Job Board Highlights
New Conservation Documents

via ConserveOnline connecting conservation practitioners worldwide

Announcements

Looking for Contributors -Contact us, if you would like to profile new studies related to your area of interest.

Sign up for our newsletter - We profile the latest conservation studies from over 100 journals plus new funding opportunities... straight to your email.

Tuesday
Mar232010

Grassland conservation hits ranchers in the wallet

Cattle round up (not in South Dakota).For conservationists working with ranchers to implement grazing practices that promote biodiversity, a new study in the journal Rangeland Ecology and Management shows that these well-intentioned efforts can hurt long-term profits.

From a conservation perspective, the higher quality grasslands that arise from less intensive grazing are desirable for numerous reasons - they potentially have higher plant diversity, provide better wildlife habitat, sequester more carbon, etc. Some in the conservation field have assumed that these environmental objectives align with ranchers' economic interests.

"Conventional wisdom suggests that grazing livestock over long periods of time on lower condition rangeland is not biologically or economically sustainable," the study authors write. However, as their study findings show, ranchers earn greater sustained profits over time from more intensive grazing that leaves the rangeland in a poorer condition.

Barry Dunn from Texas A & M and fellow researchers from South Dakota State University looked at the results from a 34-year trial in which cattle were managed on 6 separate experimental pastures in South Dakota under 3 different management regimes. For each paired pasture, the cattle were grazed at variable stocking rates from year-to-year to maintain the grassland at either "low-fair," "good," or "excellent" condition.

The researchers measured the hypothetical costs and income from each pasture over the 34-year period and found that the pastures in "excellent" condition earned less sustained profit over time than those in either "fair" or "good" condition. In addition, over the course of the study net profit increased steadily in both the "fair" and "good" condition pastures while it remained constant for the "excellent" sites.

These results may help explain why the "generally observed rancher behavior is to maintain rangelands and pasturelands in condition classes lower than recommended."

As the study authors note, when grazing intensifies in the northern mixed-grass prairie region, the vegetation shifts from midgrass to shortgrass dominated communities. Conservationists generally prefer midgrass communities for their increased plant diversity and superior wildlife habitat.

However, as these study findings show, if conservationists want to promote greater mixed-grass prairie, ranchers may need to be compensated to shift their economic incentives away from more intensive grazing.

--Reviewed by Rob Goldstein

Dunn, B., Smart, A., Gates, R., Johnson, P., Beutler, M., Diersen, M., & Janssen, L. (2010). Long-Term Production and Profitability From Grazing Cattle in the Northern Mixed Grass Prairie Rangeland Ecology & Management, 63 (2), 233-242 DOI: 10.2111/REM-D-09-00042.1

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (6)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    I have a hosted Wordpress blog. For some reason, my blog posts are being sent out to followers of another blog. The other blog owners uses Blogger. We can figure out why or how this is happening?.
  • Response
    Grassland conservation hits ranchers in the wallet - Conservation News - Conservation Maven
  • Response
    Response: mobilegamenews.ru
    Grassland conservation hits ranchers in the wallet - Conservation News - Conservation Maven
  • Response
    Cool wholesale mlb baseball jerseys Words to Say,wholesale mlb baseball jerseys custom football jerseys Many people,custom football jerseys, especially teenagers have the habit of using certain words in between conversations which they consider to b cheap p.k. subban jerseys china e really cool. Many times these words ...
  • Response
    I found a great...
  • Response
    t cheap patrik elias jerseys o build stadium to cheap Zach Randolph jerseys china lure NFL team,cheap patrik elias jerseys LOS ANGELES City Council members in the city of Industry unanimously approved a proposal Thursday for a pro football stadium intended to lure a tea wholesale jerseys nike ...

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.