Grasslands are one of the least protected types of ecosystem in the world. Because of that, managed blocks of rangelend such as the PFRA community pastures offer unparalleled research opportunities. D.V. Gayton has this to say:
“Many observers of Saskatchewan rangelands consider the resource to be in deteriorating condition. The gradual loss of native rangeland base and the increased grazing pressure may provide an explanation for this perceived deterioration.”
“All components of this simple grain-beef system model are all flexible and reversible, except the native rangeland category. John Dormaar and Silver Smoliak, scientists at Agriculture Canada’s Lethbridge (Alberta) Research Station, determined the time lag between grainland abandonment and full return to original prairie vegetation to be in excess of 55 ears. (Dormer and Smoliak 1985).”
“Governments are the major landlords of range in western North America, and Saskatchewan is no exception. Many of these same government agencies do not collect sufficient data to determine land use, grazing and range vegetation trends. Databases that eliminate inaccuracies and track the key parameter (native and cultivated grazing area, cow numbers, cow weights and grazing duration) should be created and maintained, for both local and regional jurisdictions. These databases should be linked directly to a program of routine range condition analysis (generic term intended) so the connection between grazing manipulation and vegetation impact can be empirically derived. ”
“In an era of increasing public scrutiny, government range managers must find the means to acquire land use, grazing and vegetation data, link it together in empirical monitoring systems, and begin to set a publicly defensible standard of resource management excellence.”
Gayton, D. V. (1991). “Grazing pressure on Saskatchewan Rangelands.” Rangelands 13(3):107-108.