Rangeland Land-Sharing, Livestock Grazing’s Role in the Conservation of Imperiled Species

A review of USFWS listing documents for threatened and endangered species in California provides an opportunity to understand the relationship between livestock grazing and species conservation. Based on these documents, 51%, of the federally listed animal and plant species in California are found in habitats with grazing. Livestock grazing is a stated threat to 73% of the species sharing habitat with livestock, but 59% of the species are said to be positively influenced, with considerable overlap between species both threatened and benefitting from grazing.

Grazing is credited with benefiting flowering plants, mammals, insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish, crustaceans, and bird species by managing the state’s novel vegetation and providing and maintaining habitat structure and ecosystem functions.