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Livestock-wildlife conflicts: A struggle for land use and conservation in the U.S. Mountain West

By: J. Bret Taylor, Hailey Wilmer

Livestock production in the Intermountain West of the United States (U.S.) largely depends on grazing access to U.S. government-owned “public lands”, which also provide habitat for many of North American’s iconic wildlife species. Livestock producers have demonstrated dynamic capability to coexist with wildlife on the grazing landscape. Nevertheless, some wildlife-focused paradigms explicitly exclude livestock grazing on all public lands, claiming livestock-wildlife conflicts devastate wildlife conservation efforts. Unfortunately, in the debate surrounding public land use and wildlife-livestock conflicts, a common foe to all – climate change – is somewhat overlooked. Accordingly, opposing groups must collectively work towards developing agroecological solutions that perpetuate resilient, multi-use rangelands in U.S. Mountain West.