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:
Wild Horses Can Prevent Out-of-control Wildfires Out West, Researcher Says. Here’s How
Roaming wild horses may help cut down on the size and intensity of wildfires out west, according to research from the Wild Horse Fire Brigade.
Stewardship with Vision – Episode 2: Malpai Borderlands Group
In the high desert of southern Arizona and New Mexico, almost a million acres of important habitats and nearly 30 at-risk species are being protected and conserved…by a coalition of ranchers who manage from […]
Rotational Cattle Grazing to Restore Degraded Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands and Promote Watershed Health
Describing the Mimms Ranch in Marfa, Texas, the authors write, “The Foundation aims for practical conservation, with the belief that restored grasslands improve overall watershed health, resources for native wildlife, and continued support of ranching.” […]
“As discussed below, well-managed domestic cattle, bison, other livestock and grazing animals can restore ecosystems and biodiversity, upcycle grasses humans can’t eat into bioavailable nutrition, reduce wildfire risk, and help us create a better planet […]
Where the Buffalo Roam, Endangered Prairies Thrive
“As discussed in the article below, when bison were allowed to graze through patches of tallgrass prairie, they boosted native plant species richness by a whopping 86 percent. Cattle and other domestics animals – […]
Researchers Designing Rugged Virtual Fence Tech for Animal Management
As discussed below, a ‘virtual’ fence system for livestock is under development at the University of Idaho. Several “virtual fence” systems have been designed through the years. They have mostly failed. If successful […]
Goats Clearing Meadows and Forest at Pitchstone Waters #1
On the Fall River in Idaho, 5-miles from the southwest corner of Yellowstone Park, we use goats instead of herbicides to control weeds and stimulate grasses in forests and meadows. It is fascinating to watch […]
Farm Animals May Soon Get New Features Through Gene Editing
Hybridization of plants and animals is as old as agriculture. However, most GMOs have made plants more tolerant to herbicides, and thus are essentially drivers for the agrochemical companies that sell both the […]
The conflict between private landowners and the bison and elk living in Yellowstone National Park exists in large part because the Yellowstone herds are infected with brucellosis. Brucellosis is a highly contagious bacterial disease […]
Goats are excellent at brush-clearing, as shown in the article below about Brackenridge Park in San Antonio. Many so-called “exotic”, “non-native”, and “invasive” species are also useful in maintaining and improving habitat. These include […]
The Rules that Govern Life on Earth – with Sean B Carroll
The author of ‘The Serengheti Rules’ has shown that in order to be healthy, grasslands need (1) keystone grazers, (2) many prey species and (3) many predators. In this 50-minute video he explains these ideas […]
New Texas A&M Research Documents Domestic Cattle Genetics in Modern Bison Herd
“Cattle and bison readily crossbreed. It was ranchers who saved bison in the late 1800’s, but they ran these bison alongside their domestic cattle herds. New research from Texas A&M says that all bison, […]
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 […]