Defossť, G.E. and R. Robberecht. 1995. Future ecological and socio-economic strategies for the rangeland of Chubut Province, Patagonia, Argentina. 1995 International Rangeland Development Symposium Proceedings, pp 27-38.



Abstract. Chubut is one of the five Patagonian provinces of Argentina. Since the beginning of this century, range management has involved extensive sheep herding for wool and meat production. Although range deterioration was evident by the late 1940s, it was not until the late 1980s that coordinated programs were developed to halt deterioration and seek alternatives in rangelands use. Improved grazing systems and other rangeland management techniques are now common. However, small ranch size and low wool prices make many ranches in central Chubut economically nonviable and unable to support ecologically sustainable development. Consolidation of the small ranches into larger and more efficient operations appears to be inevitable. Large ranches should be encouraged to shift their emphasis from wool to meat production. Also, sheep meat should be promoted with a special certification seal of Patagonia. Larger ranches in western rangelands and riparian areas might also incorporate other economic activities, such as tourism, wildlife and agroforestry. In situations where rangelands are not economically or ecologically suitable for sheep production, cooperative efforts by conservation and government organizations should create a system of ecological reserves for the conservation of native ecosystems for the enjoyment of future generations.