WASHINGTON, DC—During the last two weeks of July, the International Programs office hosted 19 individuals from 12 countries in Idaho and Nevada for the annual International Seminar on Livestock Grazing Management. Lance Criley, rangeland management specialist, Cleveland National Forest, provided his expertise for the duration of the seminar. Participants also spent time with representatives from Sawtooth National Forest and from other agencies. The seminar offered an opportunity for participants to learn valuable lessons from the evolution of the Forest Service’s range management practices over the course of the agency’s history.
For many participants, the seminar provided a completely new perspective, challenging them to think about rangeland management not simply in terms of counting and adjusting numbers of livestock, but rather to think first in terms of more sustainable management of vegetation. Through field visits, facilitated discussion, classroom instruction and the exchange of better management practices with a wide range of stakeholders, the seminar exposed participants to cutting edge planning and assessment tools and various techniques used to address rangeland restoration and livestock management.
Importantly, the seminar was facilitated in such a way so as to foster an exchange of ideas among participants and to expand their professional networks. By bringing in individual experiences from far-flung places, participants added significant depth to discussions around community engagement and the importance of using rangeland management strategies that consider stakeholder interests and local land use practices to improve local livelihoods. At the conclusion of the seminar, participants developed strategies and action plans for at-home application of information and practices shared during the seminar. The International Programs office will follow up with participants in the coming months and years and to explore how the Forest Service can further bring the agency’s expertise to bear in support of efforts to improve rangeland management practices overseas.