Thursday, February 7, 2008

Returning Bison to the Prairies

Even as agribusiness corporations are acquiring more and more land from which more and more profits can be squeezed in the short term, there are some who are acquiring land with more sustainable business models in mind.

One such pioneer is famed media mogul and naturalist Ted Turner. When I met him in New York recently, we discussed his vision. In Nebraska alone, Ted owns five ranches that cover nearly 388,000 acres (about 600 square miles). Ted aims to "manage his lands in an economically sustainable and ecologically sensitive manner while promoting the conservation of native species." The implementation of these objectives is proving, on all his ranches, that ranching along with limited, sustainable timber harvesting and recreational opportunities can be economically viable.

Diet Start

Ted Turner has also dedicated significant resources to rebuilding the natural ecology of his properties. The prairie has been revitalized and wetlands, once drained for hay production, have been restored. The bison graze on natural prairie grasses and other native wildlife is protected. In all, Ted Turner has acquired a total of two million acres of land in the U.S. and has focused his conservation efforts on nearly two dozen wild animal species—many of which are listed as threatened, endangered, or on the brink of extinction. He has thus demonstrated to the farming community that it is possible to make a profit from ranching while, at the same time, restoring and preserving the beauty of the prairies. What a great example of a highly successful businessman who is using his wealth to make this a better world.

... andjoyohoxing