Reconciling ranching and conservation on public lands—is it possible?

Sunday, October 16th, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Thomas Sisk, Ph.D.

Livestock grazing is a flashpoint of environmental conflict in the West. Amid the sharp rhetoric, unlikely partnerships are forming to explore new approaches for sustaining biodiversity and food production on public rangelands. In 1993, a quarreling group of ranchers and environmentalists formed the Diablo Trust, a collaborative management group, and began working together on practical land management issues. Five years ago, the Grand Canyon Trust bought the historic Kane and Two Mile Ranches and began conservation-oriented ranching across 850,000 acres of public lands that are rich in wildlife, remote, and breathtakingly beautiful. In these and other cases, new partnerships are using science, collaboration, and adaptive management in local efforts to conserve large landscapes, while raising livestock in an ecologically responsible way. A new form of advocacy is emerging, Sisk says, in which “practical goals bridge ideological differences, and long-term partnerships build the social capital required to overcome the conflicts that have stunted public lands management for decades.”
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