Livestock grazing on natural grasslands is the closest agriculture comes to being truly ecologically sustainable. Livestock production is the primary land use on the majority of remaining native prairie grassland in Canada.
This situation presents a significant opportunity to slow or reverse the decline of grassland biodiversity through the provision of economic incentives to assist livestock producers to manage lands for the benefit of conservation. Market-based incentives can be used to simultaneously maintain and enhance ecological services and support the long-term economic viability of livestock production on natural grasslands.
To conserve grassland habitats and species at risk in the northern Great Plains by developing and piloting appropriate and effective market-based programs that will both improve our ability to reverse the decline of grassland biodiversity and improve economic sustainability of the agricultural producers who steward natural grasslands.
The project will evaluate market-based incentive programs from around the world to determine their applicability to livestock production on natural grasslands in the northern Great Plains and make recommendations on the design and components of effective market based schemes. The project will also develop methods to place economic values on the ecological services provided by natural grasslands.
The activities will provide the information necessary to design and implement appropriate, effective and sustainable market-based incentive programs for the northern Great Plains.