Buffalo Repopulation Plan Irks Cattle Ranchers

Plans to buy up land in the Great Plains and repopulate them with pre-settlement species such as buffalo have many cattle ranchers on edge. But proponents say these species are meant to be there -- in both an economical and and ecological sense.

"Twenty years ago, academics Frank and Deborah Popper wrote what they thought would be a little-noticed, four page article subtitled A Daring Proposal for Dealing with an Inevitable Disaster, which argued that current agricultural use of much of the Great Plains is simply not sustainable. They advocated for a 'Buffalo Commons,' a return of large tracts of land back to native species, including buffalo, and a revisioned economy that encouraged ecotourism. To the Poppers' surprise, their conclusions ignited a firestorm among residents, who labelled the Poppers as East Coast heretics. But over the past two decades, the couple's predictions have seemed more and more prophetic. Plains states have suffered dramatic population loss, and families have sold or even abandoned farms and cattle ranches through the region. The situation is particularly difficult in northeastern Montana, where Long Haul spoke with lifelong residents about a current plan very similar in spirit to the one the Poppers proposed in 1987. There, outsiders are purchasing large tracts of land with plans to reintroduce thousands of bison and other native species, restoring a pre-settlement landscape. Most residents don't welcome the change – and those that embrace it, like South Dakotan Sam Hurst, are being forced to sell before their buffalo dreams can become reality."

Full Story: Buffalo Commons


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95
Red necktie with map of Boston

Tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.