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Student Dissertation - Michael Eugne Norvelle, ALRS Graduate 1990

Thesis Title:       A Model for Sustainable Management of Livestock on the Commons: A Comparative Analysis of Two Types of Apache Indian Cattle Associations

Author: Michael Eugene Norvelle,  1990


This dissertation develops a new organizational model based on sustainability criteria within which the organizational and technical solutions to the problems of management of extensive livestock production systems on the commons grazing lands can be provided.

Over the past 75 years the traditional range/livestock systems developed by tribal peoples in arid and semiarid areas world-wide have largely been abandoned due to the multifarious forces of modernization. The outcome has been hyper-intensive use and extensive rangeland deterioration and expansion of desertification in many cases.

The Apache Indian cattle association operations examined herein and which provide case study materials are examples of livestock organizations operating extensive livestock production programs on commonly held rangelands.  The results of these investigations provide the basis for developing this model.

Two different types of cattle associations are currently in operation on American Indian reservations: the single-association, single-brand type of the Mescalero Apache and the multiple-association, multiple-brand type represented by the San Carlos Apache program.  This research illuminates the development of these two types of operations, contrasts their structures, and the purposes they serve for both individual participants and for the tribal societies to which they are connected.

This dissertation also offers a new paradigm within which to consider the effectiveness of an extensive livestock production system operated by traditional and/or tribal peoples on commonly held lands using system sustainability as the basic criteria.  Sustainability is then related to the sets of economic, physical and social factors on which it depends.

Last updated 16 Feb 2015