Foraging for Healthy Ecosystems
We are the Hawaii Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative. We’re a grassroots organization providing guidance and leadership in the pursuit of grazing land conservation throughout the islands.
Who we are? The Hawaii Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) is a partnership of graziers from Hawaii’s beef, dairy, sheep and goat industries committed to furthering the grazing industry’s contribution to natural resource and ecosystem conservation. GLCI promotes the sound management and skillful use of grazing land resources in Hawaii.
Why we exist: Privately owned grazing lands are a national and statewide treasure. In Hawaii, they represent approximately 25 percent of the total land mass, offering benefits and values that make them extremely important, not only to the landowners, but to the entire State. Historical use and management of grazing lands long occurred without the benefit of grazing land science as we know it today. As a result, there are now more potential conflicts than ever before on private grazing lands. We are at risk of losing our grazing lands, and, with them, the values they provide. GLCI is part of a national initiative to assure the sustainability of private grazing lands by focusing on the environmental, cultural, and economic ecosystem services they provide.
What we do: GLCI seeks to work with landowners to enhance grazing lands for future use and to inform the public of the reasons behind making such a national commitment and investment. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is one of the primary players in the initiative. NRCS is the technical agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, providing assistance to conservation districts and individuals in planning and carrying out conservation activities. NRCS also assists with public awareness activities to inform the public on the values and benefits of private grazing lands. The Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Inc. and Hawaii Sheep & Goat Association are vital to the life of this initiative, and their members help lead this grassroots effort to conserve and sustain grazing land resources in Hawaii.
Summary of the ecosystem services provided by grazing lands:
- Carbon Sequestration.
- Open, scenic space.
- The recharge of aquifers.
- Soil health.
- Erosion and sedimentation control.
- Habitat and wildlife conservation.
- Invasive species control.
- Reduction of the risk of wildfires.
- Food safety and security.
- Flavorful, healthful food.
- Community participation.
- Agritourism and ecotourism.
- Preservation of historical and cultural heritage values.
- Economic, educational, and cultural resources for future generations.
- Scientific Research.