Desert Habitat Restoration

One of our three broad objectives at Circle Ranch is to continuously improve the plant community. By fostering plant development and diversity, and by restoring our desert grassland we have advanced our other two main goals: increased profitability, and increased numbers of free-ranging game animals including mule deer, elk, desert bighorn sheep, pronghorn and of game birds such as quail, dove and turkey.

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Our primary habitat management tool is cattle.  Animal impact and grazing timing are key to our efforts to improve habitat for all species of birds and animals.  Many wildlife practitioners are ‘specialists’ who tend to apply practices for the benefit of one animal.  We approach habitat and wildlife restoration with the view that communities of plants, animals, and soil life are interdependent with each other and with water, mineral and sunlight cycles; all of these must be addressed together: this is what is meant by ‘holistic’.  Starting with that understanding of how these natural systems work, we try to use our cattle in a way that mimics the way nature previously operated, such as how buffalo concentrated in large numbers yet were in constant movement and absent for very long periods of time.  Planned grazing is about getting animals to the right place at the right time for the right reason with the right behavior.

For more on the story of grazing for habitat and wildlife restoration,  CLICK HERE

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We also have been focusing on, and achieving great results with, Keyline subsoiling techniques.  It rests on a few simple insights developed sixty years ago by Australian farmer and inventor, P.A. Yeomans. Keyline contour plowing with a Yeomans Plow has show some great results in gaining ground in the fight against erosion and in our restoration of native grasslands, in those relatively-few areas where our main tool of animal impact has not worked as well or as quickly as we would like.

For more on the story, CLICK HERE

Cattle and subsoiling invigorate plants.  But after 120 years of human impact, we have major erosion problems from roads and gullies.  After we reduce runnoff, we still have these  open wounds eating whole valleys.  There are several things we do to address erosion.

For more on the story,  CLICK HERE

  1. Just a voice of support for your intelligent postings.

    Keep up the great work, your ranch is incredible.

    Regards,

    Louise Boutin
    Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Cananda.

    Reply

    1. Dear Louise,

      Thank you so much.

      I loved my visit to Vancouver Island. I have spent many happy weeks heli-skiing in BC.

      Reply

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