The past year of pandemic life has been a struggle for most us in many ways. For a field biologist who truly values time outdoors and in nature, the transition to telework and isolation is particularly impactful. But forced solitude leads to unexpected new perspectives, including a stronger connection to the land, nature, and community.
The U.S. and Canada have lost almost 3 billion birds since 1970. Grassland bird species suffered the steepest declines, losing an estimated 53% of their population, or more than 720 million birds. Established in 1985, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is one of the USDA’s largest voluntary conservation programs within the Farm Bill, and it’s also very important to birds that rely on grassland habitat. Unfortunately, enrollment in the program is declining, but our private lands stewardship program works to provide landowners with viable options to keep their fields in grassland habitat beyond CRP.
LandPKS (Potential Knowledge System) is a mobile phone app that makes digital soil and vegetation data and knowledge available in the palm of your hand. Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is excited to have helped develop a new LandPKS Habitat module specifically designed for ranchers, farmers, wildlife conservationists, educators and other land managers who are interested in using innovative technology to understand their landscape values and enhance wildlife habitat on their lands.
The cultural heritage of those that tend the land and call it home—from ranchers to Indigenous Peoples to ejidos—is closely tied to the fate of grasslands. Rural communities and economies depend on healthy grasslands and the services they provide which include aquifer recharge, productive rangelands, outdoor recreation and more. Despite their importance, the plight of grasslands has been largely overlooked, but a new initiative has launched which aims to chart a better future for this precious resource.
Birds make our lives better. They provide beauty and song, as well as vital ecosystem services like seed dispersal and pest control. Bird habitat conservation is a great investment, returning millions of dollars in economic benefits and contributing to clean air and water for people. Read on to learn more about why we should all care about birds!
We continue our conversation with Wyoming ranchers Marilyn Mackey and Tom Reed about family heritage, the influence of the oil and gas industry, changing conservation practices, and challenges facing the future of ranching in rural America. In today’s post, they share their perspectives about sustainable management approaches, and why they love what they do. Part 4 of a 4-part series.
In part 3 of our 4-part story, we chat with Wyoming ranchers Marilyn Mackey and Tom Reed about family heritage, the influence of the oil and gas industry, changing conservation practices, and challenges facing the future of ranching in rural America. In today’s post, we discuss their perceptions about how ranching has changed over the years.
Bird Conservancy explores bird conservation as it relates to working lands, which are facing challenges like never before. Interviews with landowners explore family heritage, the influence of the oil and gas industry, changing conservation practices, and the future of ranching in rural America. Part 2 of a 4-part series.