The once-over on overgrazing

  Please do not take the editorial advice from Mark Salvo concerning the use of the word “overgrazing." It is ironic that Salvo portrays himself as being on the side of “rational discourse” when he appears in fact to be one of those zealots who believes that any grazing in that nonexistent monolith he calls “the arid West” is, by definition, too much. In fact, grazing in the West is similar to the porridge in Goldilocks — there can be too much, too little, or just enough, depending on the particulars of the land and the type of grazing methods employed. The work of the Savory Center, the Quivira Coalition, the Malpai Border-lands Group and others has shown that the right type of grazing on the appropriate sorts of land can make a significant positive contribution to land health. If there is a problem with the word “overgrazing,” it is that it refers only to the quantity and not the equally important quality of grazing on a particular site.

Stacey Sullivan
Berkeley, California