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Changing Wild Resource
Management Policies:
A Case Study










Oryzopsis hymenoides (Roemer and Schultes) Ricker, most commonly known as Indian rice-grass, is a perennial bunchgrass distributed widely in the desert regions of western North America.   Early EuroAmerican explorers of this region noted this grass in large stands and in great abundance.   They depended on these stands to provide a source of forage for their livestock.   Meanwhile, the aboriginal populations that inhabited its geographical area of distribution also depended upon this grass.   These groups gathered its seeds while utilizing various management strategies to increase this resource's density.   In more recent times, O. hymenoides has lost its predominate position within the cold desert ecosystems.   Most of the literature attributes this decline to overgrazing or some such cause.   A more probable explanation can be found if one recognizes the impact which changing management policies between pre-contact and post-contact times can have upon the distribution and composition of ecosystems.
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