Proactive projects: Prerequisite for real revegetation of western USA rangelands

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Stanford Young

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Tens of millions of acres of public rangelands in Western USA are seriously degraded, resulting in low productivity along with increased vulnerability to wildfires, erosion, and endangered status for native plants and wildlife. Currently, most public agency sponsored revegetation on these rangelands is emergency seeding in response to cyclical wildfire events. This unpredictable cycle leads to a boom or bust marketplace for revegetation seed as supplied by private sector seed collectors and farmers, engendering higher overall prices and seed shortages of critical plant species and their ecotypic germplasms needed for specific wildlife habitat recovery.  The end result is compromised vegetation reestablishment efforts and thus further rangeland degradation. To break this untenable cycle, a non-public agency driven resolution has been initiated for presentation to those in the U.S. Congress with stature and influence in management of public wildlands: “That federal funds at the rate of $150 per acre be earmarked to plan, prepare, and seed at least one million acres of proactive revegetation projects per year on public rangelands in the Western USA.” Planned projects reduce wildfire frequency and severity through mitigation of weedy fuels such as cheatgrass and establishment of more fire-resistant vegetation. Planned projects assure the availability and affordability of the best possible plant materials needed to generate balanced, diverse, and productive rangeland ecosystems. Planned projects greatly improve such ecosystem services as purifying water and air, controlling erosion, providing nutrient recycling, supporting animal life, and supplying resources for human use and recreation.

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Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

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Society for Ecological Restoration