Livestock

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.

Latest articles

Read more about the benefits offered by domestic animals:

Restoring Bison at the American Prairie Reserve

Buffalo were the keystone grazing animals of the American Great Plains. At the American Prairie Reserve in Northeastern Montana, the plan is to recreate the world’s largest bison herd.   NOTE: this post was origibnally […]

Church-Affiliated Ranch Balances Agriculture and Conservation in Central Florida

Deseret Cattle and Citrus, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been going strong for 65 years. This commercial farming and ranching operation is situated on about 295,000 acres in parts […]

Securing a Future for Wolves in the West

Another excellent article by the Property and Environmental Research Center (PERC) the free market conservation think tank based in Bozeman.   This one is about how to address people and livelihoods while achieving the essential ecological […]

The Life and Legend of America’s Most Famous Wild Horse

Picasso is a nearly 30-year-old pinto who still roams free in the Sand Wash Basin in northwestern Colorado.   

Yellowstone National Park’s Migrating Bison

As winter snow accumulations melt, a “green wave” of fresh growth moves upwards, into Yellowstone’s higher elevations. Bison follow the green wave and they pretty much go where they wish. All this reverses with autumn […]

Yellowstone Starts Bison Cull as Animals Migrate to Montana

As reported below, Yellowstone’s migrating bison are once again being killed because they carry brucellosis.   Yellowstone’s bison would not be a threat to domestic livestock if: 1) all bison were vaccinated against brucellosis and […]

Restoration of Beaver in Arizona’s San Pedro River

Beavers are a keystone species in desert ecosystems. See how beaver restoration is healing a degraded Arizona river and its Mexican tributaries.   NOTE: this post was originally published to this site on May 28, […]

It Began as a Tool to Save Wild Elk. A Century Later, Feeding Threatens Iconic Herds

Here is a Washington Post article on the CWD threat from elk feeding. The paper says CWD was “identified” 50-years ago. The ‘rest of the story’ is that the  “identification” occurred in a Colorado state […]

He Spent Decades Protecting Buffalo. A Microscopic Invader Threatens That Work

According the article below, Mycoplasma bovis, which is common in cattle but rarely lethal for that animal, is a rapidly an emerging killer of buffalo. Outbreaks are spiking in some herds, with mortalities of 40-50%. […]

Allan Savory: Planned Cattle Grazing Where the Rubber Hits the Road

In this 45-minute video, the Dean of holistic range science – Allan Savory – discusses on-the-ground application of holistic planned grazing. West Texas and New Mexico ranchers will find many helpful insights, observations and suggestions […]

Rangeland Restoration: Subsoil Contour Plowing at Circle Ranch, in far-West Texas

Subsoil contour plowing is an excellent way to increase water absorption in the desert grasslands of far-West Texas and Southern New Mexico. The effectiveness of the practice is shown in these before-and-after comparisons.  

Herd Impact

Husband and wife ranchers Emry Birdwell and Deborah Clark have been going against the grain of North Texas ranching for decades – hiding their ability to raise many, many more cattle per acre than any […]

Judge Restores Protections for Gray Wolves Across Much of US

“This was inevitable once Montana, Wyoming and Idaho resumed their 150-year long war on wolves.  

Nature Reserve Buys Ranch, Grows to More than 700 Square Miles

  According to the article below, the American Prairie Reserve has plans to assemble millions of acres of adjoining public and private lands to create a vast wildlife preserve.   As further explained, many traditional ranchers […]

Gulleys for Grassland Restoration #9: Harvesting Water in Steep Canyons

Restoring the Southwest’s desert grasslands takes water. Most ranches treat eroding gulleys and roads – and their stormwater runoffs – as liabilities. In fact these are potential water assets on every ranch. This little diversion […]

‘Oh, I’ll Keep ‘em Out’

Quoting the article below, “Buying a house in cattle country and complaining about cattle is like buying a house in a nudist colony and complaining that people don’t wear clothes.”  

The Once-Extinct Aurochs May Soon Roam Europe Again

According to the article below, restoring large wild grazers like bison and aurochs (wild giant cattle) will enhance the health of European forests.   Quoting the authors, “By disrupting forest growth, these mammals created varied […]

Gulleys for Grassland Restoration #5: Upper Pennel Canyon at Circle Ranch

Using a mountain gulley for erosion control and desert grassland restoration at Circle Ranch in far-West Texas.   NOTE: this post was originally published to this site on August 14, 2017.   

Using an Eroded Gulley to Recreate a Wet Meadow

This video, #8, is a companion piece to #3 in the series. It shows how Fred’s Dam works during a rain, how the redirected water has created a seasonal wet meadow, what is happening to […]

The Real-World Conflicts in Yellowstone Can Be Solved by Markets, Not Drama

“Founded in 1980 by a handful of outdoor-oriented economists in Bozeman, Montana, PERC—the Property and Environment Research Center—is a conservation and research institute dedicated to free market environmentalism  

Grazing to Promote Riparian Health on a Private Ranch in Nevada

On this Nevada ranch, cattle numbers were tripled under planned grazing, with transformational results.   NOTE: this post was originally published to this site on August 4, 2017