Forwarded from http://www.cast-science.org/pubs/grazinglands_nr.htm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2002
Teresa A. Gruber, Ph.D., J.D.
Council for Agricultural Science and Technology
TEL: 202-675-8333, ext. 11; Mobile: 202-744-0347
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
LIVESTOCK GRAZING: RIGHT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?
CAST releases report on environmental impacts of grazing systems on our
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology
(CAST), a non-profit consortium of food and agricultural scientists, today
released an Issue Paper Environmental Impacts of Livestock on U.S. Grazing
Lands, which takes a critical look at the environmental impacts of grazing
systems and provides guidance on land management tools. Released
at the combined annual meetings of three of CAST's member societies-AMERICAN
SOCIETY OF AGRONOMY -CROP SCIENCE SOCIETY OF AMERICA- SOIL SCIENCE SOCIETY
OF AMERICA-the report represents the combined efforts of an 8-person,
volunteer expert task force assembled by CAST.
The key to sustainability of grazing lands is managing vegetative cover, not
only to provide feed for grazing livestock, but also to hold soil in place,
to filter water, and to recycle nutrients. "Grazing lands are used
primarily as a low-cost feed source for livestock, but when well managed,
grazing lands can have positive environmental impacts such as reducing soil
erosion, sequestering atmospheric carbon, and maintaining biodiversity,"
explained cochair Dr. Matt A. Sanderson, U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Agricultural Research Service.
"We see an urgent need to develop monitoring tools or a series of indicators
that provide information to livestock producers and other land managers.
Armed with this information, they will be able to make decisions that will
sustain diverse ecosystems on the vast tracts of land used for grazing,"
according to Dr. Sanderson. "These tools will require new knowledge of the
extensive natural variation in soils, plants, animals and weather across
both time and space in grazing lands ecosystems, and a greater understanding
of how these components interact in relation to the multiple roles of
The potential impacts of livestock and wildlife grazing on the environment
have not been adequately synthesized for use in development of environmental
protection policies, according to Dr. Teresa Gruber, Executive Vice
President of CAST. "This is a complicated subject with many pieces to
integrate, so we are pleased that the Task Force has focused in on the 8 key
regarding the environmental impacts of livestock grazing: (1) soil quality,
(2) water quality, (3) riparian and wetland communities, (4) invasive plant
species, (5) public lands, (6) grazing and fire, (7) biological diversity,
and (8) high-density livestock areas."
Occupying more acreage than any other single land type in the United States,
grazing lands constitute more than 860 million acres (350 million hectares)
of private and public lands stretching from coast to coast and beyond. "We
were surprised to see that none of us lives significantly far from grazing
lands-even in the Northeast and Hawaii," remarked Task Force cochair Dr.
William C. Krueger, Oregon State University.
The full text of the Issue Paper Environmental Impacts of Livestock on U.S.
Grazing Lands (Issue Paper No. 22, 16 pp.) is available on-line at
www.cast-science.org. Printed copies can be ordered by mail (CAST, 4420 W.
Lincoln Way, Ames, Iowa 50014-3447), or E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Founded in 1972, CAST is a nonprofit organization comprising 37 scientific
societies and many individual, student, company, nonprofit and associate
society members. CAST assembles, interprets and communicates science-based
information regionally, nationally and internationally on food, fiber,
agricultural and natural resources and related societal and environmental
issues to our stakeholders-legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media,
the private sector and the public. For more information, visit
Task Force Cochairs:
William C. Krueger, Department of Rangeland Resources, Oregon State
Matt A. Sanderson, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural
Research Service, University Park, PA
Task Force Authors:
James B. Cropper, USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, University
Mary Miller-Goodman, Department of Agronomy and Soils, Auburn University, AL
Claudia E. Kelley, Department of Rangeland Resources, Oregon State
Rex D. Pieper, Department of Animal and Range Sciences, New Mexico State
University, Las Cruces
Pat L. Shaver, USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Corvallis, OR
M.J. Trlica, Department of Rangeland Ecosystem Science, Colorado State
University, Fort Collins
Task Force Reviewers:
Vivien G. Allen, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech
Dwight Fisher, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Watkinsville, GA
Kris M. Havstad, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Las Cruces, NM
Phillip L. Sims, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Woodward, OK
# # #
William C. Krueger, Ph.D., Oregon State University (TEL: 541-737-1615)
Matt A. Sanderson, Ph.D., USDA/ARS (TEL: 814-865-1067)
Teresa A. Gruber, Ph.D., J.D., CAST (TEL: 202-675-8333, ext. 11; Mobile:
202-744-0347, E-mail: [log in to unmask])
[See also http://www.cast-science.org/castpubs.htm#grazinglands . Report at
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