Cows can help

  Dear HCN,

Although Jon Christensen's story on weeds, fire, and the Great Basin was informative, he left out an important ingredient to the story (HCN, 5/22/00: Save Our Sagebrush). The same tools that he attributes to the ecological collapse of the region - fire and grazing - can be used to restore the region.

Spring grazing by livestock just prior to seed-set of cheatgrass and fall burning to destroy seeds of the annual grass can, over time, recover degraded lands. Doubt it? Ask stewards across the West who are working on the land, trying to find solutions to the nasty necessity of eradicating exotics.

Rick Knight
Livermore, Colorado

The writer is a professor of wildlife conservation at Colorado State University.

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