• Big Questions Emerging from a Century of Rangeland Science and Management

      Bestelmeyer, Brandon T.; Estell, Rick E.; Havstad, Kris M. (Society for Range Management, 2012-11-01)
      “This special issue commemorates the centennial of the Jornada Experimental Range. …We use the Jornada centennial as an opportunity to reflect on the history of rangeland science and how it prepares us to answer the big questions of our time. We asked 56 researchers from seven countries to discuss a set of questions conveyed in the titles and main themes of the papers in this special issue…”
    • Grand Challenges for Resilience-Based Management of Rangelands

      Bestelmeyer, Brandon T.; Briske, David D. (Society for Range Management, 2012-11-01)
      The social and ecological contexts for rangeland management are changing rapidly, prompting a reevaluation of science, management, and their relationship. We argue that progression from steady-state management to ecosystem management has served the rangeland profession well, but that further development toward resilience-based management is required to ensure that ecosystem services are sustained in an era of rapid change. Resilience-based management embraces the inevitability of change and emphasizes that management should seek to guide change to benefit society. The objectives of this forum are to: 1) justify the need for adopting resilience-based management, 2) identify the challenges that will be encountered in its development and implementation, and 3) highlight approaches to overcoming these challenges. Five grand challenges confronting the adoption of resilience-based management, based upon the insights of 56 rangeland researchers who have contributed to this special issue, were identified as: 1) development of knowledge systems to support resilience-based management, 2) improvement of ecological models supporting science and management, 3) protocols to assess and manage tradeoffs among ecosystem services, 4) use of social-ecological system models to integrate diverse knowledge sources, and 5) reorganization of institutions to support resilience-based management. Resolving the challenges presented here will require the creation of stronger partnerships between ecosystem managers, science organizations, management agencies, and policymakers at local, regional, and national scales. A realistic near-term goal for achieving such partnerships is to initiate and support collaborative landscapeprojects. The creation of multiscaled social learning institutions linked to evolving knowledge systems may be the best approach to guide adaptation and transformation in rangelands in the coming century./
    • ‘‘The Range Problem’’ After a Century of Rangeland Science: New Research Themes for Altered Landscapes

      Sayre, Nathan F.; deBuys, William; Bestelmeyer, Brandon T.; Havstad, Kris M. (Society for Range Management, 2012-11-01)
      The rangeland science profession in the United States has its roots in the widespread overgrazing and concurrent severe droughts of the late 19th century. These drivers contributed to rangeland resource degradation especially in the American Southwest—what E. O. Wooton (1908) called the ‘‘Range Problem.’’ Although logical for the time, the scientific activities and resulting policies that arose out of this catastrophe were based on reductionist experimentation and productionist emphases on food and fiber. After a century of science and policy, there are two additional perspectives that shape our vision for the emphases of the future. First, rangeland landscapes are extremely heterogeneous; general principles derived from scientific experimentation cannot be easily or generally applied without adjusting to the distinct societal and ecological characteristics of a location. Second, rangeland management occurs at spatial scales considerably larger than those that have typically been addressed in range science. Scaling up science results is not a simple, additive process. The leading features of the emerging science are 1) research at landscape scales and 2) over longer time spans that 3) approaches conservation and management practices as treatments requiring scientific evaluation, 4) incorporates local knowledge, 5) is explicitly applied in nature, and 6) is transparent in its practice. We strongly argue for a science that supports resource management by testing hypotheses relevant to actual conservation practices and iteratively applying its findings in partnership with managers in an ongoing, adaptive fashion./La profesión de ciencia del pastizal en Estados Unidos tiene sus races en el sobrepastoreo y recurrentes y severas sequias a finales del siglo XIX. Estos factores contribuyeron a la degradación de los recursos del pastizal especialmente en el Suroeste de los Estados Unidos—a lo que E. O. Wooton (1908) llamo el “Problema del Pastizal.” Aunque por la lógica del tiempo, las actividades científicas y políticas resultantes que surgen de esta catástrofe fueron basadas en experimentación reduccionista y énfasis en producción de alimentos y fibras. Después de un siglo de ciencia y politicas hay dos perspectivas adicionales que dan forma a nuestra visión para enfatizar en el futuro. Primero, el paisaje del pastizal es extremadamente heterogéneo, principios generales de experimentación cientifica no pueden ser fácilmente o generalmente aplicados sin ajustes en las marcadas características sociales y ecológicas del lugar. Segundo, el manejo del pastizal ocurre a escalas espaciales considerablemente mayores a aquellas que normalmente se aplican en la ciencia del pastizal. Dimensionar los resultados de la ciencia no es un proceso sencillo y aditivo. Las características importantes de la ciencia emergente son 1) investigación a escala del paisaje y 2) sobre periodos largo de tiempo que 3) abarque practicas de conservación y manejo como tratamientos que requieren evaluación cientifica, 4) incorporar conocimiento local, 5) ser explicito aplicado a la naturaleza y 6) ser trasparente en su práctica. Argumentamos fuertamente por una ciencia que apoye el manejo de los recursos por media de evaluar hipótesis relevantes a las prácticas de conservación actuales y que aplique sus resultados en sociedad con manejadores de manera adaptiva.