• Evolving Management Paradigms on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lands in the Prairie Pothole Region

      Dixon, C.; Vacek, S.; Grant, T. (Society for Range Management, 2019-02)
      The US Fish and Wildlife Service manages nearly 1 million acres of wetlands and grasslands in the Prairie Pothole Region. Initial management paradigms focused on nesting cover for waterfowl and other birds, which led to idling prairies, and seeding former croplands to non-native plants. Current paradigms encompass a broader focus on ecological integrity and biological diversity, resulting in increased defoliation of prairies and seeding former croplands to native plants.
    • Challenges Facing Grasslands inthe Northern Great Plains and North Central Region

      Hendrickson, J.R.; Sedivec, K.K.; Toledo, D.; Printz, J. (Society for Range Management, 2019-02)
      Grasslands in the Northern Great Plains and North Central Region are diverse, highly productive, and remarkably resilient. Despite these advantages, these grasslands are being threatened by land use change, invasive species, and loss of biodiversity, as well as being presented with new challenges in how to manage for threatened and endangered species. Between 2008 and 2012, approximately 2.3 million hectares of grasslands were converted to crop production, while on the remaining grasslands, invasions of perennial cool-season grasses have altered the forage cycle, reduced diversity, and negatively impacted pollinator habitat. However, the high forage quality and productivity of the grasslands in the area suggest that there are opportunities to address these challenges. Maintaining ranchers on the landscape to keep grasslands intact is a critical component in realizing these opportunities; therefore, efforts to maintain grasslands in the region need to focus on producer profitability.
    • Overview of the Historic and Current Vegetation Near the 100th Meridian in North Central United States

      Lura, C.; Printz, J.; Hendrickson, J.R. (Society for Range Management, 2019-02)
      The Northern Great Plains contains a diverse group of vegetative communities, primarily dominated by grassland communities. Precipitation declines along an east-west gradient, ranging from 27.4 inches at Detroit Lakes, Minnesota to 12.4 inches at Miles City, Montana, and productivity follows a similar decline. Precipitation falls primarily during the growing season, which combined with the lower mean annual temperature results in productive, high-quality, cool-season dominated grasslands. Although the region is primarily dominated by areas of tallgrass, midgrass, and shortgrass prairie, there are outcrops of limber (Pinus flexilis) and ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa) along the Little Missouri River and stands of quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) in the Turtle Mountains. Besides climate and soils, fire, drought, and grazing have also contributed to the rich diversity of communities in the region. Recent invasions of perennial cool-season grasses are threatening historic plant communities; whether these invasions can be reversed and altered environmental services restored are the primary questions facing grassland managers.
    • Ecosystem Services Provided by Prairie Wetlands in Northern Rangelands

      Carter Johnson, W. (Society for Range Management, 2019-02)
      Wetlands add significant ecosystem services to rangeland. These services include: sediment capture; groundwater recharge and discharge; stock water processing and purification; habitat and forage for plants and animals, including livestock; and climate protection via carbon storage. Services from wetlands occur at multiple scales, from local to global. These services are lost when wetlands are permanently drained. Strategic management of wetlands in rangeland can sustain most services, diversify and improve ranch income, lower the costs of livestock production, and provide benefits to society beyond the ranch boundary.
    • Browsing the Literature

      Germino, M. (Society for Range Management, 2019-02)
    • Editors Choice from Rangeland Ecology and Management

      Sheley, R. (Society for Range Management, 2019-02)
    • Are Landowners, Managers, and Range Management Academics on the Same Page About Conservation?

      Aoyama, L.; Huntsinger, L. (Society for Range Management, 2019-02)
      Conservation of California rangelands hinges on partnerships among ranchers, agency and nongovernmental organization managers, and academics. A “sustainable use” perspective on conservation was predominate among ranchers, whereas a more preservation-oriented perspective was common among managers; the perspective of academics was in between the two. Conservation priorities among ranchers and managers largely overlapped, except that ranchers prioritized livestock production and ranch succession, and managers prioritized habitat protection. Land use change was a shared concern among the three groups. Opportunities for rangeland conservation included improving communication among diverse stakeholders and applying recent scientific developments to on-the-ground range management.
    • Hold Your Ground: Threats to Soil Function in Northern Great Plains Grazing Lands

      Liebig, M.A.; Toledo, D. (Society for Range Management, 2019-02)
      Many soils throughout the northern Great Plains (NGP) of North America possess attributes that support the successful delivery of multiple ecosystem services from grazing lands. Anticipated changes in climate and land use in the region, however, suggest delivery of these services could be compromised in the future because of an increase in threats to soil function. These threats include soil organic matter decline, reduced physical stability, soil erosion, compaction, localized nutrient accumulation, acidification, and salinization. Adaptive management to conserve existing soil functions in grazing lands is necessary and includes: 1) judicious management of forage resources, 2) strategic application of management to modify vegetation composition or soil conditions, and 3) use of restoration and conservation practices known to maintain vegetation cover and protect soil. Management approaches to conserve soil functions in NGP grazing lands will likely require considerable adaptive capacity by land managers. Successful application of management will require timely information about soil and vegetation conditions to guide land-use decisions.
    • A Tool for Projecting Rangeland Vegetation Response to Management and Climate

      Ford, P.L.; Reeves, M.C.; Frid, L. (Society for Range Management, 2019-02)
      New technologies may enhance management by enabling quantitative testing of assumptions of vegetation response to climate and management. State-and-transition simulation models can keep track of interactions that are too complicated for us to comprehend using only conceptual models. This tool takes conceptual state-and-transition models to the next level, fostering greater communication and dialogue with stakeholders. Based on the models and climate data used here, increased drought may enhance transitions between vegetative states. It is important to be as explicit and quantitative as possible as to how you expect vegetation states or ecosystem processes to transition between one another.
    • The Condition and Trend of Aspen, Willows, and Associated Species on the Northern Yellowstone Range

      Kay, C. E. (Society for Range Management, 2018-12)
      Aspen, willows, cottonwoods and other deciduous shrubs and trees play a pivotal role in the natural ecosystem function of the Northern Range, and they provide critical habitat for numerous species of native plants and animals. Deciduous shrubs and trees were much more abundant on the Northern Range in primeval times than they are today, especially on the portion of the Northern Range inside Yellowstone National Park. The primary cause of the declines in deciduous shrubs and trees is repeated heavy browsing by elk and bison–not normal plant succession or climatic changes - and heavy browsing is continuing to further degrade most Northern Range aspen, willow, and cottonwood plant communities inside Yellowstone National Park. Excessive browsing is occurring because modern-day management has allowed bison and elk populations to become unnaturally large. Current policy directs the National Park Service to intervene with active management where primeval and present conditions differ because of human actions.
    • Browsing the Literature

      Germino, M. (Society for Range Management, 2018-12)
    • An Ecological Assessment of the Northern Yellowstone Range: Introduction to the Special Issue

      Mosley, J. C.; Fidel, J.; Hunter, H. E.; Husby, P. O.; Kay, C. E.; Mundinger, J. G.; Yonk, R. M. (Society for Range Management, 2018-12)
    • Highlights

      Sheley, R. (Society for Range Management, 2018-12)
    • History and Status of Wild Ungulate Populations on the Northern Yellowstone Range

      Mosley, J. C.; Mundinger, J. G. (Society for Range Management, 2018-12)
      Native bison and elk co-dominate the assemblage of wild ungulates on the Northern Range, one of the largest and most diverse assemblages of wild ungulates in the western hemisphere. The elk population on the Northern Range in 2018 is 30% larger than the natural, primeval population. The Northern Range bison population in 2018 is 10 times (1,000%) larger than the natural, primeval population. It is unlikely that bison and elk populations inside Yellowstone National Park will be reduced by increased predation by wolves, grizzly bears, or mountain lions because the populations of these carnivores are unlikely to increase - they are controlled currently by intraspecific competition for territory. National Park Service policy requires human intervention (i.e., active management) when unnaturally high numbers of native animals and their negative impacts are caused by humans. The unnaturally high numbers of bison and elk on the Northern Range today resulted from modern-day management decisions based on a misguided paradigm that did not acknowledge the ecological importance of hunting by Native Americans. We suggest that National Park Service personnel work collaboratively with federal, tribal, state, and private partners to develop an adaptive management strategy to purposely restore Northern Range bison and elk populations to their natural, primeval sizes.
    • Human Influences on the Northern Yellowstone Range

      Yonk, R. M.; Mosley, J. C.; Husby, P. O. (Society for Range Management, 2018-12)
      For thousands of years before Yellowstone National Park was created in 1872, hunting and burning by Native Americans were fundamental components of the natural ecological processes on the Northern Range. Impacts by Euro-American fur trappers, miners, ranchers, natural resource managers, tourists, and others have shaped the land and wildlife of the Northern Range for the past two centuries. More controlled burning is needed today to purposely mimic the low-intensity fires set by Native Americans in the prehistoric and historical past. Greater control of bison and elk populations is needed today to sustain the natural abundances of native plants and animals and sustain the natural functioning of ecosystem processes. More controlled burning and greater control of bison and elk numbers are actions consistent with National Park Service policy and consistent with current management of other U.S. national parks.
    • Ecological Health of Grasslands and Sagebrush Steppe on the Northern Yellowstone Range

      Hunter, H. E.; Husby, P. O.; Fidel, J.; Mosley, J. C. (Society for Range Management, 2018-12)
      Native plant abundances within the grasslands and sagebrush steppe of the Northern Range decreased substantially during the 20th century and the degradation has continued during the 21st century. Forage production has declined precipitously, and ecological processes (i.e., water cycle, energy flow, and nutrient cycle) are impaired and degrading further. The declining health of Northern Range grasslands and sagebrush steppe is primarily caused by heavy grazing and browsing by bison and elk, not climatic changes. Excessive grazing and browsing is caused by modern-day management decisions that allowed bison and elk populations to become much larger than primeval times. National Park Service policy requires human intervention (i.e., active management) when human actions have impaired natural ecological processes or altered natural abundances of native plants and animals.
    • An Ecological Assessment of the Northern Yellowstone Range: Synthesis and Call to Action

      Mosley, J. C.; Fidel, J.; Hunter, H. E.; Husby, P. O.; Kay, C. E.; Mundinger, J. G.; Yonk, R. M. (Society for Range Management, 2018-12)
    • Foreword: Who Will Speak for the Land?

      Pluhar, J. (Society for Range Management, 2018-12)