In North America, vast herds of grazing animals used to roam.
Our rangeland ecosystems evolved under this high intensity, short duration grazing.
Nomadic herds no longer range from north to south and back again, but with careful management livestock can fill the void. Well-managed livestock are a useful tool for rangeland, forest and fisheries restoration. Instead of being a threat, well-managed livestock can reinvigorate landscapes that have devolved into barren unproductivity, helping restore other essential ecological processes along the way.
Livestock, on the range, efficiently convert the sun’s energy locked within plants into edible protein. Livestock, in intensive confinement, provide a haven for problems, ranging from their own behavior and health including the rise of disease, to environmental concerns such as non-point source pollution arising from collected waste.
Read more about the benefits offered by domestic animals:
Fighting Wildfires With Fire
Due to well-intentioned “hands off” forest management practices – often intended to help wildlife – our national forests are accumulating highly flammable understory material faster than nature can cycle it away. The well-meaning prescription […]
Painting Eyes On The Butts Of Cattle Surprisingly Effective At Scaring Off Would-Be Predators
Here is another example of low-tech, non-lethal ways to protect cattle from predators. NOTE: this article was originally published to IFLScience’s Apple News Channel on August 7, 2020. It was written by Katy […]
Documents Detail Push To Manage Yellowstone Bison as Cattle
The article below summarizes various objections to managing Yellowstone bison more like cattle in order to control brucellosis, among other things. Yellowstone’s elk and bison are now a regional reservoir for this disease, which causes […]
Stewardship with Vision, Episode 9: Sieben Live Stock Company
Sieben Live Stock Company is a family owned and operated ranch in north central Montana which raises cattle and sheep. The Hibbard family believes proper grazing techniques can improve overall land health. Their practices include […]
Climate Change Mitigation is a Side Effect of Regenerative Ranching: Insights From Australia And The United States
“Whatever the causes of climate change, human damage to our environment cannot be denied. As the authors of this paper explain, more and more people are rejecting industrial agriculture in favor of regenerative (restorative) ag […]
Escaped Exotics Animals are Changing the Texas Landscape
Quoting the author of the article below, “There’s an idea that gets played with in progressive futurist circles sometimes: the notion of deliberately engineering landscapes to mimic our understanding of their past shape. Quietly, without […]
Wildlife-Friendly Cattle Fences in an Idaho Forest
This is the most wildlife-friendly fence design that we have seen. It would work great on large properties, whether placed around perimeters or inside for pastures. It goes up fast and uses a minimum of […]
Stewardship with Vision, Episode 7: San Juan Ranch
This Western Landowners Alliance film by filmmaker Jason Roehrig features Colorado cattle ranchers George Whitten and Julie Sullivan, whose stewardship has restored and increased healthy biological processes while providing for a sustainable ranching model.
Allan Savory on Permaculture and Holistic Management
Here is a very interesting interview with the ecologist Allan Savory who, in the opinion of many, knows more about rangelands than anyone alive. He is best known for his discovery that global desertification can […]
Over millions of years, rangelands have evolved under grazing by nomadic herds that travel in mass, bunched up to protect both young and adults from predators. And, plants have evolved to need this. This observation […]
Wolf Species Rebounds in Southwest, Angering Ranchers
The success of the Mexican gray wolf reintroductions is great news. Limited wolf hunting would change wolf behavior, making wolves less of a nuisance, according to ranchers quoted in the article below. Wolf advocates should get […]
At Pitchstone Waters near Yellowstone Park in Idaho, we use goats to clear brush, weeds, and stimulate grasses on forest floors. Sixth in a series. Goats Grazing Idaho Forests from Christopher Gill on Vimeo.
A Forb is a herbaceous, flowering plant other than grass. Unwanted forbs are generally dubbed “weeds.” Herbicides used for “weed” control almost always harm habitat and wildlife. On Pitchstone Waters, we manage our weeds unconventionally—to […]
The gestation period for the American bison is 9 1/2 months. Under normal conditions, cows have their calves from mid-April through June. Cows generally have one calf per year, but twins may occur very rarely.Calves […]
Scientists Disagree on Bison Impacts to Yellowstone’s Northern Range
“According to Yellowstone’s senior bison biologist who is quoted below, Yellowstone is the only place in North America with a complete set of predators and herbivores – both of which shape their habitat in ways […]
Pablo Escobar’s Hippos Fill a Hole Left Since Ice Age Extinctions
According to the article below—and the study on which it is based—humans have caused the extinction of many large animals over the past 100,000 years. This has changed ecosystems greatly, generally for the worse. […]