Ranchers vs Environmentalists” is a longstanding trope. But in the Sunshine State, ranching just may be the last, best hope for ecological salvation

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…Durando, the rancher who helped start the Florida Conservation Group with Strickland, says that managing his land for wildlife also benefits his cows. For example, when he burns to clear brush, high protein grass grows up that benefits his cattle as well as quail, turkeys, and deer that eat it—and opens up the landscape for such species as the endangered Florida grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus). Durando maintains one of the last best patches of the sparrow’s preferred dry prairie. “The sparrow likes things pretty clean,” he says, in order to spot potential predators. “I just felt that if we could help this little guy survive, I want to be a part of that.” His goal for the rest of his life, he says, “is to try to keep central Florida from being developed. But I can’t fault a family that needs to sell…”
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