Theme 6: Pastoralism--Oral Sessions

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The GAP analysis (A Case of Benign Neglect: Knowledge gaps about sustainability in rangelands and pastoralism) points to several gaps that are relevant to the US, Canada and Mexico. North American rangelands span the ecological continuum of polar to hot deserts and arid to humid climates that exhibit highly variable ecological and forage production potential across time and space. Although there is a great deal of rangeland research, extension, and inventory capacity in all three countries, a weak link is the dissemination of information to North American pastoralists (conventionally referred to as ranchers or producers). Although the extension system in the US and Canada are similar, there are distinct differences. Public lands in the US are managed at the national level by federal agencies (e.g., Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service) while private land management assistance is provided by the Natural Resource Conservation Service. In Canada, Crown land is managed by departments within each province and there is no national extension service. In Mexico, the majority of the lands are managed by local communities or ejidos, 15% are privately owned and managed and the remaining 5% is government owned. The three countries support national research organizations and have a well-developed system of colleges and universities that have range management or related disciplines containing staff that specialize in teaching and/or research (and cooperative extension at land grant universities within the US). All three countries must attempt to bridge gaps between an urban industrial society that is increasingly disconnected from extensive agricultural production on rangelands. Promoting ecological goods and services provided by rangelands is a relatively new paradigm for US, Canadian and Mexican research and extension. During the IYRP, the focus in the US, Canada and Mexico is likely to be in 2 directions; providing North American pastoralists/ranchers with the social license to continue to ranch or farm while educating the massive urban population about the sustainability, multiple uses, and benefits of ecological services produced on rangelands and native grasslands.

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Action Plan for the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP): The Case for the United States, Canada, and Mexico

The GAP analysis (A Case of Benign Neglect: Knowledge gaps about sustainability in rangelands and pastoralism) points to several gaps that are relevant to the US, Canada and Mexico. North American rangelands span the ecological continuum of polar to hot deserts and arid to humid climates that exhibit highly variable ecological and forage production potential across time and space. Although there is a great deal of rangeland research, extension, and inventory capacity in all three countries, a weak link is the dissemination of information to North American pastoralists (conventionally referred to as ranchers or producers). Although the extension system in the US and Canada are similar, there are distinct differences. Public lands in the US are managed at the national level by federal agencies (e.g., Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service) while private land management assistance is provided by the Natural Resource Conservation Service. In Canada, Crown land is managed by departments within each province and there is no national extension service. In Mexico, the majority of the lands are managed by local communities or ejidos, 15% are privately owned and managed and the remaining 5% is government owned. The three countries support national research organizations and have a well-developed system of colleges and universities that have range management or related disciplines containing staff that specialize in teaching and/or research (and cooperative extension at land grant universities within the US). All three countries must attempt to bridge gaps between an urban industrial society that is increasingly disconnected from extensive agricultural production on rangelands. Promoting ecological goods and services provided by rangelands is a relatively new paradigm for US, Canadian and Mexican research and extension. During the IYRP, the focus in the US, Canada and Mexico is likely to be in 2 directions; providing North American pastoralists/ranchers with the social license to continue to ranch or farm while educating the massive urban population about the sustainability, multiple uses, and benefits of ecological services produced on rangelands and native grasslands.