Canada is home to one of the most endangered ecosystems in the
entire world — the temperate grasslands.
Less than 20% remain intact.
Preserving and maintaining what remains of those grasslands is an
unlikely hero — the beef cow.
Cattle mimic the vital role bison played in forming these iconic
Grasslands need grazers.
During the BSE crisis, 5 million acres of grassland was converted to cropland and other uses when 26,000 family ranches left the beef industry. We didn’t fully appreciate how financially hard times for beef producers would quickly translate into habitat loss. Today, we have a far better understanding of the extent of habitat loss we could face during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the time is now to encourage swift action.
“Ranches run by cow-calf operators steward the vast majority of all grasslands that remain intact in Canada. If cow-calf operations fail to exist as an economic model then most of the grasslands that remain will be converted to another economic model and we will not just lose a way of life but most of the remaining biodiversity that exists in Canada’s prairie region.”
– Larry Simpson, Nature Conservancy of Canada
“The beef industry relies on the grass landscape as part of its production cycle and the prairie ecosystem needs the impact of grazing in order to rejuvenate grass and plants. It’s a necessary and symbiotic relationship. When ranches disappear, we lose the grass that goes along with it.”
– Kristine Tapley, Ducks Unlimited Canada
You can eat beef and save wildlife habitat too.
Canadian ranchers and farmers are working to leave something behind for the next generation and that includes our native grasslands.