[montanafood_ag] White paper: Livestock Management for Coexistence with Large Carnivores

Matt Barnes mbarnes at keystoneconservation.us
Tue Mar 31 13:20:54 MDT 2015

A white paper by Matt Barnes, Field Director for Rangeland Stewardship
Keystone Conservation, Bozeman, Montana

Ranchers and rangeland managers can apply many of the same approaches that
work for rangeland health and livestock production to reduce conflicts with
large carnivores. This paper synthesizes evidence from the rangeland,
wildlife, and animal sciences into a cohesive argument: modeling livestock
management after the grazing patterns and reproductive cycles of wild
ungulates in the presence of their predators can improve rangeland health
and livestock production‹and increase the ability of ranching operations to
coexist with native carnivores. The central anti-predator behavior of wild
grazing animals is to form large, dense herds that then move around the
landscape to seek fresh forage, avoid fouled areas, and escape predators.
Grazing management involving high stocking density and frequent movement,
such as rotational grazing and herding with low-stress livestock handling,
can improve rangeland health and livestock production, by managing the
distribution of grazing across time, space, and plant species. Such
management can also reduce the susceptibility of livestock to predation.

Livestock ­ large carnivore coexistence practitioners can be more effective
by expanding from a direct focus on carnivores and predation-prevention
tools to the broader social-ecological context of ranches and rural
communities, especially livestock management. Domestic animals, after all,
are much more manageable. Moreover, only within certain livestock management
contexts can preventative or non-lethal tools be applied effectively.

Available at: 

Matt Barnes
Field Director, Rangeland Stewardship
Keystone Conservation
104 E Main, Ste 307
PO Box 6733
Bozeman, Montana 59771-9922
Cell 970-724-9326

For thriving social and natural systems in the Northern Rockies

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