California’s rangelands encompass diverse agricultural land resources across the state. Working landscapes are a critical resource--providing multiple benefits to humans, including food, fiber, clean water, and open space. With greater societal expectations for conservation and sustainable food systems, management of rangelands is becoming increasingly complex. Balancing conservation goals with the economic realities of agricultural production will continue to be a key challenge--especially under the mounting pressures of uncertain future economic, social, and climatic changes.
The California Ranch Stewardship Project (CRSP) aims to highlight the key challenges and opportunities facing California's working rangelands. CRSP is a collaboration between University of California, UC Cooperative Extension, the California Cattlemen's Association, and the California Farm Bureau Federation. CRSP seeks to connect research and policy with how decisions get made on-the-ground (i.e., pasture, ranch, and enterprise scales), link decision-making to agricultural and ecological outcomes, and integrate management experience and scientific knowledge to identify adaptive strategies for multiple goals.
As of August 2014, we have completed 102 semi-structured interviews ranchers and rangeland managers across California. We are now collaborating with a subset of participants to conduct follow-up field surveys to measure on-the-ground outcomes of rangeland management and conservation practices.
Research funded by USDA NIFA, Western SARE, and UC ANR