UNL researcher says Sandhill blowouts are ‘management success’


UNL researcher says Sandhill blowouts are ‘management success’

A University of Nebraska professor says conservation techniques used by ranchers are saving the world’s largest intact grasslands.

Craig Allen says over several decades the Sandhills are becoming more resilient. “It is always very amazing to me how well the stocking rates in the Sandhills are kept quite a bit low what could be done with vegetation for the purposes of maintaining that vegetation and maintaining the Sandhills as a sandy landscape and not as a blowout,” he says.

He says blowouts, areas where rapid wind erodes the sand creating a hole in the surface to the landscape, are becoming more manageable through proper grazing and restoration work. “The blowout pension is nearly extinct in the wild because of the lack of its blowout habitat,” Allen says. “We’ve been so good at controlling blowouts that the one plant species that requires blowouts is nearly extinct.”

Allen says the current threat to the Sandhills are eastern red cedar trees.

Allen is the director for UNL’s Center for Resilience in Agriculture Working Landscapes that is fully operational.