Thursday, July 08, 2010

"a need for good management of Ozark glades"




Earlier this week, a colleague in Louisiana sent a scanned copy of the above brochure issued in 1970 by the USFS. In it, one can see White River Hills country, huge bands of dolomite glades, native grasslands grazed to the nub being used for forage. As of 2009, the Mark Twain National Forest wised up and listened to sage advice: the Mark Twain NF officially removed glades from the grazing allotment. Cows can graze in old bottomland fields (areas that offer no chance of restoration), but the glades now have a chance to recover from years of constant abuse. A major coup for biodiversity. As I've said before, some areas may never recover.

Unfortunately, a caption from the 1970 brochure could be taken from literature issued today. In 1970, "increasing consumer use of beef points out a need for good management of Ozark glades. A highly productive native grassland means fatter and healthier steers for market." While a plant-based diet is promoted in health magazines more than ever before, cheap protein (especially grass-finished or grass-fed beef) for export and local distribution still drives the market. So, today, our few remnant native grasslands in southwest Missouri-- those little postage stamp-sized refugia for prairie fringed orchids, crawfish frogs, Mead's milkweed and pink katydids-- remain places where the "increasing consumer use of beef" trumps biodiversity. Our "highly productive native grasslands" are suffering, and noisy ecologists can't do a thing about it.

3 comments:

Sabatia said...

Well done..........

Travis said...

This is why people should just eat deer.
it's a win-win.

Allison Vaughn said...

You're right! People should just eat deer.
And Sabatia, this has been a banner year for your namesake, both species blooming like crazy now...