One of the key elements in a grassland ecosystem will be the inclusion and management of both domestic and wildlife grazing animals. Range Ward can supply effective tools and solutions for animal management and grassland eco-maintenance.
Temporary electric fence can be used to exclude or with specific management, include grazing animals in critical landscape areas. While effectively controlling domestic animals, temporary electric fence allows free movement of native ungulates, prevents a trailing effect when animals continually follow a permanent fence line and it does little to alter viewscape.
Grasslands evolved with grazers performing necessary ecological functions related to mineral and water cycles and the capture of sunlight by plants. A lack of grazing in brittle environments characterized by low, erratic rainfall and high evapo-transpiration, causes good plants to die from over rest as old material accumulates on them, blocking adequate sunlight from reaching the growing points. Too few grazing animals scattered widely in an unexcited non- herding manner will fail to provide the soil disturbance necessary for reseeding. A decrease in soil organic matter and possible soil erosion is usually the first concern followed by a decrease in desired vegetation and an increase in non-native or invasive vegetation.
Grazing animals are an integral component of a healthy functioning ecosystem. The key is the amount of time a herd of animals graze a specific area, and the amount of time plants have to recover after grazing. With the use of temporary electric fence, large herds can graze for very short periods helping to mimic the grazing by large herds of native ungulates moving across the landscape chased by predators. A few grazing animals whether domestic or native, continuously grazing on the same area – usually a riparian area, will impact stream banks, fish habitat, and ultimately stream flow and water quality.
Responsibility to ‘Get it Right’:
. A holistic approach is necessary, with the inclusion of not only food production goals but also environment and social goals. Only when a balance exists between all three goals, will the landscape, the people, and other living organisms in the landscape be healthy. A focus or over weighting of any one the three-part goals of environment, economic and social will ultimately shift the holistic approach. This may appear as cattle continuously grazing a riparian area but may also include the exclusion of grazing animals for long periods in a park or conservation area, or a narrow goal of recreation only in an area or the management of a landscape with the focus on one endangered species.
We must take seriously the interdependent relationship between land and animals for the overall health of a functioning landscape. This is why Range Ward strongly advocates and encourages the presence of grazing animals, in grassland ecosystems. Range Ward’s mission is to provide tools and solutions for animal management and grassland ecosystems. It is really about the land.
Giving environmental research projects a little room to learn:
The more we can learn about how our activities affect a particular landscape the more we can improve our management skills. In conservation areas, research and observation boundaries for exclusion or inclusion of animals can easily be accomplished with temporary or semi- permanent electric fence. Range Ward manufactures a Power Grazer Trailer for portable electric fencing or Power Grazer Cart, which can be used for permanent or semi permanent fence.
Even small-scale conservation and restoration projects should be encouraged:
Modernization of equipment and techniques can make a difference. Conservation minded groups and individuals might not know how or have the ability to manage stock as part of their project. Range Ward can provide not only equipment but also mentorship and information transfer on animal behavior and ecosystem management. Responsible land steward can play an important part in restoring the Native Prairie. Our tools and advice are especially useful to this dedicated group.
In many conservation areas, grazing continues to be used to maintain grassland health and ecology. Range Ward supports this effort and would like the opportunity to demonstrate how the Power Grazer line of equipment can help modernize this approach, making it:
- less labor intensive
- more cost effective
- easy to manage – entrenching the practice
The Power Grazer series of equipment makes managing stock animals easy with the use of temporary solar powered fencing putting the land manager in complete control of:
- temporary paddock size;
- stock density;
- exclusion or inclusion for riparian, research or work areas;
- day to day animal impact; and
- Access to fencing solutions in remote areas.
Range Ward makes that kind of control affordable and simple for land stewards and conservation groups, so that “best environmental practices” in Rangelands can be widely achievable.
Range Ward shares the dedication to grassland health. Here is a quick list of how we can help:
- provide environmentally friendly tools and solutions to help maximize efficiency and minimize costs for grazing programs in Heritage Rangelands and other conservation areas that use grazers;
- eliminate the need for access to fixed power for temporary fencing;
- provide temporary big game exclusion and management where needed including localized bear deterrent;
- provide serious power for serious fence energizers to power large areas of fencing –
- provide temporary, independently powered fencing for remote riparian areas;
- leave behind a positive impact on the environment with the use of solar powered electric fencing – offsetting overall environmental footprint of animal management while keeping in line with the best practices in grasslands;
- provide reusable equipment that can be easily moved to a new site – in this way, Range Ward’s equipment provides long term benefits to customers and doesn’t leave behind expensive permanent fencing past its usefulness;
- designed with additional security features like removable hitch and lockable storage compartments for electrical components included – making the use of high-tech equipment in remote areas, as secure as possible; and
- Provide expert advice so precision grazing management in riparian areas is more accessible for conservation and restoration projects.
We would like the opportunity to demonstrate how the Power Grazer series of equipment and Range Ward expert advice can assist land stewards of any background. Visit our Power Grazer Trailer Product page to see a demonstration of just how easy it is to use. Power Grazer Trailer
If you are interested in learning more about preferred methods in parkland conservation or restoration of disturbed grasslands in Alberta, we highly recommend:
– that you read Recovery Strategies for Industrial Development in Native Prairie (pdf)
-visit our partners and links page and explore their vast knowledge bases
-visit the AlbertaParks.ca “Management & Land Use” page