The Effects Of Grazing On Wildlife And Plant Species And Holding Up The Long Tradition Of Ranching
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Rangeland is any extensive area of land that is occupied by native herbaceous or shrubby vegetation which is grazed by domestic or wild herbivores. Over the last couple of decades grazing of public rangelands in the United States has become very controversial. Groups opposing has cited degradation of public trust resources and detrimental to wildlife and plant species while advocates believe that grazing is beneficial to the wildlife and plant species and holding up the long tradition of ranching. However, beyond the arguments of both sides is a complex web of scientific information, ecosystem processes, and practical issues related to grazing that must be carefully considered before judging whether grazing is beneficial or detrimental for any given situation. In most cases the question is not black and white, but rather a matter of weighing the expected effects of grazing against the objectives for a particular site.
Rangelands occur on all continents, particularly in Africa, Australia and the United States. It presently occupies about 47% of the world’s land and contributes significantly to the production of ecosystem goods and services. In Australia alone, almost 81% is classified as rangeland. In the United States 36% is considered rangeland, with 53% located in 19 western states. At present United States rangelands comprise approximately 770 million acres with the private sector owning more than half. Rangelands in the United States are diverse lands from the