Why being put out to pasture is a good thing

Foundational document lays out the deep changes needed to keep North America’s grasslands productive and healthy for rural communities.  

Montreal, 23 October 2013—Healthy prairie grasslands support ranching—one of the world’s most sustainable forms of agriculture—and provide significant benefits for wildlife and rural economies. In North America, they are disappearing faster than any other lands and only concerted action among ranchers, conservationists and public agencies will give the grasslands the leg-up they need.

Today’s release of North American Grasslands Alliance: A Framework for Change represents the work of over 70 grassland experts from Canada, Mexico and the United States, who joined forces to develop this collaborative approach.

The document highlights the grasslands as a vital economic, cultural and natural asset, and underlines the pivotal importance of engaging and working with the stewards of the land—especially ranchers and the conservation community—to work together to protect them.

The framework provides five key priorities:

  1. Engage urban and rural society
  2. Engage current and future stewards of the land
  3. Improve the economic sustainability of ranches
  4. Harmonize agricultural and environmental policy
  5. Identify, increase and improve the applicability of research and monitoring

To read the full document, click here. Contributors include conservationists, ranching associations, researchers, government rangeland specialists and other grassland experts. These experts attended three North American Grasslands experts and partners meetings, hosted by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), and collaborated to draft this framework for the North American Grasslands Alliance.

Stay tuned! Online database of grassland beneficial management practices and a call for pilot projects coming soon…

The CEC will soon launch an online database featuring over 90 grassland beneficial management practices contributed by ranchers, ranching associations, government agencies and nongovernmental organizations across North America.

In addition, as part of the CEC’s grasslands project for 2013–2014, the CEC will fund on-the-ground pilot projects in Canada, Mexico and the United States to demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits of a conservation approach to livestock production.

About the CEC grasslands project

The CEC’s grasslands project, Catalyzing North American Grasslands Conservation and Sustainable Use Through Partnerships, is developing conservation solutions that address the root causes of grasslands loss. These include the transfer and uptake of place-based beneficial practices, ranging from land and water management to community outreach and partnerships, and support to local communities and rural economies dependent on grasslands of key biodiversity importance in North America. The North American Grasslands Alliance is a continental partnership that expands grassland stewardship through shared experiences and resources.