Optimal Livestock Management on Sagebrush Rangeland with Ecological Thresholds, Wildfire, and Invasive Plants

Mimako Kobayashi, Kimberly Rollins and Michael H. Taylor


This article considers optimal livestock management on sagebrush rangeland in the presence of invasive plants, wildfire, and reversible and irreversible ecological thresholds. We find that ranchers operating on healthy rangeland have sufficient private incentive to maintain rangeland health, while ranchers operating on degraded rangeland will pursue rehabilitation only if treatment success rates are improved or treatment costs reduced relative to current levels. We also find that if ranchers do not understand the relationships among grazing pressure, vegetation treatments, and rangeland ecological dynamics, their management will result in higher short-run profits, but lower long-run profits, and greater ecological degradation. (JEL Q24, Q57)

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