Wednesday, March 04, 2015

25 Years Without Cows: Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge

From an article about a recent publication documenting changes on the Refuge:

"By comparing the new photos with the historical ones, the researchers determined that following 23 years of passive recovery after cattle were excluded from the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, stream channels narrowed, woody vegetarian increased, and there was a noticeable reduction in eroding stream banks. Nearly all sites displayed a decrease in bare soil, resulting in an overall 90% increase in plant cover, mainly thanks to grasses, sedges, forbs, and willow. Willow and rush cover increased fourfold. "

The conclusion is clear: “Simply removing cattle from areas may be all that is required to restore many degraded riparian areas in the American West.”

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