“I am the grass, I cover all; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What place is this? Where are we now? I am the grass, Let me work.” — Carl Sandberg – Grass
I spend a lot of time within the Klamath Knot, or the Cascade Mountain Range. Rock and mountain passes, gullies, and trees that touch the clouds and the heavens, lakes, streams, and rivers, all of fantastic stuff of dreams, of perceptions, of stories . . .
But first and foremost is the pleasure of wandering, whether on horseback or packing inward on foot, into a large meadow, into the middle of the wonderlands I call the Cascades and a touch of heaven within a Cascades Meadow of tall grasses and livid colors that one can only imagine, until standing within them, speechless, momentarily mind-numbing and devastated by so many and such beauty.
I enter into these corridors, or vast flats of tall grass, of flowers, of surrounding wildlife. In the middle of it all, and after a while of getting use to the soft trampoline-like ground where I had to actually steady myself on occasion before getting acclimated to it, oh, the questions run through my brain.
Like the text in a good book the compilation of story progressed, the grasses and the shallow breeze brushed so lightly the tops of each stem of grass, the Robins sang, even as the stars come out and literally filled the sky with a vast light-show of so many independent white sparkles, flashes, and streaks of falling stars. A slight pause between the birds singing, I heard a clomp, then chewing. I turned and seen in the distance, the heads of several deer grazing in the parsnips and corn lilies just beyond the grass meadow and near the treeline.
So there I sat, as on a mountain top; but no, a meadow and one of many more of all types, of all sizes and shapes and growth and variety of grass – yes, the many grasses within the wilds – domesticated? well. . .
Certainly, life does not evolve around bedrock, or rocks in general; neither wildlife nor humans alike could survive; which, is a fact of evolution, and more often than not certainly minimized within our perception of what gives us life and what does not. The significance of grasses in the wilds, or what covers a large and vast amount of land throughout the world, becomes clear, becomes evolutionary for all, for wildlife and humans alike, and for our very life – Grasses.
“Cattle Grazing on public lands requires intensive infrastructure and often results in habitat manipulation. Required allotment fences obstruct wildlife movement, changing wildlife behavior. Vegetative treatments to “improve forage” alter and sometimes decimate native plant and wildlife communities.”
Because we are unable to make food from dissolved rock, water, and sunlight has indeed escaped many an ignorant mind of hunter, of industrialist, of corporate heads, of welfare ranchers, and of government agencies, only to name a few, and this group alike within so many arrogant and ignorant perceptions right now.
Placing cattle in the forefront of grasses and life necessity, by promotion of over-population of cattle, taking cattle out of rangelands studies, creating false science favoring cattle and other special interest browsers, and ignoring the destruction to grasses cattle and the others cause, and continues to go unchecked and ignored, threatens our very existence on this planet. Yes, a profound ignorance, fear, and greed flares its ugly head again and again – a never ending situation of human-species and their overriding illusory superiority on this planet — certainly a false and potential very devastating mind-set for all of us.
- Chew on This
“Selective munching from cattle and cattle overgrazing reduces the hardiness and reproductive ability of preferred plant species—and in many cases eliminates them altogether rendering them unable to produce seed and reproduce. The less favored forage (non-native grasses and invasive weeds — non-useful cheat-grass and wildfire fuel only) thrives, altering the make up and balance of plant communities. Grazing animals, game animals mostly, also transport seed from one plant community to another, often spreading non-native invasive species.”
- Soil Stomping
“All that tromping, from cattle (not horses at all — and is a ignorant lie of tremendous proportion, due to such a small percentage and horses being a roaming, non-stationary/nomadic animal as well) not only affects the plant life, but also the soil crust, density, and inherent ecosystem organisms that work together to create a healthy biomass that effectively holds water and prevents erosion. Overgrazed lands lose plants and expose bare soils, feeding the cycle of degradation.”
- Water & Habitat Wreckage
“Mismanaged Cattle Grazing transforms riparian zones into denuded mud-pools, devastating water quality, hastening erosion, and robbing wildlife of habitat and clean water. Murderer’s Creek a good example of this, and the lack of responsibility the welfare Ranching nearby demonstrates — a kill-anything that is of a non-cattle existence by them, and we see and acknowledge the actual harm this ignorant mind-set achieves — we are currently in a 48% over-kill of our nations wildlife, and welfare ranching is a large part of this needless destruction and events, combined with bad hunting/broken game management paradigms domestically.”
Significance of Grasslands – Ignorance = Destruction
Odd how our human perceptions displace, or choose as insignificant, such life-giving biological situations of evolution, which a simplistic high school understanding of such so ignored and foolish to do so, for a truth that should be given great emphasis, the health and promotion of its health of various grasslands of our entire world.
“To assume that a government agency, such as the Bureau of Land Management, a lands management oversight agency that states, within its mission statement, the virtues of science and sound data gathering, would take such a significant situation as grasslands-destruction, shown to be cattle (beyond debate) and a long history of facts (and for several well-known reasons backed by facts and known science for, oh say, the past 6 million years of evolution and its history) and we have some very questionable, and obviously, a broken management system that becomes quite apparent, especially of its incompetent and ignorant charteristics, as well as extremely ignorant to facts of science and nature.” — John Cox, The Cascades
These grasses, we ignore and often shrug and simply set-aside for other things, we suppose more significant in importance, in reality conflict directly with this life-giving form – Animals, including our human species, are unable to live within any environment, that is, until plants colonize them; unable to exploit new ecological niches until plants create them.
Even the mechanical evolution, or referred to as industrialized-society (i.e. industrialization), was indeed preceded by fossilized horsetails and algae that become coal and petroleum, which also remains a very open-question whether this mechanical evolution will continue once fossil fuels are exhausted. . .
Perhaps, also, why there is such strains and power-crazed social manipulations, and so much misinformation in the matters of corporate influence and its necessity within our society today – as they may see the future, and that future is without them.
The fact is, it is certainly unlikely that any great new advances in animal evolution (yes, human species included) will come about until plants evolve new ways of using sunlight, water and minerals. Again, when we look at the evolution of civilization, it simply would not have evolved if not for the evolution of cereal grains from wild grasses – as history shows time and again.
Welfare Ranching destroys much of our Public Lands, due to the lies and misinformation given to the public at large, and supported by the Bureau of Land Management – but some truth’s are evident, that Welfare Ranching, and all of its destruction due to over-population of cattle, is un-needed and unnecessary in the United States, but is an extremely large and vast user, and destructive of Federal Lands and Taxpayer Money in the $$$$ billions of dollars yearly in subsidies and other projects directly related to Welfare Ranching, see below:
“Public lands grazers are a minority of livestock producers in the West and throughout the country…
- Number of livestock producers with federal grazing permits: 27,000.
- Percentage of livestock producers with federal grazing permits in the United States: 3%.
- Percentage of livestock producers with federal grazing permits in eleven Western states: 22%.
- Number of livestock producers without federal grazing permits: 880,000.
Subsidized by taxpayers, public lands grazers pay far less than market value for federal forage and grazing fees on comparable state and private lands…
- Fee to graze one cow and calf for one month (AUM) on federal public lands (2003): $1.43.
- Average fee per AUM on state lands in the West (excluding Texas) (1998): $12.30.
- Average fee per AUM on private lands in eleven Western states (1999): $21.10 – $52.00 plus.
The forage provided, and the beef produced from federal public lands is insignificant…
- Percentage of total feed for livestock (cattle and sheep) in the United States supplied from federal lands: 2%.
- Percentage of American beef produced from federal rangelands: less than 3%, and less than 1% via yearly sales receipts, in sales of beef domestically.”
That agriculture was developed by culture, rather than natural selection, does not make the plants less important. They may be sewn and harvested by us, but they still do the real work, and the essentials of turning soil, water, and sunlight into food. How far, one must ask, will our illusory superiority, over mother nature, continue until we have, indeed, self-destructed due to ignorance? Well, we certainly appear to be on this (and excuse my R&R background) Highway-to-Hell and the speed of which, is becoming aggressively faster and on a yearly, soon monthly, then weekly, basis. . .
Animals and Evolution
If we take a better look into our environment, into our grasslands and nature itself, we may find many answers. But first and foremost, as a species, we must rid ourselves of this illusory superiority that exists currently. Mother Nature continues with its job. Because our species ignorant and way beyond any common sense, we often have no way of knowing, more or less even to acknowledge, what other animals or even vegetation on this planet, could and perhaps is now benefiting from.
Trees, as our minds, or perception would have it, are not the culmination of plant evolution. In reality, nature’s truth not ours, it is the grasses, which has evolved out of adversity. Currently, due to ignorance, an upheaval and human-special interests, remain wiping out the grasslands, and select grasses that give life to all animals on this planet. Once again we see that all is connected, and all life-forms are necessary.
When the human-species actually admit, and bow to nature and the acceptance of truth, that grasslands and plant life essential, and a priority over such things as cattle, as financial growth within agriculture, and within our very perceptions of life on this planet, and just how everything is connected, we will then experience growth – until then, nature and wildlife is experiencing vast growth, i.e. limited at least those who remain disconnected from our industrialized ignorance — ad perhaps we will never see or understand those virtues; and the human-species, well, have become stagnant within our own ignorant behavior and greed.
Do we need Welfare Ranching and the Federal Grazing Permit Program?
- Bureau of Leisure and Motorhomes – October 2004: for the first time in the history of the agency, the Bureau of Land Management collected more revenue in recreational fees than annual grazing fees. This despite the fact that recreational fees are often collected through voluntary pay stations, while grazing fees are mandatory and enforced, and BLM does not charge fees for many recreational offerings on BLM lands.
- In Nevada (the state with more federal land than any other outside of Alaska), federal public lands grazing provides 1,228 jobs. 12 By comparison, one casino in Las Vegas employs 37,000 people.
- Alternative uses of federal public lands contribute much more income to local and regional economies than livestock grazing. In the Central Winter Ecosystem Management Area in the Kaibab Plateau, Arizona, dispersed recreation is worth $200,000 annually to the local and regional economies; fuelwood is worth $48,984; livestock grazing is worth $45,988; and deer and turkey hunting is worth $1,324,259.
- As part of his research on public lands grazing economics, Dr. Thomas Powers produced two tables of data (below) that are widely cited to refute the contention that public lands grazing is essential to western state economies.
Older Table – Ironically, has not changed that much, except Welfare Ranching has become quite a bit more expensive, in the Billions of $$$$ yearly, compared to millions previously – update Blog Author
- Employment and Income from Federal Grazing
|Public Lands Ranching Jobs and Income in Eleven Western States†|
|Fed grazing jobs||2,132||603||1,456||1,636||1,085||2,129||1,228||1,630||1,805||291||1,503|
|Fed grazing jobs as % of total||0.11||0.00||0.07||0.30||0.25||0.28||0.16||0.10||0.19||0.01||0.56|
|Fed grazing income as % of total||0.11||0.00||0.04||0.23||0.14||0.18||0.09||0.04||0.08||0.01||0.25|
|Days of normal job growth to replace all fed grazing jobs||14||1||14||72||93||53||18||23||30||2||—|
|Days of normal economic growth to replace all fed grazing income||18||0||6||57||30||25||8||10||9||1||—|
† Adapted from T. M. Power. 1996. LOST LANDSCAPES AND FAILED ECONOMIES: THE SEARCH FOR THE VALUE OF PLACE. Island Press. Washington, DC: 184-185 (citing T. M. Power. 1994. Measuring local economic well-being: per capita income and local economic health in C. W. Cobb and J. B. Cobb (eds.). THE GREEN NATIONAL PRODUCT: A PROPOSED INDEX OF SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC WELFARE. Univ. Press of America. New York, NY.).
B. Ranch “Dependence” on Federal Forage*
|RANCH DEPENDENCE ON FEDERAL FORAGE IN ELEVEN WESTERN STATES **|
|State||Percentage of Ranches “Dependent” on Federal Grazing||Percentage of Feed from Federal Grazing||Amount of Exaggeration of Dependency (percent)|
|Aggregate Eleven States||69||12||575|
* “Dependent” means more than 5% of forage from federal grazing.
** Power, T. M. 1996. LOST LANDSCAPES AND FAILED ECONOMIES: THE SEARCH FOR THE VALUE OF PLACE. Island Press. Washington, DC: 183 (citing E. B. Godfrey and C. A. Pope. 1990. The trouble with livestock grazing on public lands in Current Issues in Rangeland Resource Economics. Oregon State Univ. Corvallis, OR.).
- The vast majority of “livestock producers” on public lands are beef growers.
- Grazing permits for BLM and Forest Service allotments; includes sheep growers; accounts for permittees who operate on both BLM and Forest Service allotments. USDI-BLM, USDA-Forest Service. 1995. Rangeland Reform ’94 Final Environmental Impact Statement. USDI-BLM. Washington, DC: 3; see also P. Rogers. Cash cows. San Jose Mercury News (Nov. 7, 1999): 2S (reporting 26,300 permittees on BLM and Forest Service allotments).
- USDI-BLM, USDA-Forest Service. 1995. Rangeland Reform ’94 Final Environmental Impact Statement. USDI-BLM. Washington, DC: 26.
- USDI-BLM, USDA-Forest Service. 1995. Rangeland Reform ’94 Final Environmental Impact Statement. USDI-BLM. Washington, DC: 26.
- See USDI-BLM, USDA-Forest Service. 1995. Rangeland Reform ’94 Final Environmental Impact Statement. USDI-BLM. Washington, DC: 26.
- USDI-BLM. 2004. 2004 Federal Grazing Fee Announced (press release). BLM. Washington, DC. (Feb. 20, 2004).
- USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service. 1998. Agricultural graphics-17 state grazing fees adjusted AUM. USDA-NASS. Washington, DC. Available at http://www.usda.gov/nass/aggraphics/graphics.htm.
- Rogers, P. Cash cows. San Jose Mercury News (Nov. 7, 1999): 2S.
- USDI-BLM. 1992. Grazing fee review and evaluation: update of the 1986 final report. USDI-BLM. Washington, DC: 2.
- Rogers, P. Cash cows. San Jose Mercury News (Nov. 7, 1999): 1S; Jacobs, L. 1992. THE WASTE OF THE WEST: PUBLIC LANDS RANCHING. Lynn Jacobs, P.O. Box 5784, Tucson, AZ: 354.
- Power, T. 1996. LOST LANDSCAPES AND FAILED ECONOMIES: THE SEARCH FOR A VALUE OF PLACE. Island Press. Washington, DC: 184-185 (table 8-2).
- Power, T. 1996. LOST LANDSCAPES AND FAILED ECONOMIES: THE SEARCH FOR A VALUE OF PLACE. Island Press. Washington, DC: 184 (table 8-2).
- French, B. Rec fees surpass grazing for first time in BLM history. Billings Gazette (Oct. 7, 2004).
- Greenhouse, S. Behind Las Vegas’s glitter, heavy losses and layoffs. New York Times (Oct. 19, 2001).
- Souder, J. 1997. How does livestock grazing fit into the larger societal uses of wildlands?, in PROC. SYMP. ON ENVIRONMENTAL, ECONOMIC, AND LEGAL ISSUES RELATED TO RANGELAND WATER DEVELOPMENTS. Arizona St. Univ. Tempe, AZ: 305.