Pasture & Range Health
Private and Crown rangelands are used for forage for livestock like cattle, sheep and horses. About 80 percent of rangeland in B.C. is on Crown land. The rest is privately owned. Farmers and ranchers must have a lease or licence to cut hay or graze livestock on Crown rangelands and follow a rangeland management plan.
B.C. ranchers commonly graze their cattle on low- to mid-elevation bunchgrass or wheatgrass-needlegrass range in early spring. They then move the cattle to higher elevation pinegrass or bluejoint range, cut-blocks seeded to domestic forages and native sedge meadows in early summer, returning them back to native bunchgrass or wheatgrass-needlegrass range in the fall.
B.C. is unique in the relatively small percentage of land that is privately owned. This means that access to provincial Crown land is necessary for livestock grazing. Grazing is authorized on Crown rangeland under the Range Act and the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA).
Pasture and range health depend on the maintenance and balance of the soil, vegetation, water and air, as well as the ecological processes of the grazing land ecosystem that:
- Produce plant biomass including, forage for livestock and wildlife
- Maintain the soil and protect the site from erosion
- Capture and beneficially release water
- Cycle nutrients and energy
- Maintain biological diversity
- Store carbon
Farmers and ranchers support these ecological processes through due diligence, and best practices and principles of range management.
- Rangeland Seeding Manual (PDF, 23MB)
- The Four Principles of Range Management PDF)
- A Different Form of R & R (PDF, 1.6MB)
- Livestock Grazing Best Management Practices on Crown Range in Community Watersheds (PDF, 3.2MB)
- Water quality and livestock grazing on Crown rangeland in British Columbia (PDF)
- Determining Range Readiness and Growing Degree-Days (PDF, 3.3MB)
- Range Resources Assessment Procedures (PDF, 1.4MB)
- Using Range Readiness Criteria (PDF)
- Cattelguard Specification February, 2015
Rangeland Health Brochures
- Rangeland Health Field Guide (PDF, 1.3MB)
- #1: Assessing Upland & Riparian Areas (PDF)
- #2: Arriving at Remedial Measures (PDF)
- #3: Understanding Ecosystem Processes (PDF)
- #4: Considering Tools for Remediation (PDF)
- #5: Using Range Readiness Criteria (PDF)
- #6: Applying Best Stubble Height on Rangelands (PDF)
- #7Determining Available Forage (PDF)
- #8 Factors Influencing Livestock Behaviour and Performance (PDF, 1.3MB)
- #10 A Methodology for Monitoring Crown Range (PDF, 1.3MB)