The University of Arizona

Cattle-deer interactions in the Sierra Nevada: a bioeconomic approach.

J.B. Loomis, E.R. Loft, D.R. Updike, J.G. Kie

Abstract


Four potential cattle grazing systems on summer range in the Sierra Nevada are compared in terms of deer harvest, number of hunters attracted, and the net economic value of hunting. Research on deer carrying capacity response to different 3-year rest rotation grazing patterns indicates continuous moderate grazing provides 82% of the potential deer carrying capacity. A 2-years-off, 1-year-on grazing system provides 94% of potential deer carrying capacity. The increase in carrying capacity associated with grazing 1 year in 3 could increase buck harvest by 200 animals in the Sierra Nevada's hunt zone D5. Change in deer harvest in the previous year is one of the key variables in a model that determines the attractiveness of hunt zones to California deer hunters. The model predicts that increasing buck harvest by 200 deer in hunt zone D5 results in 2,721 more hunters visiting this zone each year. This translates into nearly 11,835 more trips. The net economic value of these additional hunters is determined based on a simulated market approach. Using the value from the hunter survey, the annual increase in hunting value is $2.3 million. The present value of this change over each 3-year rest-rotation cycle is $6.5 million using a 4% discount rate. The incremental benefits of deer hunting gained under the 2-years-off, 1-year-on grazing system is greater than the lost net economic value of the forage to the rancher as computed by USDA Economic Research Service.

Keywords


net economic benefit;national forests;carrying capacity;population density;economic analysis;hunting;multiple land use;pastures;rotational grazing;grazing intensity;Odocoileus hemionus;California;cattle;range management;rangelands

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