Ideas for Promoting Grazing as an Ecosystem Service

In this week's article about how crop growers and livestock producers can cooperate to benefit each other, I lay out the keys to developing a successful agreement. It reminded me of this article from April of 2013 on the importance of the ecosystem services that grazing can provide, and how we can work together for the benefit of everyone. I was recently invited by the US Geologic Survey to a two day meeting in San Diego with biologists concerned about species habitat and fire managers responsible for protecting homes and habitat. I was really impressed by how much knowledge everyone attending had about their specific areas of responsibility. But no one there had any understanding of grazing and how, when managed well, it could help them accomplish their goals.  And that was why the USGS biologists had invited me. My job was to explain how grazing might help both groups meet their goals. While they were most interested in the possibility of using goats adjacent to urban areas, I extended the conversation to how any grazing animal could be used as a tool. The problem land managers are facing in this area is that fires have become more frequent and much more intense. Native vegetation is having difficulty recovering, so plant and animal species that rely on them are losing ground. T

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