To many, the Western grasslands still reflect the essence of this country: the vast plains that begin with prairie and bump up against the Rockies, home to herds of cattle and the cowboys that run them. Yet this indelible image belies the facts, as much of the nation’s rangeland has been degraded by overgrazing. Land where lush, waving grasses flourished is now eroded and only sparsely covered with plants. One consequence, says farmer and rural public policy expert Michael Bowman of Wray, Colorado, is that ‘hundreds of small communities whose economies relied on healthy grassland are withering with the grass.’
Many ranchers, conservationists, and investors are determined to revive this magical and (once) highly productive landscape. And have embarked on doing so by increasing the density of livestock.
Read more … (Time)