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Pasture & Range

There are approximately 107,000 acres of pasture and range land in Nevada County.  These lands provide forage for beef cattle, dairy cows, sheep, goats, horses, and other domestic livestock, as well as many species of wildlife that depend on these lands for food and cover.  Well-managed range and pasture can capture rainwater that is slowly infiltrated into the soil (helping recharge groundwater sources) and prevent overgrazing.  Overgrazing is seen as a cause of the spread of invasive species of non-native plants and weeds.  Fire is also an important regulator of range vegetation, whether set by humans or resulting from lightning.  Fires tend to reduce the abundance of woody plants and promote blooming plants including grasses, forbs, and grass-like plants.  The suppression or reduction of periodic wildfires invites the dominance of trees and shrubs to the near exclusion of grasses and forbs.
 
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