Cattle ranching for birds: a song for sustainability

The new Sustainable Cattle Ranching Playbook recently launched by Audubon Americas shares the ancient and vital connection of people and birds, and best practices to boost productivity while helping birds.

This Fall, Audubon Americas launched the Sustainable Cattle Ranching Playbook, an illustrative publication for producers to showcase how cattle ranching can boost productivity while helping birds. 

The playbook shares best practices and information that, although showcased in Colombia, can be used in almost any farm in Latin America and the Caribbean, regions where the transition to sustainable cattle ranching practices is urgently needed to stop deforestation, land exhaustion, and overall environmental degradation. 

Cattle ranching for birds: a song for sustainability invites ranchers to use birds and their needs as a navigation route when planning for their farms. We propose using silvopastoral systems –which introduce trees and bushes into pastures – to enhance bird habitat in cattle farms and promote connectivity across natural ecosystems in productive landscapes.

The playbook has five chapters and infographics that summarize essential information. It addresses people’s connection with birds, sustainable cattle ranching data, and implementation. Also, practices that can be used in the farms, planning for birds and productivity, and how to start birdwatching to have fun and monitor changes in the farms.

cover of document shows a cow seated and a grey and white bird standing on its back. the cover reads Ganaderia Para Las Aves, Un Canto A La Sostenibilidad

Download the playbook here

An editorial milestone for Audubon America, the playbook is also a much-needed text. Although cattle ranching is the most significant agricultural threat to biodiversity in the region, it is also a sector that provides a real opportunity for rapid progress. Silvopasture systems incorporate trees and shrubs into pastureland, providing bird habitat and improving connectivity in landscapes fragmented by ranching. By incorporating bird-friendly flora into ranch lands and reducing chemical use, we can protect wildlife, soil, and water while improving farmers’ productivity and profitability.

Audubon Americas is also working with farmers and partners to incorporate nature-based adaptations into cropland. For example, innovative rotation systems for sugarcane and rice crops create intermittent wetlands that provide bird habitats, mitigate flooding, boost biodiversity, and increase farm productivity.

Along Latin America and the Caribbean, Audubon aims to work with landowners, community leaders, protected-area managers, environmental authorities, and local NGOs to expand knowledge and use of these bird-friendly practices.

If you are interested or need more information, please send an email to