Common ground on the prairie (commentary)

first_imgGood stewardship of our native grasslands is one of the best ways to survive the next weather event. Grasses are rooted in the ground, which enables the soil to absorb and retain more water. That, in turn, prevents sediment, fertilizer, pesticides, and other compounds in the soil from running off into nearby water ways. And by absorbing and storing more water, the land better withstands flood and drought alike.Healthy grasslands also serve as a check against climate change, pulling heat-trapping carbon dioxide out of the air and storing it in the soil. Research shows that improving grazing management practices on just one acre of grassland can pull an average of 419 extra pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere each year.This is an important message for the governors, mayors, CEOs and producers gathering in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS). There, they will demonstrate the progress the public and private sectors have made in reducing carbon emissions and they’ll set ambitious new goals. Land stewardship will be high on the agenda, as it should be.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. Mother Nature is the ultimate boss on the prairie — and the boss seems pretty agitated these days. Weather events are more frequent, more extreme, and harder to predict than they used to be.Fortunately, we know from experience that if we take care of the land, the land will take care of us. And to best care for the land, we can learn some lessons from Mother Nature and the generations that came before.Ranchers across the Great Plains in the United States take very seriously their responsibility to be good stewards of the land and realized generations ago that the way to survive any environmental calamity is to ranch in a sustainable way. After homesteaders plowed up millions of acres of native prairie in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, drought came in the 1920s and 1930s, bringing the Dust Bowl — possibly the worst environmental disaster in modern history. In the 1930s, led by Big Hugh Bennett and the Soil Conservation Service (today the Natural Resources and Conservation Service), farmers and ranchers rallied to restore the land — work that continues today with support from groups such as World Wildlife Fund’s Sustainable Ranching Initiative.Good stewardship of our native grasslands is one of the best ways to survive the next weather event. Grasses are rooted in the ground, which enables the soil to absorb and retain more water. That, in turn, prevents sediment, fertilizer, pesticides, and other compounds in the soil from running off into nearby water ways — good news for the millions of people who rely on those rivers and streams for drinking water. And by absorbing and storing more water, the land better withstands flood and drought alike.Black angus cattle and native wildflowers on a Great Plains ranch. Photo: © WWF-US / Clay BoltOur grasslands evolved with large herbivore grazers, which created a perfect symbiosis of land and animal caring for each other. Just as bison did historically, cattle today maintain the land by pruning the grasses, aerating the soil, and fertilizing both. When cattle are managed in ways that strengthen grasses and soils, ranching communities and the wildlife that depend upon them thrive.Healthy grasslands also serve as a check against climate change, pulling heat-trapping carbon dioxide out of the air and storing it in the soil. Research shows that improving grazing management practices on just one acre of grassland can pull an average of 419 extra pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere each year (though it varies greatly by region, conditions, and other variables).According to WWF’s 2018 Plowprint report, however, the Great Plains lost more than 58 million acres of native grasslands in the last decade. Still, with more than 360 million acres of intact grassland left, the carbon savings could add up if better grazing practices are applied broadly enough. Of course, cattle are also a source of emissions — about 2 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — but their ability to enhance carbon sequestration in grassland soils can mitigate those emissions.One thing is clear: ranching can be an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable way to conserve the prairie. Well-managed working grasslands can be an economically self-sustaining solution that serves both the environment and rural communities at a large scale.Green healthy grasslands of the Great Plains. Photo: © Day’s Edge / WWF-USTo maintain a healthy planet, including our grasslands, and to adapt to a shifting climate, we all must reconsider our demand for food, clothing, fuel, and other products, and the affects that those demands have on the land. And it’s up to all of us to do our part, from ranchers and researchers to consumers and CEOs.This is an important message for the governors, mayors, CEOs and producers gathering in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS). There, they will demonstrate the progress the public and private sectors have made in reducing carbon emissions and they’ll set ambitious new goals. Land stewardship will be high on the agenda, as it should be. Indeed, the ways we use land for food, clothing, fuel, paper, timber, and other products is responsible for about a quarter of all human carbon emissions. That means we represent that portion of the solution and more.As the participants in the GCAS grapple with these important and complicated issues, we emphasize how important and valuable cattle can be to healthy grasslands. When it comes to sustainable ranching, the prairie provides environmental advocates and ranchers with common ground we can literally stand on.Sunrise over the grasslands on a Great Plains ranch. Photo: © WWF-US / Emily Vandenbosch.CITATION• Conant, R. T., Cerri, C. E., Osborne, B. B., & Paustian, K. (2017). Grassland management impacts on soil carbon stocks: a new synthesis. Ecological Applications, 27(2), 662-668. doi:10.1002/eap.1473Laura Nowlin is a fifth-generation rancher in Petroleum County, Montana. She is a founding member of the Winnett ACES (Agriculture and Community Enhancement and Sustainability), a community conservation collaborative in Central Montana.Martha Kauffman, is the managing director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Northern Great Plains program. Martha is based in Bozeman Montana working with local ranchers, tribes and government agencies to increase protection for the landscape, create economic incentives for conservation, and restore native species.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Carbon Sequestration, Climate Change, Climate Change And Extreme Weather, Commentary, Drought, Editorials, Environment, Extreme Weather, Grasslands, Prairie, Ranching, Researcher Perspective Series, Savannas, Soil Carbon, Weather Article published by Mike Gaworeckicenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img

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