Friday, December 07, 2012

Grazing study, climate link spark controversy

An Oregon State University College of Agriculture administrator said a report authored by an OSU College of Forestry professor that was critical of grazing on public lands does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the university. Further, John Killefer, head of the College of Agricultural Sciences Department of Animal Health, said: “I think that livestock grazing can be an important part of a range management program.” A report by OSU forestry professor Robert Beschta and a team of scientists in the online publication Environmental Management determined grazing on public lands exacerbates the effects of climate change.In the report, published Nov. 15 in the online publication Environmental Management, the scientists wrote that livestock production on public lands “can alter vegetation, soils, hydrology and wildlife species composition and abundance in ways that exacerbate the effects of climate change on these resources.” “Removing or reducing livestock across large areas of public land would alleviate a widely recognized and long-term stressor and make these lands less susceptible to the effects of climate change,” they wrote. A USDA rangeland scientist and cattleman rebuked the findings which say it exacerbates the effects of climate change. Tony Svejcar, research leader of the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Service Center in Burns, said the report highlights isolated examples of poorly managed allotments and fails to present an accurate picture of the overall effect of grazing on federal lands...more

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