• Cheatgrass Die-Offs: A Unique Restoration Opportunity in Northern Nevada

      Baughman, O. W.; Burton, R.; Williams, M.; Weisberg, P. J.; Dilts, T. E.; Leger, E. A. (Society for Range Management, 2017-12)
      The phenomenon of cheatgrass die-off is a common and naturally occurring stand failure that can eliminate the presence of this annual grass for a year or more, affecting tens of thousands of hectares in some years. We designed a study to determine if the temporary lack of cheatgrass caused by die-offs is a restoration opportunity. We seeded native perennial species at three die-offs in the Winnemucca, Nevada, area. Native grass establishment in die-offs was almost three times higher in the first season at all sites, relative to adjacent areas without die-off. Establishment was five times higher in the die-off at two sites in the second season, and plants produced dramatically more culms in the die-off at the third site in the third season. Increasing seed rates led to more seedlings establishing in both die-offs and controls, with the strongest effect in the second season. We suggest that landowners and managers consider targeting die-offs as efficient locations to focus native restoration efforts and that restoration practitioners should consider increasing seeding rates to maximize success. © 2017 The Society for Range Management
    • Cost of Removing and Assembling Biomass from Rangeland Encroaching Eastern Redcedar Trees for Industrial Use

      Ramli, N. N.; Epplin, F. M.; Boyer, T. A. (Society for Range Management, 2017-12)
      Eastern redcedar trees have encroached on Great Plains grasslands and are spreading at a glacial pace, reducing forage production, destroying native ecosystems, and producing human health harming allergens. The study was conducted to determine the expected cost to deliver a flow of feedstock to an optimal factory location for a business designed to use eastern redcedar biomass harvested from grasslands. Proportion of trees available for removal, quantity of feedstock required, harvest costs, and tree growth rate are critical factors. Assuring investors that a flow of eastern redcedar trees for industrial use would be attainable for 20 years at a reasonable cost may be challenging. © 2017 The Society for Range Management
    • Improving Seeding Success on Cheatgrass-Infested Rangelands in Northern Nevada

      Clements, C. D.; Harmon, D. N.; Blank, R. R.; Weltz, M. (Society for Range Management, 2017-12)
      Cheatgrass has transformed secondary succession in arid sagebrush plant communities in the Great Basin by providing a fine-textured, early maturing fuel that increases the chance, rate, spread, and season of wildfires. The best known method to suppress cheatgrass densities and associated fuels is through the establishment of perennial grasses. Crested wheatgrass plots seeded the first fall following the wildfire (2006) averaged an establishment of 9.6 plants/m2 compared with plots seeded the second fall at 3.9 plants/m2. Native perennial species bluegrass and squirreltail experienced high failure rates. Over the 2-year study, un-disced cheatgrass plots averaged more than 1,350 cheatgrass seeds/m2, while plots receiving our April/May discing application averaged fewer than 250 cheatgrass seeds/m2, an 82% reduction in cheatgrass seed bank densities, which significantly improved seeded species establishment. The use of soil-active herbicides, Imazapic (Plateau) and Sulfometuron methyl (Landmark), reduced first-year cheatgrass densities by 95.6% and 98.7%, respectively. This level of cheatgrass reduction drastically improved seeded species success. The establishment of perennial grasses reduced aboveground cheatgrass densities by more than 93%, thus reducing the chance of reoccurring wildfires and improving the chance that critical browse species can return to the site and improve wildlife resources. © 2017
    • Four-wing Saltbush (Atriplex canescens) Seed and Seedling Consumption by Granivorous Rodents

      Clements, C. D.; Harmon, D. N. (Society for Range Management, 2017-12)
      Four-wing saltbush is an important browse species for wildlife and domestic livestock and has been reported to provide as much as 11.4% to 13.6% crude protein. Granivorous rodents are important in the ecology of plant communities as well as the management practices that occur in those communities. In any land management practice that involves seeding in restoration or rehabilitation efforts, land managers must be cognizant of the role that biotic and abiotic factors ultimately have on the success and failures of these efforts. Abiotic factors such as poor seed germination or lack of proper amount and periodicity of precipitation are more well understood than biotic factors such as seed and seedling predation by granivorous rodents. Granivorous rodents in this study consumed as much as 55% and 99% of the four-wing saltbush seed and seedlings, respectively. Understanding the possible effects of rodent behavior with four-wing saltbush seed and seedlings should help resource managers in their planning and implementation of future rehabilitation/restoration efforts. © 2017
    • Browsing the Literature

      Germino, M. (Society for Range Management, 2017-12)
    • Highlights

      Sheley, R. (Society for Range Management, 2017-12)
    • Testing a Remote Sensing-Based Interactive System for Monitoring Grazed Conservation Lands

      Ford, L. D.; Butterfield, H. S.; Van, Hoorn, P. A.; Allen, K. B.; Inlander, E.; Schloss, C.; Schuetzenmeister, F.; Tsalyuk, M. (Society for Range Management, 2017-10)
      Many public agencies and land trusts that manage grazing lands are interested in using remote sensing technologies to make their monitoring programs more efficient but lack the expertise to do so. In California annual grasslands, using remote sensing is especially challenging because the dominant vegetation is not detectable by standard technologies at a key time of year for monitoring. The Nature Conservancy of California (TNC) has developed RDMapper, an easy-to-use web-based tool that uses satellite-based productivity estimates, rainfall records, and compliance history to identify management units at risk of being below the required level of residual dry matter (RDM). TNC successfully used RDMapper in 2015 and 2016 to predict compliance across approximately 47,000 hectares of conservation easement grasslands, while reducing monitoring costs by 42%. We also applied RDMapper on six non-TNC properties (approximately 5,700 hectares) owned by two public agencies. We correctly predicted RDM compliance on 74% of the management units and found the method to be successful overall, with several challenges mainly relating to meeting RDMapper's data requirements. Our study illuminated potential benefits, hurdles, and best practices for landowners interested in using RDMapper to increase monitoring efficiency, and made recommendations to improve it. Adding RDMapper to conventional monitoring toolkits could be game-changing for public lands management agencies that currently struggle to manage vast grasslands. © 2017 The Society for Range Management
    • Mapping the Potential for Hay Making in Rangelands: A Methodological Proposition

      Makuma-Massa, H.; Bemigisha, J.; Kyasimire, B.; Nyiramahoro, E.; Begumana, J.; Mugerwa, S.; Egeru, A.; Cho, M. (Society for Range Management, 2017-10)
      We present information useful to various stakeholders, including land managers, agency personnel, practitioners, and researchers, as it presents methodology for ○ Determining the best period for hay harvest corresponding to peak productivity of the vegetation in rangelands;○ Estimating the amount of hay available (biomass) at peak productivity, using commonly available satellite imagery; and○ Highlighting the best areas for hay production based on grassland availability. All of this is done by employing the readily available tools of remote sensing and geographical information system. © 2017 The Society for Range Management
    • Evaluating an On-Ranch Rangeland Monitoring Program in Nebraska

      Stephenson, M. B.; Wilmer, H.; Bolze, R.; Schiltz, B. (Society for Range Management, 2017-10)
      Rangeland monitoring is an important component of rangeland management. The Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition developed a rangeland monitoring program (RMP) in 2009 to assist livestock producers in monitoring rangelands on their ranches. Determining rangeland condition and fulfilling a requirement for conservation incentive programs were the most important reasons livestock producers participated in the RMP. Eighty-seven percent of survey participants indicated they had continued monitoring following the RMP and many indicated they had made management changes to their ranches. Monitoring is an important part of the adaptive management feedback loop. The RMP provided a resource to train producers in monitoring techniques. More tools to interpret monitoring data and increased follow-up by technicians may help producers better utilize their monitoring data. © 2017 The Society for Range Management
    • Highlights

      Sheley, R. (Society for Range Management, 2017-10)
    • Coping Strategies During Drought: The Case of Rangeland Users in Southwest Iran

      Farimani, S. M.; Raufirad, V.; Hunter, R.; Lebailly, P. (Society for Range Management, 2017-10)
      This study assesses the drought coping strategies of rangeland users (RUs) in Fars province in southwest Iran. Our findings reveal that in the RUs’ experience, the most effective drought coping strategies include reducing stocking rates and the gradual reduction of inefficient, old, and sick livestock. The data also indicate that RUs promote rangeland resilience during a drought through range protection/exclosures, seeding, and broadcast seeding. This study therefore suggests that the indigenous knowledge of RUs could improve existing training and extension programs by providing localized environmental contexts for developing coping strategies before, during, and after drought. © 2017 The Society for Range Management
    • Enhancing Wind Erosion Monitoring and Assessment for U.S. Rangelands

      Webb, N. P.; Van, Zee, J.; Karl, J. W.; Herrick, J. E.; Courtright, E. M.; Billings, B. J.; Boyd, R.; Chappell, A.; Duniway, M. C.; Derner, J. D.; et al. (Society for Range Management, 2017-06)
      Wind erosion is a major resource concern for rangeland managers because it can impact soil health, ecosystem structure and function, hydrologic processes, agricultural production, and air quality. Despite its significance, little is known about which landscapes are eroding, by how much, and when. The National Wind Erosion Research Network was established in 2014 to develop tools for monitoring and assessing wind erosion and dust emissions across the United States. The Network, currently consisting of 13 sites, creates opportunities to enhance existing rangeland soil, vegetation, and air quality monitoring programs. Decision-support tools developed by the Network will improve the prediction and management of wind erosion across rangeland ecosystems. © 2017 The Author(s)
    • Upland Water and Deferred Rotation Effects on Cattle Use in Riparian and Upland Areas

      Carter, J.; Catlin, J. C.; Hurwitz, N.; Jones, A. L.; Ratner, J. (Society for Range Management, 2017-06)
      Our experience shows that land management agencies rely on upland water and deferred rotation grazing systems to reduce riparian use and improve conditions, rather than addressing stocking rate and requiring herding of cattle. Range scientists have published studies showing that cattle prefer to linger in riparian areas and that stocking rate is more important than grazing system. We collected 4 years of data on upland and riparian residual vegetation, riparian stubble height, and bank alteration prior to implementation of the upland water developments and deferred rotation scheme and compared that with 4 years of data collected after implementation. As a result of this change in management, post-grazing riparian stubble heights decreased; bank alteration was unchanged; upland residual grasses were reduced; there was no change in residual herbaceous vegetation in the riparian zone; and utilization remained excessive in both upland and riparian areas. Range science shows that to reverse this outcome and improve conditions, changes must be made. These include o setting stocking rates based on currently available preferred forage species and today's consumption rates of livestock,o enforcing utilization rates of less than 30% in upland and riparian areas,o enforcing riparian stubble heights of > 15.2 cm across the aquatic influence zone and floodplain,o enforcing bank alteration levels of < 20%,o using riders to limit riparian use and distribute livestock, ando providing rest, not deferment, so that sensitive native grasses recover vigor and productivity prior to being grazed again. © 2017 The Authors
    • Highlights

      Society for Range Management, 2017-06
    • Editorial Changes at Rangelands

      Karl, J. W.; Levi, E.; Hidinger, L.; Brown, J.; Dobrowolski, J. (Society for Range Management, 2017-06)
    • Case Study: Using Soil Survey to Help Predict Sonoran Desert Tortoise Population Distribution and Densities

      Stager, R. D.; Roundy, E.; Brackley, G.; Leonard, S.; Lato, L. (Society for Range Management, 2017-06)
      Soils properties can affect the ability of an animal to dig burrows for habitat and survival purposes. The Sonoran (Gopherus morafkai) and Mojave Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) require burrows that are at least 20 inches deep to help them thermoregulate during the cold of winter and heat of summer. Soils that have characteristics that restrict their “digability” would be expected to limit the population density and distribution of animals such as the Sonoran or the Mojave Desert Tortoise regardless of the amount of forage vegetation being produced. The Sonoran Desert Tortoise in Mohave County, Arizona, and possibly throughout its range may seek “habitats of opportunity” within boulder piles, under exposed bedrock, and in caliche caves due to the limited “digability” of the soils endemic to this part of the Sonoran Desert. The natural availability of thermoregulating burrowing habitat and temperature/precipitation records should be considered when interpreting any fluctuations in Sonoran Desert Tortoise population densities. © 2017 The Society for Range Management