The Only Organization Working Exclusively to Conserve and Restore

California's Native Grasslands


CNGA is a signatory on the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition's Rangeland Resolution. We recognize the critical importance of California’s rangelands, which support important ecosystems and other natural resources and are the foundation of the ranching industry.

"Take half, leave half" standard for defoliation by grazing and  for fire breaks to lower impact to below-ground roots, nutrient-cycling, and regrowth of plants, especially our remaining and very important native plants, is supported by this paper.

Crider, FJ. 1955. Root-Growth Stoppage Resulting from Defoliation of Grass. Technical Bulletin No. 1102. USDA. Washington D.C. February 1955.

From Summary: Removals during the growing season of half or more of the foliage of grasses—cool-and warm-season species including bunch, rhizomatous, and stoloniferous types—caused root growth to stop for a time after each removal, with one exception. The exception was orchard-grass (Dactylis glomerata) after the first clipping.

Field Guide for Common California Rangeland and Pasture Plants 2016, with forage information on both natives and non-natives

Point Blue Conservation Science Tools & Guidance: Farming and Ranching 

  • Resource Portal for Prescribed Grazing and Soil Health
  • Ranch Management Tools

Livestock grazing supports native plants and songbirds in a California annual grassland. PLoS ONE 12(6), 2017: By Sasha Gennet, Erica Spotswood, Michele Hammond, James W. Bartolome.  An 8-year study in central California finds livestock grazing can be compatible with or support grassland bird conservation. --Michele Hammond is a current serving on the CNGA Board of Directors.  

Ranchers "should increase the diversity on their pastures and avoid monocultures, especially of perennial ryegrass," -Jochen Krauss.

Vikuk V, CA Young, ST Lee, P Nagabhyru, M Krischke, MJ Mueller, J Krauss. 2019. Infection Rates and Alkaloid Patterns of Different Grass Species with Systemic Epichlo√ę Endophytes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology Aug 2019, 85 (17) e00465-19; DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00465-19

James W. Bartolome, Barbara H. Allen-Diaz, Sheila Barry, Lawrence D. Ford, Michele Hammond, Peter Hopkinson, Felix Ratcliff, Sheri Spiegal, and Michael D. White "Grazing for Biodiversity in Californian Mediterranean Grasslands," Rangelands 36(5), 36-43, (1 October 2014).

Smith LS, S Panslasigui, E Spotswood 2020. Livestock grazing and its effects on ecosystem structure, processes, and conservation. San Francisco Estuary Institute Publication #1011.

Statistical Consideration for Monitoring California Annual Rangelands

Larsen R, JG Robins, KB Jensen, M Shapero, K Striby, L Althouse, M George, M Horney, D  Rao, A  Hernandez, R  Dahlgren, J  Bartolome, 2023. Statistical considerations of using the 1-ft2 quadrat for monitoring peak standing crop and residual dry matter on California annual rangelands. Rangelands 45 (5): 102-108. ISSN 0190-0528, (

Keywords: residual dry matter; peak standing crop; environmental monitoring; bare ground; quadrat

On the Ground

Peak standing crop (PSC) and residual dry matter (RDM) are the primary measures of production and grazing intensity on California's annual rangelands.

One of the most common methods of monitoring forage metrics is to clip 1-ft2 quadrats. The USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, universities, and other land managers have been using this methodology since the 1930s.

We used best linear unbiased predictors (BLUEs) to determine 95% confidence intervals for PSC and RDM. For both PSC and RDM, as the number of samples taken increased from 1 to 10, the predictive ability also significantly increased. We found no evidence of increased predictive power past 10 samples.

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