, price-supported grains, while at the same time reducing a wildlife resource (especially waterfowl) for which there was unlimited demand. Historically, this process has gone ahead as though no valid reason existed for preserv- ing lakes, marshes, swamps, and other wet sites if these could be made to support any kind of cropping enterprise. Minnesota's legal basis for drainage exemplifies such statutes as described by Haik (19571: A typical law authorized the "County Board to establish any ditch, drain, or other water course, which ditch could in whole or part follow and consist of the bed of any stream, creek, or river, whether navigable or not, or any lake, whether meandered or not, and the Board could widen, deepen, straighten, change, lower, or drain the channel or bed of any creek, river, lake or other water course...." The authority granted by the legislature was very broad and was apparently based upon a policy that considered surface waters to be a common enemy which could be disposed of even if it meant taking property against a landowner's will in condemnation proceeding.
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New Patterns on Land and Water 65 The validity of such laws was upheld in the courts, and in one opinion it was stated that: As a rule, drainage proceedings are begun for the sole purpose of reclaiming wet lands, primarily for the direct benefit of the owners thereof, and incidentally for the promotion of the public welfare by increasing the productiveness and taxable value of lands having little or no value unless drained. In drainage statistics there usually is no reliable indication of true re- lationships of costs to benefits, or identification of ecological effects of one kind or another. Thus, the recorded acreages are only an index of the scale on which such operations have been carried out. Commonly the scale is broad, as the Wisconsin Conservation Department found in a survey and evaluation of wetlands in 1954. Files of the State Drain- age Engineer showed that from 1906 to 1940 more than 900,000 acres had been involved in organized drainage (Dahlen and Thompson, 19551. Beginning in 1941, farm drainage was subsidized at the rate of 6 cents per cubic yard of earth moved and 40 cents per rod of tile put down. By the end of 1953, when this subsidization was withdrawn, payments had been made to one out of every four farms in the state, affecting the drainage of 1,692,750 acres.... Com- bining these figures, we arrive at a total of over two and one-half million acres, or 4,075 square miles. The authors noted that these operations did not always destroy wet- lands as wildlife habitat and that some projects were abandoned. How- ever, more detailed work in Racine County indicated that only 10,000 acres of wetland remained-a loss of 87 percent of the wetlands in 50 years. One obvious result of drainage is the loss of deep marshes, which are so important to waterfowl. With the exception of refuges and marshes along lakes or rivers, hardly an area remains in Racine County which could be called good for duck production.... An advantage recently gained for wildlife interests was the revision of Chapter 88 of the Wisconsin Statutes, the Farm Drainage Law. This revision requires that the Conservation Department be notified of hearings concerning proposed drain- age projects. In many instances the benefits to be derived from drainage are of less consequence than the detrimental effects of lowered ground water levels, loss of fish habitat in the outlet stream from siltation and warming, and the possible increase of flood danger due to acceleration of run-off. In cases con- cerning navigable waters, the Public Service Commission may be called upon to determine whether the proposed drainage is in the best interests of the public.
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New Patterns on Land and Water The D isappearing G rasslands 81 On this continent, as in other parts of the world, semiarid grasslands have been particularly vulnerable to deterioration under regimes of heavy grazing or grain cropping. Darling ( 1956) has pointed out that truly nomadic peoples, such as the "Reindeer Lapps and western Asi- atic tribes," have used their extensive pasturelands in a manner similar to naturally adjusted herds of wild ungulates. In comparison, the more intensive exploitation of sedentary cultures has not been ecologically attuned and handled within the limits set by climatic extremes. In North America we probably have no grassland of any appreciable size that is exactly as it was in primitive times. At the least, it has been in- vaded by numerous species of exotic plants. According to that epochal work The Western Range (Forest Service, 1936), the tall grass of the prairie has decreased more than any other range vegetation. Originally this subclimax grassland extended as the "prairie peninsula" eastward into Indiana with outliers to central Ohio. In all, it covered some 252 million acres. Westward, conditions became steadily drier, and in eastern Nebraska the mid-grasses of the true prai- rie became dominant; these, in turn, gave way largely to short grasses on the high plains. Today some of the most fertile farms of North America occupy the tall grass country. A suggestion of what this rich flora was like may still be seen in old cemeteries and along railway rights-of-way in the Midwest. Native prairies, as modified by heavy grazing, still exist in blocks of some thousands of acres in the Nebraska Sandhills and the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas. These soils are obviously unsuited for cultivation. Large marshes of the northern prairies once were nesting grounds for the whooping crane, greater sandhill crane, and trumpeter swan. Prairie chickens occupied nearly all the tall and mixed grasslands, habi- tats that were lost progressively as the native sod was broken. The heath hen of the east coast barrens had disappeared from most of the mainland a century ago and became extinct in the early 1 930's. Other prairie chickens now are greatly reduced and on the endangered list. Probably the tall grass prairies were optimum range, at least for the greater prairie chicken, but today the bulk of remaining habitat is in the mixed grass region, where the land is too sandy or hilly to farm. Other components of the grassland fauna have been decimated. The bison and wolf are gone, and the pronghorn is largely restricted to intermountain grasslands and brushlands. The huge flights of eskimo
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82 Land Use and Wildlife Resources curlews that migrated northward in spring across the prairies disap- peared late in the nineteenth century as a result of unrestricted shoot- ing, and the species may well be extinct. Extensive control operations and the breaking up of grasslands led to widespread decline of the black-tailed prairie dog and also its most dependent predator, the never abundant black-footed ferret. Efforts are being made by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, and others to preserve the ferret and its prey as part of the quasiprimitive ecosystem in parks and natural areas. The Gulf coastal prairie, including the part in Texas that supports remaining populations of the endemic and endangered Attwater prairie chicken, is undergoing extensive conversion to agriculture (especially grain sorghum and cotton) and grazing. Lehmann's ( 1 941 ) early surveys of the Attwater prairie chicken indicated that the area it occupied in Texas in 1937 totaled less than half a million acres, as compared with an original range of some 6 mil- lion acres of coastal bluestem (Andropogorl) prairie. He also considered the encroachment of mesquite, live oak, various acacias, and other kinds of brush (held in check by prairie fires in earlier times) to be an important factor in degrading habitat. He believed that overgrazing, es- pecially during drought years, speeded the transformation of grassland into brush jungles. By 1936 more than 2 million acres of former prairie chicken range were in cultivation, and thousands of acres of sod were being plowed annually, especially to extend rice farming. Pasture mow- ing, oil development, drainage, overhunting, and uncontrolled pasture burning were other factors listed as detrimental. The Attwater prairie chicken once was common from southwestern Louisiana southward to the Nueces River in Texas. It had disappeared from Louisiana by about 1919 (Lehmann, 1968), and the total re- maining population numbered about 8,700 birds in 1939. Another survey by Lehmann in 1967 revealed that in 30 years the regularly oc- cupied habitat had shrunk to less than a quarter of a million acres, and the population had declined to about 1,070 birds. Lehmann pointed out, however, that conditions are not hopeless for this species, and efforts on its behalf exemplify the possibilities in co- operation among agencies. Texas still has a "seed stock" and more than a million acres that can support more of these birds. Public interest in restoration is high. On Ellington Air Force Base a population of more than 100 chickens represents a hazard to air traffic; the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wild- life are transplanting these to vacant ranges. The World Wildlife Fund
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New Patterns on Land and Water 83 purchased 3,400 acres in the heart of the important prairie chicken range in Colorado County in 1965. In 1967, by a gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Tatton of Corpus Christi, 7,000 acres were added to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. With technical guidance available, some land- owners are willing to manage these birds at their own expense. To this end, renewed research efforts are now under way The Attwater prairie chicken program illustrates the kind of or- ganized effort that will be necessary if other endangered habitats and wildlife are to be salvaged on at least a token basis. Tal I B rush of the R lo G rande In the valley of the Rio Grande River a subtropical ecosystem unique in the United States has been reduced through clearing and cultivation to less than a thousand acres. This semiarid type, characterized by a mixture of tall shrubs, harbors no species of wildlife threatened with extinction, but it supports within our borders a peripheral community of Mexican species that is well on the way to being lost. Included among these are the northern chachalaca, northern white-fronted dove, northern groove-billed and, Merrill's pauraque, northeastern elegant trogon, northeastern rose-throated becard, northern green jay, northern white-collared seedeater, and perhaps a dozen other birds. Mammals ranging northward from Mexico into this part of Texas include the jaguar, jaguarundi, coatimundi, ocelot, and margay. It may be said of most such remnant ecosystems that relatively few people see them and they will contribute little in the way of mass public benefits. This usually is true also of alternative uses for the land they occupy-in this case, more fields of vegetables and citrus groves. It probably is public business if a sample of primitive biota anywhere is to be preserved for longterm casual use. Such historic and biological landmarks help to maintain the character of a locality. More broadly, their service to science and intellectually curious minorities probably helps to assure the integrity of our heterogeneous society. In a degree these are abstract and sophisticated viewpoints, but such terms of ref- erence must be considered admissible if our resource management context is not to be completely utilitarian. Florida Everglades The everglades are a tropical wetland extending over southern Florida from Lake Okeechobee to the tip of the peninsula. Congress recog
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84 Land Use and Wildlife Resources nized the unique character of this biologically rich combination of ecosystems in 1947 by establishing Everglades National Park. It is our third largest ( 1.4 million acres) national park and is visited by more than a million people a year. This vast and variable wilderness of estuaries, lagoons and sloughs, coastal prairies, sawgrass glades, hammocks, cypress islands, mangrove swamps, and pine forests harbors many rare and vanishing species of birds and other wildlife. Nearly extinct birds include the everglades kite, Cape Sable sparrow, great white heron, roseate spoonbill, reddish egret, wood ibis, pink ibis, and southern bald eagle. Rare mammals in- clude the manatee, Florida water rat, and everglades mink. A few American crocodiles still are found there, and the glades are one of the principal remaining habitats of the alligator. As a major and irreplaceable wilderness, the Florida everglades prob- ably present the most serious and urgent preservation problem facing the nation. The prime question is one of water supply and progressive changes in the hydrology of central and southern Florida over the past century. If it is to survive in approximately the natural state that justi- fied its establishment as a national park, the conditions that brought about this finely adjusted ecosystem must be maintained. A National Park Service research plan (Robertson et al., 1966) describes the situation well: For centuries the sheet of fresh water moving southward over the Everglades from Lake Okeechobee, flowed through sawgrass areas of the Park and entered the Gulf of Mexico through a labyrinth of mangrove-lined rivers and creeks. Where fresh water flowing out of the Everglades merged with salt water of the Gulf, a shifting zone of brackish water up to 12 miles wide has developed. The width of the brackish zone is dependent on the quantity of fresh water flowing seaward from the land, and hence is greatest in wet years and very restricted during drouth. The estuarine zone referred to is well known as a rich nursery ground for many important marine fishes, including the menhaden, black mullet, spotted sea trout, snook, tarpon, and pompano. The same is true of the pink shrimp, the most important commercial fishery of the state. The Institute of Marine Science has carried out studies showing that great reductions of fish, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms oc- cur with the reduction of freshwater flow and the buildup of salinity. Such changes have occurred with increasing frequency and in greater degree in recent years. Longterm flood control and agricultural recla- mation operations, including diversion canals to carry water directly to the sea. have steadily changed the character of the region north of the
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New Patterns on Land and Water 85 park and altered natural water relationships. A 5-year drought from 1961 to 1965 brought desiccation and near destruction to the glades. In 1966 it was estimated that the surviving alligator population was not more than 5 percent of that present before 1960. Bird rookeries failed; freshwater fish survived only in deep holes; cypress domes and bayheads were destroyed; and other plant types were jeopardized. The fact that the park received no water through the gates in the Tamiami Trail accentuated the natural shortage and produced the greatest emer- gency of this kind in history (Craighead, 19661. The drought was broken by rains in May and June 1965, and in 1966 a June hurricane brought water levels up to capacity. The recov- ery of aquatic food organisms and the creatures dependent on them was slow, with signs of permanent changes in evidence. With the buildup of human populations and the competing uses for water, the biota of the park has become critically vulnerable to drought, and it may likewise suffer damage through the rapid release of water in times of flood. Problems have multiplied since the creation by Congress of the Central and South Florida Flood Control District in 1948. This agency, the Corps of Engineers, and the National Park Service are now coordinating studies of water control and allocation problems in the hope that adequate provision can be made for the everglades, in which a nationwide public interest has become manifest. Except for this interest, the march of "progress" in southern Florida would quickly overwhelm and obliterate an area that easily qualifies as one of the bio- logical wonders of the New World. Preservation of Natural Areas Although many values may be claimed for setting aside undisturbed areas, a single overriding purpose probably would be sufficient justifi- cation for establishing a carefully guarded national system of this kind. The study of biotic communities is being steadily refined. Natural re- lationships of living things represent the most elaborate and orderly systems of the universe, and for the foreseeable future much is to be learned from them. It would be poor resource and science strategy to destroy the remaining check areas and controls against which our land- use enterprises can be measured and judged. In conformity with this concept, and also to help implement the participation of the United States in the International Biological Pro- gram, a Committee on Research Natural Areas has been established in the federal government. It includes representation from the Forest Ser
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86 Land Use and Wildlife Resources vice, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife. The committee will prepare a directory to protected research reserves on federal lands and will encourage the establishment of new areas needed for research and education. Among the lands and waters administered by the agencies mentioned, a wide variety of natural or near-natural ecosystems occur and can be pre- served. It is recognized that these have value as pools of genetic ma- terial in its primitive forms. It is encouraging that the American public is becoming increasingly aware of the need to identify, establish, and protect natural areas wher- ever they may still be found. Contributions to this end are being made by public agencies, private organizations, and informed individuals. In March 1966, Assistant Secretary Stanley A. Cain of the Depart- ment of the Interior established an ad hoc Natural Areas Committee in that department. Agencies of other departments administering federally owned land were invited to attend the committee meetings. One of the results was publication in 1967 by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture of a federal directory of natural areas. If of national significance, such areas qualify for registration under the Natural Landmarks Program of the National Park Service. The most important step in this field was made in 1964 with passage by the Congress of the Wilderness Act. This act established a national system for protecting the primitive features of qualifying areas of the national forests, parks, and wildlife refuges. Under other legislation, parts of the public domain may be considered for wilderness classifi- cation. With certain exceptions, units of the wilderness system are 5,000 acres or more in size. The Wilderness Act provided for a lengthy and somewhat unwieldy review process for adding new units. It also sanctioned the continuation of grazing and other established noncon- forming uses on wilderness areas. Improvements in the system may well be in order as a result of the work of the Public Land Law Review Commission. In 1967, the various states purchased 201,000 acres of land and water with assistance from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. They acquired an estimated 153,000 acres under the federal aid to wildlife and fisheries acts, the Open Space Program of the Depart- ment of Housing and Urban Development, and the Greenspan Program of the Department of Agriculture. Most of these tracts would not qual- ify as natural areas in the primitive sense, but some are of high quality and will steadily improve through natural processes if left undisturbed. Their preservation for public conservation and recreation purposes
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New Patterns on Land and Water 87 helps to protect them from the encroachment of urban development, highways, airports, and similar uses. Private organizations such as the Nature Conservancy, the National Audubon Society, the Natural Area Council, and World Wildlife Fund are playing a highly significant role in saving endangered remnants of our primitive ecosystems. They are able to take options and make other moves quickly as may be required by circumstances in which government action is often too little and too late. Areas privately ac- quired often are conveyed in due course to units of local, state, or fed- eral government for longterm administration. As an outstanding ex- ample of the cooperative effort being made in this field, the Nature Conservancy has a $6-million line of credit from the Ford Foundation for immediate use in making critical land purchases for the executive branch of the federal government. This is one answer to the problem of escalating land prices in public projects. PUBLIC LANDS FOR PUBLIC PURPOSES A great ideal of the first settlers of North America was to build homes on land that was their own. They knew well the conditions in Europe where the Crown and a privileged nobility held great tracts and com- moners little or nothing. The right of the individual to own land was, from the first, one of the primary reasons for risking one's future in the New World. As a natural consequence of this viewpoint, soon after the colonies were united as a nation, the government embarked on a program to give away or sell all of its public lands. It was an unprecedented pro- gram. Between 1781 and 1963, the United States Government disposed of 1,143,800,000 acres (Orell, 19651. Small wonder that the expression "doing a land office business" was coined to describe booming activity. Mass disposal of land in the public domain to private citizens, cor- porations, and states resulted in rapid settlement and development across the nation. Sale of public land brought some financial support to the young federal government but less than had been anticipated by the Congress. Rushes of land-hungry settlers onto tracts ceded by tribes of Indians, and range wars over possession and use of vast areas of grazing lands in the West, made colorful pages in our history. Notwithstanding the general policy of public land disposal, it be- came clear early in our history that certain areas of land and water would sometimes need to be kept in public ownership to serve com
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88 Land Use and W ildlife Resources mon needs of the citizens. By 1 81 7, Congress had empowered the President to withdraw areas from entry for ad hoc purposes, such as roads, military posts, and lighthouses. An act of 1832 authorized res- ervations having extraordinary natural features, and later the authority was broadened to include other objectives (Orell, 19651. Following the rise of the conservation movement led by Theodore Roosevelt and his chief forester, Gifford Pinchot, the Congress was encouraged to permit the reacquisition of lands by purchase or gift from private and corpo- rate owners. Since 1900 numerous acts have resulted in extensive land acquisition by the federal government and by state and local govern- ments for many uses. By 1964 some 916 million acres were owned as public property or held in trust-about 39 percent of the total land area in the 50 states. The federal government owned 770 million acres (34 percent of the total land area) and held 50 million acres (2 percent) in trust for Indians; state governments owned 78 million acres (3 per- cent); and local governments owned 18 million acres (less than l per- cent). Undoubtedly, some land will continue to be acquired by public agencies both for new projects and to block out areas now owned. However, compared with existing acreage, the additions will not be substantial. Many of the lands now administered by federal agencies have been transfers from the public domain. For the future, it is likely that most acquisitions will be in the East, and those in the West will be more than offset by the transfer of lands now under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management to state and private ownership. The extent to which the 480 million acres of the public domain will remain in federal ownership or be transferred to the states or other in- terests may depend upon recommendations to the Congress by the Public Land Law Review Commission This commission studied ex- isting statutes and regulations as well as policies and practices of ad- ministrative agencies relative to the retention, management, and dis- position of federal lands. In addition, data were compiled as necessary to determine and understand the present and future demands on areas in public ownership. Wildlife as a public resource is likely to be most intensively managed and made most easily available on public lands of various categories: federal, state, county, and city. The largest area of public land is the remainder of the public domain administered by the Bureau of Land Management. For the most part, this is low-value grazing land that can, in many areas, be made more useful to the public by managing it for recreation. All land-holding
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New Patterns on Land and Water 89 agencies of the federal government are giving recognition to this kind of public demand, and a similar trend is growing in state and local gov ernments. As a basic recreational resource, wildlife is featured as a by product of forestry and grazing, and it is a primary objective in certain lands set aside as parks or managed refuges. The developing technology by which uses are integrated for maximum benefits is examined in the next chapter. REFERENCES Beltz, R. C., and J. F. Christopher. 1967. Land clearing in the delta region of Mississippi, 1957-67 (research note S0-69~. U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. Bue, C. D. 1963. Principal lakes of the United States. U.S. Geol. Surv. Circ. 476. 22 p. Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife. 1967. Estuarine programs-interim report. U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. 29 p. Bureau of the Census. 1962b. Graphic summary of land utilization (oh. 1, part 64. In U.S. census of agriculture, 1959: Special reports. Vol. 5. U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C. Bureau of the Census, 1966. Farms and land in farms (ch. 1~. In U.S. census of agriculture, 1964. Vol. 2. U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C. Cameron, W. M., and D. W. Pritchard. 1963. Estuaries, p. 306-324, Vol. 2. In M. N. Hill fed.), The sea. John Wiley ~ Sons, New York. Clawson, M. 1959. Changing patterns of land use in the West, p. 217-228. In F. S. Pollak (ed.), Resources development: frontiers for research. University of Colo- rado Press, Boulder. Craighead, F. C. 1966. Further observations on the effects of the closure of the culverts along the Flamingo Highway on plants and wildlife. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. Cronin, L. E.1967. The role of man in estuarine processes, p. 667-689. In G. H. Lauff ted.), Estuaries (AAAS Publ. 83~. American Association for the Advance- ment of Science, Washington, D.C. Dahlen, J. H., and D. R. Thompson. 1955. Wisconsin wetlands and their impor- tance. Wis. Conserv. Bull. 20(1): 9- 12. Darling, F. F. 1956. Man's ecological dominance through domesticated animals on wild lands, p. 778-787. In W. L. Thomas (ed.), Man's role in changing the face of the earth. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Economic Research Service. 1966. The balance sheet of agriculture, 1966. Agr. Inf. Bull. 314. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. Economic Research Service. 1968a. Farm costs and returns, commercial farms, by type, size, and location. Agr. Inf. Bull. 230. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. Economic Research Service. 1968b. Major uses of land and water in United States with special reference to agriculture, summary for 1964. Agr. Econ. Rep. 149.
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so Land Use and Wildlife Resources U.S. Department of Agriculture. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washing- ton, D.C. Edminster, F. C.1964. Farms, ponds and waterfowl, p. 399-407. In Waterfowl tomorrow. Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1936. The western range. Senate Doc. 199,74th Cong.,2d Sess. U.S. Government Printing Office. Washington, D.C. Freeman, O. L., and I. L.13ennett, Jr. 1969. Control of agriculture-related pollu- tion. Report to the President by the Secretary of Agriculture and Director, Office of Science and Technology. 102 p. Gambell, E. L. 1966. Two million farm ponds backstop America's streams, p. 48- 55. In Soil Conserv. Soc. Amer., Proc. 21st Annul Meeting. Greenshields, E. L. 1964. Water has a key role, p. 72-96. In Farmer's world. The yearbook of agriculture 1964. U.S. Department of Agriculture. U.S. Govern- ment Printing Office, Washington, D.C. Haik, R. A. 1957. Water, habitat, and wildlife. Conserv. Volunteer 20: 1-5. Hart, C. M., B. Glading, and H. T. Harper. 1956. The pheasant in California. In D. L. Allen (ed.), Pheasants in North America. Wildlife Management Institute, Washington, D.C. Holmes, R. C. 1961. Composition and size of flood losses, p. 7-20. In G. F. White (ed.), Papers on flood problems. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Krutilla, J. V. 1966. Is public intervention in water resources development con- ducive to economic efficiency? Reprint 56, Jan. Nat. Resour. J. 6: 60-75. Resources for the Future, Inc., Washington, D.C. Lehmann, V. W.1941. Attwater's prairie chicken, its life history and management. U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv., N. -Amer. Fauna 57. 65 p. Lehmann, V. W.1968. The Attwater prairie chicken, current status and restoration opportunities, p. 398-407. In 33d N. Amer. Wildl. and Natur. Resour. Conf. Trans. Leopold, L. B. 1962. Rivers. Amer. Sci. 50~4~:511-537. McGee, G. W.1960. Water resources developments: key to tomorrow. Western Re- sources Conf. paper. University of Colorado Press, Boulder. Martin, R. O. R., and R. L. Hanson. 1966. Reservoirs in the United States. U.S. Geol. Surv. Water-Supply Paper 1838. 115 p. Murphy, F. C. 1958. Regulating flood-plain development. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. 204 p. Nelson, D. 1961; Resource and metropolitan sprawl, p. 77-89. In H. L. Amoss and R. K. McNickle (ed.), Land and water: planning for economic growth. Univer- sity of Colorado Press, Boulder. 219 p. Orell, B. L. 1965. Government land acquisition. American Forest Products Industry, Washington, D.C. Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission. 1962. Shoreline recreation resources of the United States. ORRRC Study, Rep. 4. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. President's Science Advisory Committee, Environmental Pollution Panel. 1965. Restoring the quality of our environment. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 317 p.
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New Patterns on Land and Water 91 Regan, M. M., and H. M. Wooten. 1963. Land use trends and urbanization, p. 59- 63. In A place to live. The yearbook of agriculture 1963. U.S. Department of Agriculture. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. Robertson, W. B., Jr., G. Sprugel, Jr., and L. Sumner. 1966. Everglades National Park natural sciences research plan. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. Shaw, S. P., and C. G. Fredine. 1956. Wetlands of the United States. U.S. Fish and Wildl. Circ. 39. 67 p. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1 962a. Basic statistics of the national inventory of soil and water conservation needs. Statist. Bull. 3 17. Washington, D.C. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1 962b. Land and water resources, a policy guide. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 73 p. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1965. Soil and water conservation needs, a na- tional inventory. Misc. Publ. 971. Washington, D.C. 94 p. Vlasin, R. D. 1963. Highways and adjustments in farms, p. 479-488. Ir' A place to live. The yearbook of agriculture 1963. U.S. Department of Agriculture. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. White, G. F., W. C. Calef, J. W. Hudson, H. M. Mayer, J. R. Sheaffer, and D. J. yolk. 1958. Changes in urban occupance of flood plains in the United States. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. 235 p. Wingard, R. G., and M. R. Heddleson. (n.d.) Conservation-living in harmony with land. Pennsylvania State University, University Park. Wooten, H. H., K. Gertel, and W. C. Pendleton. 1962. Major uses of land and water in the United States, summary for 1959. Agr. Econ. Rep. 13. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. Yeager, L. E., J. B. Low, and H. J. Figge. 1956. Pheasants in the arid Southwest, p. 159-203. In D. L. Allen (ed.), Pheasants in North America. Wildlife Manage- ment Institute, Washington, D.C.
Representative terms from entire chapter: