Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The loss of quality grazing land for cattle and suitable habitat for wildlife due to the cycle of increasing wildfire frequency and exotic annual grass invasion is a major concern for ranchers and land managers. 

There is uncertainty as to how cattle grazing affects the outcomes of post-fire restoration efforts like seeding. USGS researchers developed a method for predicting the influence of anthropogenic and environmental features on variation in cattle grazing. The authors found that cattle use increased on flatter ground, closer to water, and at higher elevations. Restoration planning may benefit from considering maps of high, medium, and low cattle use areas, recognizing that investments in treatments such as perennial grass seeding may be subject to greater grazing pressure on flatter areas near water. 

Anthony, C.R., and Germino, M.J., 2022, Predictive models of selective cattle use of large, burned landscapes- primacy of topography, proximity to water, and unexplained variation in semiarid sagebrush-steppe: Rangeland Ecology and Management, v. 85.