Key Functions
  • Provides advice and training on best range management practices to staff and clients.
  • Conducts rangeland health assessments.
  • Investigates potential solutions and mitigation measures to minimize impacts and capitalize on opportunities as a result of the mountain pine beetle epidemic.

Range Practices

Individual Publications

Guidelines for Recreational Use of Horses on Crown Range publication now available!

Rangeland Seeding Manual

Publication Collections

Rangeland Health Brochures

Rangeland Health Evaluations

Safety on the Range

Cattleguard Specifications

     June 2010

     Feb 2015

Best Management Practices on Crown Range in Community Watersheds

Best Management Practices on Crown Range in Community Watersheds explains the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations’ approach and considerations in managing livestock grazing on Crown range in Community Watersheds.  The Forest and Range Practices Act has an expectation that tenure holders will practice due diligence when using Crown resources.  Best Management Practices (BMP) fit within the due diligence context.

This BMP document builds on information from our Rangeland Health series of publications and on the collaborative work of Range program staff, range tenures holders, water purveyors, Water Stewardship staff, and Interior Health staff in the Okanagan-Shuswap Forest District.  It provides some context to livestock grazing in community watersheds, explains the principles of range management, summarizes the science of range management and water quality, and outlines the management practices that are feasible.  It is my expectation that these BMPs will be adopted wherever livestock graze on Crown range in Community Watersheds. 

David Borth

Director, Range Branch

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Full Publication: Best Management Practices on Crown Range in Community Watersheds [pdf, 3.2 Mb]

Rangeland Health Information

A different form of R & R - Giving the range meaningful rest and recovery after grazing

Publication Excerpt: In British Columbia, ranchers commonly graze their cattle on low to mid-elevation bunchgrass or wheatgrass-needlegrass range in early spring then move them to higher elevation pinegrass or bluejoint range, cut-blocks seeded to domestic forages and native sedge meadows in early summer, then back to native bunchgrass or wheatgrass-needlegrass range in the fall. During the spring of 2006, Range Program staff evaluated 42 representative spring turn-out pastures ranging from the south Okanagan to the Peace River. We selected these areas because of their long histories of cattle grazing and planned grazing systems. We focused on true grassland and grassland-shrub communities. The healthiest and highest producing native turn-out pastures had planned rest as part of their grazing rotation.

Full Publication: A different form of R & R [pdf, 1.6 Mb]

The Four Principles of Range Management

Publication Excerpt: Range Branch evaluations over the years have shown that we must never forget the basics. There are four basic principles of range management that have stood the test of time. When they are followed, there are good outcomes; when they are ignored the results are predictable and bad.
What are the principles?

1.Distribute livestock over the range.
2.Graze to the right use level.
3.Allow enough rest during the growing season.
4.Graze at the right time (and for the right duration).

Full Publication: The Four Principles of Range Management [pdf, 819 kb]

Water quality and livestock grazing on Crown rangeland in British Columbia

Abstract: Livestock grazing has a long history in British Columbia dating back to the 1860s. On Crown range, grazing is authorized under the Range Act and regulated by the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). In much of British Columbia, livestock are everywhere on the landscape and have a legal right to be there. British Columbia is unique in the relatively small percentage of land that is privately owned. This means that access to provincial Crown land is necessary for both the beef cattle and forest industries and also for recreationists.

Full Publication: Water quality and livestock grazing on Crown rangeland in British Columbia [pdf, 372 kb]

Determining Range Readiness and Growing Degree-Days (GDDs)

Abstract: Researchers in North Dakota have correlated leaf-stage development with growing degree-days (GDDs) in several native and introduced grass species. Their findings allow range managers with large districts to supplement field observations with mean daily temperature data from local weather stations to determine when various spring "turnout" pastures will be ready for grazing in a given year. In this document this process has been modified for British Columbia.

Full Publication: Determining Range Readiness and Growing Degree-Days (GDDs) [pdf, 3.3Mb]

Related Data: Interactive Growing Degree Day Excel Spreadsheet [Excel, 49Kb]

Range Resources Assessment Procedures

Abstract: This document gives instructions on how to assess the health of upland and riparian areas.

The overall objectives for range management are:

  • to maintain healthy functioning riparian and upland systems
  • to restore and maintain desired plant communities through proper management
  • to ensure that there will be no net loss of native species
  • to allow safe levels of use

Publication Excerpt: The range use plan identifies how range will be managed to achieve goals related to production, biodiversity, and integrated resource management. The initial range use plan and management prescription is developed from an interpretation of baseline information and records of historic use. Follow-up monitoring is required to evaluate the effectiveness of the management prescription and tenure holder compliance.

Full Publication: Range Resources Assessment Procedures [pdf, 1.4Mb]

Assessing Upland & Riparian Areas

Publication Excerpt: Uplands often comprise more than 99% of the watershed’s area, with the floodplain and stream channel making up the rest. Uplands are associated with lowlands through the flow of water, either overland or through the soil. Vegetation slows the flow of water in the uplands so that it infiltrates the soil.

Full Publication: Assessing Upland & Riparian Areas [pdf, 836Kb]

Arriving at Remedial Measures

Publication Excerpt: Managers and field personnel need meaningful and readily accessible information to address problems on upland and riparian ranges. They may also find a decision-making model to be of special merit in choosing among the many tools available for rehabilitating rangeland. The Ministry of Forests has provided this brochure as an educational resource for technicians, agrologists, and range officers, as well as related administrative staff.

Full Publication: Arriving at Remedial Measures [pdf, 495Kb]

Understanding Ecosystem Processes

Publication Excerpt: As the Forest Practices Code is implemented, the range resources of the province are being assessed and managed to achieve broad land use goals. One of these goals is to assure that Crown range is utilized properly to maintain or improve all resource values. This brochure will help you gain an understanding of ecosystem processes and how they operate in upland and riparian range at Properly Functioning Condition (PFC).

Full Publication: Understanding Ecosystem Processes [pdf, 474Kb]

Considering Tools for Remediation

Publication Excerpt: This brochure reviews tools available to the resource manager for upland and riparian remediation. Their nature, applicability, general usefulness, and limitations will be briefly discussed.

Full Publication: Considering Tools for Remediation [pdf, 555Kb]

Using Range Readiness Criteria

Publication Excerpt: Range use plans (RUPs), required for all Range Act agreements on Crown range, were changed substantially in 2003. Many plans will now have references to range readiness criteria, average stubble heights, and browse utilization. This brochure discusses the concept of range readiness and the use of criteria to indicate appropriate grazing times. Assessing the leaf development of common grasses is recommended as the most useful indicator of range readiness.

Full Publication: Using Range Readiness Criteria [pdf, 766Kb]

Applying Best Stubble Height on Rangelands

Publication Excerpt: Key areas may be selected to monitor use levels (stubble height and browse utilization) to help determine when livestock should be moved to a new pasture to prevent over-use. This is especially applicable in riparian areas, where livestock use is often heavier than in adjacent uplands, or on forested cutblocks, where proper use levels and distribution are necessary to prevent damage to young conifer seedlings.

Full Publication: Applying Best Stubble Height on Rangelands [pdf, 1.4Mb]

Determining Available Forage

Publication Excerpt: The following is a simple procedure to determine available forage without the need to oven-dry forage samples.

Full Publication: Determining Available Forage [pdf, 513Kb]

Factors Influencing Livestock Behaviour and Performance

Publication Excerpt: Grazing animals are selective in their eating, and this dietary selection is modified by plant morphology (thorns, thick cuticle, etc.), the presence of secondary compounds, and past experiences. Palatability, preference, and species differences play a role in determining which forages are selected preferentially, secondarily, or not at all.

Full Publication: Factors Influencing Livestock Behaviour and Performance [pdf, 1.3Mb]

A Methodology for Monitoring Crown Range

Publication Excerpt: Monitoring is the collection and analysis of repeated measurements or
observations to assess changes in condition, to assess progress towards
a management objective, or to support management change or continuation.
On rangelands, monitoring is a management tool that assists in
assessing the effects of management practices and/or environmental
variation over time.

Full Publication: A Methodology for Monitoring Crown Range [pdf, 1.3Mb]

Rangeland Health Field Guide

Publication Excerpt: This guide is intended for field use and to supplement the Ministry of Forests and Range training courses in rangeland monitoring, rangeland assessments, designing remedial measures, rangeland soils, and grass identification. It is modified from the Ministry of Forests and Range Rangeland Health series of brochures available at

Full Publication: Rangeland Health Field Guide [pdf, 1.3Mb]