A hundred ways to sustain grasslands and ranchers now at your fingertips: new online tool corrals best practices from across North America

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation launches a new online tool featuring beneficial management practices from across the continent to maintain native grasslands and sustain ranchers’ livelihoods.

Montreal, 7 May 2014—A new online tool is being launched today with nearly 100 beneficial management practices aimed at ranchers, conservation organizations, government and academic institutions in North America. Ranging from local techniques to national and continental approaches, the tool contains a wealth of practical and innovative ideas for conserving and restoring native grasslands and boosting the economic stability of ranchers.

North America’s grasslands—and the species that inhabit them—are coming under increasing pressure from climate change, residential development, oil and gas extraction, and the expansion of cash crop production. As one of the most sustainable forms of agriculture, ranching has the potential to conserve remaining native grasslands, restore degraded landscapes, and reverse the loss of North America’s most threatened terrestrial ecoregion.

With the online tool, ranching and stewardship best practices can be searched geographically or thematically according to eight management categories, such as Grazing ManagementWater Resource Management and Invasive Species and Pest Management.

The tool also contains a “Featured Stories” section, with inspiring examples of ranchers across the continent who are using these techniques to conserve grasslands and improve their economic bottom line. In the tool’s “Overarching Practices” section, high-level guidance is offered to assist ranchers, conservationists, and policy makers in making sound management decisions that achieve both economic and conservation objectives. Available in English, French and Spanish, the tool also features a glossary of terms and a resources section.

“The online tool contains cutting-edge grasslands conservation and management practices and captures the technical knowledge gained over generations by ranchers across the continent,” said Karen Richardson, Program Manager for Terrestrial and Marine Ecosystems, Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). “We encourage users to send us additional publications and case studies to expand the online tool and make it a truly dynamic and continental product.”

The CEC would like as many North Americans as possible to have access to this tool, so please feel free to embed it or link to www.nagrasslands.org on your personal or institutional website.

Take a tour of the website and learn how to use it by watching this short tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZzV7244ojk

North American Grasslands

For over a decade, the CEC has supported grasslands conservation and beneficial management practices across North America. The CEC’s current project, Catalyzing North American Grasslands Conservation and Sustainable Use Through Partnerships, is a joint project of Environment Canada, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad (Conabio), and Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (Conanp), supported by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). It encourages sustainable ranching practices and grassland stewardship to maintain and enhance the resilience of this continentally-shared ecosystem, and the CEC is working closely with ranchers to pilot these practices across North America.