Rangeland Ecology & Management

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open pit mine

Uses of Range & Pastureland


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    Western rangelands are rich in deposits of minerals and fossil fuels. The states of Nevada and Utah house the world's largest mines respectively for gold and copper, while parts of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana are slated for unprecedented development of coal bed methane (a source of natural gas). As the population of the United States and the world continues to grow and demand a higher standard of living, the demand for mineral and energy resources is increasing. At the same time, the mining and fuel industries are facing increased public scrutiny as citizens question past policies and demand higher environmental standards. Here we present some of the main issues surrounding mineral and fossil fuels extraction including both environmental and industry concerns. While recognizing that not all situations can be win-win, we highlight innovative solutions and successful collaborations.