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Information About California's Rangelands
Ranching families own or manage more than 22 million acres
of privately-owned rangeland in California.
Combined with over 19 million acres of publicly-owned grazing land in the
state, this privately-owned ranchland provides the economic foundation for many
rural communities. Today's ranching families are adopting innovative management
practices that blend old ways with new, and protect and enhance the
environment. In short, rangelands are economic, ecological and cultural
resources that California
cannot afford to lose.
is losing its rangelands. By 2040, according to the estimate of the California
Department of Finance, the state's population will swell to more than 50
million people. Rangelands that were once home to cattle, coyotes and blue oaks
are now home to subdivisions, shopping malls and freeways, and this conversion
is accelerating. Ranchettes and large lot developments damage rangeland
ecosystems by disrupting natural water cycles and fragmenting wildlife habitat.
History of California Rangeland
In 1998, a group of innovative ranchers within the
California Cattlemen's Association founded the California Rangeland Trust.
Recognizing that the environmental health of the state's rangelands and
economic health of its rural communities are intertwined, they created an
organization to provide and promote alternate ways to safeguard rangeland
agriculture and the natural balance of its ecosystems. California Rangeland
Trust is a 501 (c)(3) and is working to permanently protect hundreds of thousands of acres of California rangeland
through agricultural conservation easements.
California Rangeland Trust works closely with landowners to
protect and enhance the environmental and economic benefits that these working
landscapes provide. Landowners can be confident that California Rangeland Trust
understands their concerns and will work with them to protect and improve the
environmental quality of their land and the economic stability of their
California Rangeland Trust uses conservation easements to
preserve the inherent benefits of the ranching industry for future generations.
An agricultural conservation easement is a voluntary, legally recorded
agreement between the landowner and California Rangeland Trust that restricts
the land to agricultural and open space uses.
Conservation easements preserve ranching for the future by
protecting the land from future development, and permanently protecting open
space and agricultural values. A conservation easement is created by the
signing of an agreement between the landowner and California Rangeland Trust or
any other qualified organization or government agency willing to accept the
Our Hopes and Dreams
In addition to providing viable conservation alternatives
directly to landowners, California Rangeland Trust participates in
collaborative efforts with other conservation organizations to gain public
support and funding for rangeland protection and stewardship enhancement.
all of the water consumed by California
residents flows over rangeland.
has shown that private lands typically provide better wildlife habitat as
the result of the private owner stewardship ethics.
or threatened species depend on rangeland for their habitat. In fact, 95
percent of all federally threatened or endangered species have some habitat
on private land.
ecological resources depend on properly managed grazing by domestic
livestock for their continued viability.
ranching families are adopting innovative management practices that blend
time-tested management methods with new innovative approaches, which
benefit both livestock and wildlife.
owned ranches remain on the tax rolls, providing tax income to the local
- It is
less expensive to acquire conservation easements than for a state or local
entity to acquire fee title – the cost per acre for an easement is a
fraction of the fee value.
managed land is less expensive to the public, and through conservation
can be assured land will remain as open space.
rolling oak savannahs that symbolize California are largely family-owned
majority of California's
ranches are multi-generational family operations. Many have been in
existence for over a hundred years and are operated by fourth and fifth
sites dating to Native American populations and early European settlers
have remained untouched on rangelands due to the protection of private