Livestock grazing, wildlife habitat, and rangeland values

  • Michael R. F R
  • F R
  • Krausman P
  • et al.
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livestock and wildlife values should be placed within this broader context. Ranchers and conservationists in the West realize that debates over grazing systems and stocking rates are of little consequence if rangelands continue to be lost or fragmented due to subdivision, farming, weed invasion, catastrophic wildfi re, and energy development. However, impacts of domestic grazing that diminish land value via reduced range productivity and wildlife habitat quality can also lead to alternative land uses and habitat conversion. Maintaining the multiple values of western rangelands will require a shift from local to landscape conservation to match the scale of land use change that threatens grazing, rural ways of life, and wildlife habitat. The future of western rangelands is in developing partner-ships that help keep sustainable grazing the prevailing land use. Indeed, as rangelands are lost to other land uses, overlapping interests will make conservation partners out of otherwise odd associates—ranchers need open space for grazing and wildlife biologists, managers, and other conservationists want to maintain or enhance the wildlife values on working ranches. In this paper, we review a representative sampling of scientifi c literature to document grazing impacts on wildlife and its habitat to better understand the roles of grazing strategies in wildlife habitat conservation. Further, we explore commonalities between grazing and conservation interests and provide a vision for advancing wildlife and habitat management and conservation. Grazing by domestic livestock can impact wildlife habitat in numerous ways. Composition and structure of a plant community are directly linked to qualities of wildlife habitat. As much as livestock grazing can affect vegetation charac-teristics, it will affect wildlife habitat structure and produc-tivity. We consider these impacts at annual or short-term and long-term time scales. Herbaceous vegetation provides hiding cover for a variety of grassland birds, amphibians, reptiles, small and large L




Michael R. F, R., F, R. M. R., Krausman, P. R., Naugle, D. E., Frisina, M. R., Northrup, R., … Wright, J. D. (2009). Livestock grazing, wildlife habitat, and rangeland values. Rangelands, 31(5), 15–19.

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