North America's grasslands are among the most imperiled ecosystems in the world. America’s grassland birds have declined more than any other bird group in the continent, some species by as much as 80 percent. Because the vast majority breed on private lands, working with ranchers is our best hope for conserving them. Audubon's Conservation Ranching Initiative seeks to enhance biodiversity through our certification, technical assistance, and habitat management on working ranches.
Benefits to Birds
To save rangeland birds, we’re enlisting and assisting America’s ranchers—the stewards of our remaining grassland landscapes—in implementing conservation ranching practices on millions of acres. We’re working with them to develop Habitat Management Plans that implement regenerative grazing and other bird conservation practices, such as controlling invasive species and native plant seeding.
By mimicking America’s historic bison herds, regenerative grazing invigorates diverse plant communities and supports nutrient cycles that rebuild soil and conserve water. It even has potential to remove carbon from the atmosphere and add it to the soil. We measure the effectiveness of these practices by monitoring bird diversity and abundance, vegetation change, and soil health.
Benefits to Consumers
Meat from Audubon-certified land is hormone and antibiotic-free, ethically raised, and delicious. Supporting Audubon-certified ranches is better for rangeland birds and better for the land. Our certification seal—found on high-quality meat products—empowers consumers to support ranches that benefit grassland birds and their habitat.
Benefits to Ranchers
Audubon's certification can add value to meat products and provides a unique opportunity for ranchers to showcase their excellent management practices. This helps them care for their families and provides exceptional habitat for wildlife. By first listening to the ranching community, trusting in their knowledge of sustainable land management, and learning from their resiliency in a volatile marketplace, we are ensuring that our strategies and solutions will benefit both people and nature. Buying meat from Audubon-certified lands supports rural economies and the ranching way of life.
We thank the NRCS USDA for their support.