Rotational Grazing Improves Biodiversity of LandBy: Emily Nason
Diversifying the way we manage working lands -- including farmland, rangeland and forests -- may be key to preserving biodiversity.
After a major storm in October 2013, Jody and JoAnn Brown lost almost everything on their ranch, including many cows. Jody Brown realized it was time to change the way he did things. He went to the South Dakota Grazing school and learned about rotational grazing. Rotational grazing is the practice of moving grazing livestock between pastures. Well-managed rotational grazing means that you evaluate the nutritional and food needs of your animals, assess grass quality and quantity, regulate the acreage of access and control which parts of the pasture/range that the animals have access to. The Browns were shocked by the biodiversity this created. New kinds of grass, and ever birds, were popping up in their pastures. Because the cows stomp, poop, and dig at the pastures, it adds moisture pockets to the soil and the manure becomes a natural fertilizer. This is just another example of working lands actually benefiting the environment and habitats around them.