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Well-managed grazing systems: a forgotten hero of conservation
- Franzluebbers, Alan J., Paine, Laura K., Winsten, Jonathan R., Krome, Margaret, Sanderson, Matt A., Ogles, Kevin, Thompson, Dennis
- Journal of soil and water conservation 2012 v.67 no.4 pp. 100A
- agroecology, conservation practices, ecosystem services, ecosystems, education, farming systems, farms, foods, governmental programs and projects, grazing, issues and policy, landscapes, livestock production, pastures, surveys
- Well-managed pasture-based farming systems provide society-wide environmental services while offering productivity and profit to individual producers. Small-scale farms are supplying local communities with food and aesthetic, yet functional, landscapes. While some barriers to greater adoption of well-managed pasture-based farming systems are real, surveys suggest that many barriers are perceived and could be overcome with education. Grazing networks and on-farm demonstrations are separating what is real from perceived. Local, state, and federal programs to support well-managed grazing systems need to be organized into coordinated action. New comprehensive research investigations need to be designed so that ecologically sound, pasture-based farming systems can be adopted and adapted using a firm scientific basis for greater understanding of the broad biogeochemical and socioeconomic considerations. New and existing policy options should be further developed to encourage adoption of well-managed pasture- based livestock production as one of several agroecological approaches to meet the current and future demands of a robust production system without harming the ecosystem that supports it.