Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES - Using controlled burns to slow the spread of piņon and juniper trees on New Mexico rangelands will be the theme of an April 19 workshop near Truth or Consequences sponsored by the New Mexico Section of the Society for Range Management (SRM).
"When these trees increase on rangeland, so does soil erosion potential," said Allen Torell, SRM state president and ranch business specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. "Meanwhile, forage for wildlife and livestock and water yields downstream decrease."
Black Range Forest Ranger Jim Paxon will lead the first workshop. Using fire to control piņon and juniper trees, Paxon and colleagues have successfully improved the forage and watershed of central New Mexico's Black Range Mountains, Torell said.
"Fire suppression is one reason piņons and junipers have crowded out desirable grasses," he said.
The public is invited to attend the tour which will start at the Black Range district office in Truth or Consequences. The tour will start at 8 a.m. and proceed southwest of Winston. A barbecue lunch will be served at the Ladder Ranch. The workshop will cost $35 and there will be a $12 charge for lunch.
"Any extra money that the New Mexico section of the Society of Range Management makes on the tour will be used for youth activities, including sending high school students to the National SRM meeting and participating in various youth competitions in the state," Torell said.
The workshop is the first in a series of four scheduled SRM workshops. Future topics include rangeland ecological sites, ways ranchers can increase and diversify income, and fire restoration in the Los Alamos area. For more information on the workshops, call (505) 646-1344.
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