A number of articles and opinions on livestock grazing in North America and its impact on biodiversity have appeared in Conservation Biology over the last 2 years. These discussions have a tendency to delineate the issue as a simple choice for conservationists between the lesser of two evils. Wuerthner (1994) c o u c h e d the argument as a discussion of w h i c h would destroy more biodiversity, rural subdivisions or livestock grazing and other forms of agriculture. He believes that subdivisions are less destructive. Knight et al. (1995) argued that livestock production and farming are less damaging to biodiversity than subdivisions. Curtin (1995) seemed to split the difference, preferring "low tech farming methods such as rotational grazing" to the "mechanization of agriculture and the relentless urbanization of the landscape." Implied in this dichotomy is the "ranching versus agribusiness and urbanization" argument, in w h i c h it is thought that wildiands and open space will be best conserved by family farmers and not urbanites and their commercial interests. In the latest contribution to this discussion, Brown and McDonald (1995) continue with this line of reasoning, defming the issue as pastoralism versus subdivisions,
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1996
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