Benefits of federal community pastures on the prairies
In the wake of widespread soil erosion, during the 1930s, the federal governments passed the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) act, establishing the agency, and through it a system of community pastures in the three prairie provinces. At present, PFRA operates 87 such pastures. The major motivation for this program was to reduce soil erosion through some careful land management practices, thereby enabling them to be a source of summer pasture for cattle grazing. This was seen as fostering greater economic security, stability and diversification in the region. Over time, many other uses of community pastures have emerged. Although grazing and breeding function has remained prominent, many other uses have become important enough so as not be totally ignored. Some of the notable uses include: wildlife and waterfowl habitats, recreational activity, preservation of biodiversity, preservation of fragile ecosystems, conservation of heritage sites, research activity, among others. In order to determine these uses, a survey of PFRA community pastures was undertaken during the summer of 2000. The results of this survey indicate that although grazing and breeding activities are still the major economic activities on these community pastures, the Canadian and the Prairie society benefits from these pastures in a significant manner. This study suggests that the PFRA community pastures are more than a place for farmers to leave their cattle for the summer period; they provide several benefits to local communities, and other members of the society through ecosystem functions, and other use and non-use related activities.
public and private goods
use and non-use related values
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