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Grazing Versus Ecosystem Conservation: Managed Grazing Techniques Must be Implemented

Powerful Essays
Grazing Versus Ecosystem Conservation: Managed Grazing Techniques Must be Implemented

One of the major issues confronting western America is that of environmental conservation and protection versus agricultural essentials and needs. This issue includes the environmentalists' fight against herbicides and pesticides, reservoirs for irrigation water, and livestock grazing on public land. The controversy that this essay confronts will be that of the desire to use public land for livestock grazing versus the importance of preserving the rangeland ecosystem. Importance is found on each side of this controversy by various groups of people. What will there be for tomorrow's generation if the ecosystems of public lands are not preserved? Where will the meat come from for today's generation if the nation's cattle ranches do not have enough food to raise their livestock? I believe that the answer to both these questions lies in the solution of both economical and ecological sustainability. Although overgrazing in past history has greatly damaged rangeland ecosystems of today, sustained economy and ecology can coexist in harmony, not through environmentalist's visions of cattleless rangelands or through cattlemen's aspirations of unchecked rangeland grazing, but rather through managed grazing techniques and practices.

This controversy has emerged mainly because of overgrazing in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (CAST "Livestock"). Due to their lack of knowledge and experience, ranchers, the public, and the government all supported year-round grazing of rangelands. It helped to boost the economy by allowing ranchers to produce more cattle. However, all three of these groups soon found that the boost in the economy resulti...

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...-Ecology and Management of Annual Rangelands. Comp. Stephen B. Monsen. Ogden: United States Department of Agriculture; Forest Service; Intermountain Range Station, 1994. 414-416.

Stevens, Allan R. and John F. Vallentine. "Use of Livestock to Control Cheatgrass-A Review." Proceedings-Ecology and Management of Annual Rangelands. Comp. Stephen B. Monsen. Ogden: United States Department of Agriculture; Forest Service; Intermountain Range Station, 1994. 202-205.

Tipton, F.H. "Cheatgrass, Livestock, and Rangeland." Proceedings-Ecology and Management of Annual Rangelands. Comp. Stephen B. Monsen. Ogden: United States Department of Agriculture; Forest Service; Intermountain Range Station, 1994. 414- 416.

Vavra, Martin. "Public Land and Natural Resource Issues Confronting Animal Scientists and Livestock Producers." Journal of Animal Sciences. 76 (1998): 2340-45.