Welcome to the Rangeland Ecology & Management archives. The journal Rangeland Ecology & Management (RE&M; v58, 2005-present) is the successor to the Journal of Range Management (JRM; v. 1-57, 1948-2004.) The archives provide public access, in a "rolling window" agreement with the Society for Range Management, to both titles (JRM and RE&M), from v.1 up to five years from the present year.

The most recent years of RE&M are available through membership in the Society for Range Management (SRM). Membership in SRM is a means to access current information and dialogue on rangeland management.

Your institution may also have access to current issues through library or institutional subscriptions.

Print ISSN: 0022-409x

Online ISSN: 1550-7424


Contact the University Libraries Journal Team with questions about these journals.

Recent Submissions

  • Assessment of Best-Management Practice Effects on Rangeland Stream Water Quality Using Multivariate Statistical Techniques

    Ellison, Christopher A.; Skinner, Quentin D.; Hicks, Larry S. (Society for Range Management, 2009-07-01)
    Quantifying the effects of watershed improvement efforts is critical to agencies responsible for protecting water resources of the semiarid western United States. A complex water quality data set collected from 1994 to 2004 of upper Muddy Creek Basin was subjected to cluster analysis, discriminant analysis, and canonical correlation analysis to improve understanding of basin fluvial processes and to investigate whether livestock grazing best-management practices (BMPs) improved the water quality of the watershed. Hierarchical agglomerative cluster analysis grouped nine sampling sites into two clusters based on similarity of biological indices, separating the clusters into aquatic communities more and less tolerant of degraded stream conditions. Discriminant analysis yielded strong spatial and temporal distinctions, providing important data reduction by rendering seven key parameters (total dissolved solids [TDS], temperature, elevation, slope, 10-dominant taxa, percent collector-gatherers, and percent Plecoptera) for the spatial variation and four parameters (TDS, dissolved oxygen, total taxa, and community tolerance quotient) for the temporal variation. Canonical correlation analysis identified strong negative relationships among Plecoptera taxa and total taxa with TDS and turbidity in addition to strong positive associations with elevation, slope, and channel substrate weighted embeddedness value. Despite the onset of severe drought midway through the study period, overall reductions of 13% for TDS and a 30% increase in macroinvertebrate total taxa occurred across years, strongly suggesting that improvements in water quality were correlated to BMPs that stabilized stream channels and improved the condition of riparian areas. 
  • Nutritive Quality of Highbush Blackberry (Rubus argutus) Exposed to Tropospheric Ozone

    Ditchkoff, Stephen S.; Lewis, John S.; Lin, John C.; Muntifering, Russell B.; Chappelka, Arthur H. (Society for Range Management, 2009-07-01)
    Numerous studies have examined the impacts of ground level O3 on plants that are important for human consumption, but native species that are important for wildlife have received less scrutiny. During May-August 2004 we examined the effects of O3 on biomass production and nutritive quality of highbush blackberry (Rubus argutus Link), an important forage for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimmerman) and other herbivorous mammals. Plants were fumigated in open-top chambers with three levels of O3 in a randomized-block experiment with three replicates of each treatment. Our three experimental treatments were carbon-filtered air, characteristic of clean air quality; nonfiltered air, representative of air quality in Auburn, AL; and air with double (23) the ambient concentration of O3. Although biomass production was not influenced by O3 exposure, nutritive quality of plants was associated negatively with O3 concentration. Specifically, neutral detergent fiber was greater and relative feed value was less in plants exposed to elevated levels of O3. Similarly, in vitro dry matter digestibility tended to be less in plants exposed to elevated O3. Nutritive quality of regrowth vegetation followed a similar pattern, where neutral detergent fiber was greater and relative feed value was less in plants exposed to elevated levels of O3. These data suggest that elevated levels of ground level O3 could have implications for diet selection of herbivorous mammals. 
  • Fine-Scale Spatial Genetic Structure in Perennial Grasses in Three Environments

    Smith, Steven E.; Arredondo, Tulio; Aguiar, Martín; Huber-Sannwald, Elisabeth; Alpuche, Angel; Aguado, Armando; Grageda, Oscar A.; Halbrook, Kandres; Bottini, Cecilia (Society for Range Management, 2009-07-01)
    Past research has shown that changes in grazing-resistance traits may be associated with genetic changes in plant populations. Little is known about spatial genetic relationships within plant populations (spatial genetic structure) and any grazing effects on these relationships. Here we present observations of the fine-scale spatial genetic structure in three grass species in semiarid environments (Arizona, Mexico, and Argentina). In each environment, populations of a dominant grass species were sampled from two sites with contrasting livestock grazing histories. Plant genotypes were described with the use of amplified fragment length polymorphism markers. In Arizona, populations of sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula var. caespitosa Gould and Kapadia) differed in that one has never experienced livestock grazing, whereas cattle have grazed the other. In the other two environments, populations exposed to long-term heavy grazing were examined, along with those that experienced either moderate grazing (Mexico, blue grama [Bouteloua gracilis {Willd. ex Kunt} Lag. ex Griffiths]) or extended exclusion of livestock (Argentina [Poa ligularis Nees ex Steud.]). Based on independent analysis of each population, we observed no differences in average gene diversity between populations of each species. With the use of analysis of molecular variance we found slight but significant genetic differentiation between populations with different grazing histories in Arizona and Argentina. Significant genetic structure was present in all populations and indicated an inverse relationship between spatial and genetic distance. Interestingly, this relationship was most pronounced in the cattle-free sideoats grama population, suggesting larger genetic neighborhood areas in the absence of livestock. Less distinct differences in spatial genetic structure associated with grazing history were evident in the other two species. We hypothesize that livestock grazing may lead to increased homogeneity in genetic structure at the landscape scale. Effectively examining this hypothesis presents many experimental challenges. 
  • Are Natural Resources Conservation Service Range Management Investments Working at Cross-Purposes With Wildlife Habitat Goals on Western United States Rangelands?

    Toombs, Theodore P.; Roberts, Martha G. (Society for Range Management, 2009-07-01)
    Wildlife conservationists and agencies have recommended managing rangelands for vegetation heterogeneity to improve wildlife habitat, particularly for many grassland birds. However, range management focuses on livestock production and associated practices and structural items (fences, water developments) that are applied to improve livestock distribution. This article assesses the occurrence of livestock distribution-oriented grazing management in the spending and applied practices of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the federal agency charged with assisting private landowners with implementation of US Department of Agriculture conservation programs. NRCS applied practices and spending both suggest an emphasis on livestock distribution and associated structures, with almost 20 million ha of prescribed grazing systems, 10 000 km of fence, and 127 000 water facilities implemented in 17 western states with assistance from NRCS programs between 2004 and 2007. Ninety percent of funding for 2005 Conservation Security Program grazing enhancements supported investments or management related to livestock distribution. We suggest that increasing the emphasis of NRCS conservation programs and financial assistance on maintaining or increasing compositional and structural heterogeneity of vegetation, rather than on livestock distribution, could be an approach that unifies livestock production and wildlife habitat objectives. In particular, including vegetation heterogeneity as a central goal for upland wildlife habitat management could be a key opportunity to increase incentives for heterogeneity-promoting management on privately owned rangeland. 
  • Differences in Net Primary Productivity Among Contrasting Habitats in Artemisia ordosica Rangeland of Northern China

    Li, Chunping; Sun, Osbert Jianxin; Xiao, Chunwang; Han, Xingguo (Society for Range Management, 2009-07-01)
    Artemisia ordosica Krasch. is a semishrub native to the Ordos Plateau of Inner Mongolia, northern China, and forms a unique and dominant vegetation type in the sandland of the region. To determine the variation of productivity in A. ordosica rangeland, we investigated net primary production (NPP), fine root turnover, soil microbial C (Cmic), and soil organic carbon density (SOCd) on sand dunes differing in mobility (i.e., fixed, semifixed, and shifting sand dunes) in Mu Us sandland. We found that, on an area basis, the NPP, SOCd, Cmic, and fine root turnover rates all increased with increasing vegetation cover. However, the ratios of root NPP to total NPP (RMRN) increased with declining vegetation cover. Total NPP varied markedly among habitats and ranged from 18.3 g m-2 yr-1 for communities on the shifting sand dunes to 293.8 g m-2 yr-1 for communities on the fixed sand dunes; whereas the rates of fine root turnover varied from 0.16 yr-1 to 0.54 yr-1. Our study demonstrated that habitat change in sandland has significant impacts on ecosystem productivity by affecting many related aspects of NPP. From the perspective of biomass production, protection of the semifixed dunes from degradation should be taken as a higher priority than trying to convert shifting sand dunes to semifixed sand dunes; whereas conversion of semifixed sand dunes to fixed sand dunes would appear to be a much easier task than restoring shifting sand dunes. 
  • Response of Seed Germination and Seedling Growth to Sand Burial of Two Dominant Perennial Grasses in Mu-Us Sandy Grassland, Semiarid China

    Zhu, Yajuan; Dong, Ming; Huang, Zhenying (Society for Range Management, 2009-07-01)
    Sand burial is an important selective pressure for growth, survival, and distribution of sand dune plants. Its effects on seed germination and seedling establishment, however, for different species are quite different. Experiments were conducted in the Mu-Us Sandy Grassland of North China to determine the effects of sand burial on seed germination and seedling growth of dominant perennial grasses Psammochloa villosa (Trin.) Bor and Leymus secalinus (Georgi) Tzvel. Small, medium, and large seeds of P. villosa and small and large seeds of L. secalinus were buried at 0-, 1-, 2-, 4-, 6-, and 8-cm depths in sand. P. villosa seed germination and seed dormancy in sand were significantly influenced by sand burial depth but not by seed size, whereas seed germination and seed dormancy of L. secalinus were significantly influenced by both sand burial depth and seed size. Emergence percentages for large seeds were higher than those for smaller seeds, suggesting that larger seeds are ecologically better adapted to dune habitats. Seeds that did not germinate in sand were in enforced dormancy and formed a soil seedbank, which can enhance plant survival on sand dunes. One-week-old and 2-wk-old P. villosa seedlings could tolerate 75% and 100% of their shoot height of sand burial, respectively, and the shoot elongation growth was enhanced by the burial stress. Both 1-wk- old and 2-wk-old seedlings of L. secalinus only tolerated up to 75% sand burial. The growth of L. secalinus seedling was inhibited by sand burial due to the decreased biomass and slow shoot elongation. The lack of tolerance of seedlings of this species to total sand burial might restrict its distribution on sand dunes. 
  • Grazing Intensity on Vegetation Dynamics of a Typical Steppe in Northeast Inner Mongolia

    Liang, Yan; Han, Guodong; Zhou, He; Zhao, Mengli; Snyman, Hennie A.; Shan, Dan; Havstad, Kris M. (Society for Range Management, 2009-07-01)
    Vegetation features radiating from residential areas in response to livestock grazing were quantified for an arid steppe rangeland in the Keshiketeng Banner, Chifeng Prefecture, in northeastern Inner Mongolia in 2004 and 2006. The aim of this study was to estimate grazing impacts on the vegetation dynamics of these historical grazed ecosystems. Grazing intensities were classified as reference area (RA), light (LG), moderate (MG), and heavy (HG) according to the vegetation utilization across the study area. Rangelands were studied along a grazing gradient, where characteristics of plant communities, heights of dominant species, aboveground vertical structures, and belowground biomass were investigated. Along this grazing gradient, vegetation changed from the original dominant plant species Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvel. to a semi-subshrub species Artemisia frigida Willd. when moving from the reference area (RA) to the region around the settlement. Canopy coverage, aboveground productivity, and the number of perennial species declined as one moved toward the residential area. Heights of five dominant species, except for Stipa grandis P. Smirn., declined with increased grazing intensity. Aboveground vertical structure in the RA treatment showed more resilience than the other treatments. There was no difference in root biomass in the top 1 m of soil (P > 0.05) between the RA treatment and the area immediately around settlement (HG treatment). Generally, we found that the intensity of grazing disturbance did not exceed the tolerance of the rangeland ecosystem within LG treatment. However, vegetative conditions in HG treatment became worse with increased grazing pressure. Rangelands in this arid steppe are under tremendous threat due to excessive forage utilization, which cannot be considered a sustainable practice. 
  • Grazing Density Effects on Cover, Species Composition, and Nitrogen Fixation of Biological Soil Crust in an Inner Mongolia Steppe

    Liu, Huajie; Han, Xingguo; Li, Linghao; Huang, Jianhui; Liu, Hongsheng; Li, Xin (Society for Range Management, 2009-07-01)
    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are important in many arid and semiarid ecosystems for their abilities to fix atmospheric nitrogen (N) and stabilize surface soil. Grazing disturbance has a profound influence on abundance, species composition, and ecological functioning of BSCs. To elucidate the effects of grazing on BSCs in Inner Mongolia grasslands, an investigation was conducted in a typical steppe that had previously been subjected to long-term grazing with six grazing densities (control: 0 sheep ? ha21, very light: 4 sheep?ha21, light: 8 sheep?ha21, medium: 12 sheep?ha21, heavy: 16 sheep?ha21, and very heavy: 20 sheep?ha21). Cover, species composition, potential N-fixing activity, and potential N input of BSC indicate that long-term grazing significantly reduced the importance of BSC in N input and soil stabilization. Such reductions were highly related to grazing density. Very light grazing had no significant effect on the role of BSC in soil stabilization, but resulted in a 13.3% reduction in BSC N input potential. Heavy and very heavy grazing led to a decrease of potential N input by one order of magnitude, and a decline of BSC function via a shift from high coverage of an attached group-dominated BSC community to a low coverage of a vagrant group-dominated community. Constraining grazing level to a very light density—and to a lesser extent, a light grazing density—is likely a preferred practice for conserving BSC and the ecological services it provides in N fixation and soil stabilization. 
  • Can Shallow Plowing and Harrowing Facilitate Restoration of Leymus chinensis Grassland? Results From a 24-Year Monitoring Program

    Baoyin, Taogetao; Yonghong Li, Frank (Society for Range Management, 2009-07-01)
    Long-term effects of two mechanical interventions, shallow plowing and harrowing, on degraded Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvel. grassland were studied. Species composition and standing biomass of the grassland were monitored at peak biomass each year for 24 yr after application of these two measures, together with grassland in natural recovery and that under public grazing. Results showed a high resilience of degraded grassland, which recovered naturally after excluding grazing animals to a structure similar to the intact L. chinensis community. In comparison with natural recovery, harrowing facilitated restoration of L. chinensis population and community structure and improved grassland production. Shallow plowing accelerated recovery of L. chinensis population to a larger extent than harrowing and led to a flourish of annual species and improvement of herbage production in the years following its application. But the production improvement was unsustainable and was associated with a decrease in grassland species richness and community complexity. We conclude that the best measure for restoring degraded grassland depends on the restoration objectives and severity of grassland degradation. Harrowing is a feasible technique to assist restoration of the degraded grassland. In contrast, shallow plowing is not appropriate for ecological restoration, but may be applied for quick restoration of herbage production. 
  • Litter Decomposition in Semiarid Grassland of Inner Mongolia, China

    Liu, Ping; Huang, Jianhui; Han, Xingguo; Sun, Osbert J. (Society for Range Management, 2009-07-01)
    Long-term overgrazing has significantly changed plant species composition in rangeland ecosystems, and this change may alter ecosystem functioning remarkably. In this study, decomposition rates and nutrient dynamics of pure litter (leaf, stem, or root litter) and 11 litter mixtures (from two to five litter components), including nine aboveground litter mixtures and two root litter mixtures, of five common plant species in degraded semiarid rangelands of northern China were studied for 1 yr. We found that fine root litters generally decomposed faster and had faster nutrient turnover rates than leaf and stem litters. The decomposition rates of leaves and stems were significantly and positively correlated with initial litter nitrogen (P < 0.01) and phosphorus contents (P < 0.05), and the decomposition rates of fine roots were significantly and negatively correlated with initial litter carbon:nitrogen ratios (P < 0.05). Nonadditive effects were found in six out of the nine aboveground litter mixtures (three positive and three negative). There were only additive effects on decay rates and nutrient fluxes in the two root litter mixtures. The occurrence and direction of nonadditive effects were dependent on the properties of component litters and had no obvious correlations with litter diversity. Negative mixing effects on nutrient immobilization can facilitate the release of some important nutrients during litter decomposition processes, and further help to accelerate nutrient cycling in such semiarid rangeland ecosystems. Our results indicate that change of plant species composition by overgrazing may slow down the mass loss rates, but may not necessarily impact the release of some nutrients. 
  • The Grasslands of Inner Mongolia: A Special Feature

    Han, Xingguo; Owens, Keith; Wu, X. Ben; Wu, Jianguo; Huang, Jianhui (Society for Range Management, 2009-07-01)
    Grasslands of northern China are of great ecological, economic, and cultural importance (Kang et al. 2007). These immense grasslands cover 400 million ha or 40% of the land area of China and stretch 4 500 km northeast-southwest (lat 28 degreesN to lat 51 degreesN). They extend from the northeastern plains adjacent to Mongolia to the southern Tibetan Plateau and consist of four major types: meadow steppes, typical steppes, desert steppes, and alpine steppes (Sun 2005; Kang et al. 2007). Inner Mongolia has 87 million ha of natural grassland, which is a significant constituent of the Eurasian Steppe—the largest contiguous biome in the world (Li 1962, 1979; Wu and Loucks 1992). From east to west, meadow steppe, typical steppe, and desert steppe zones occur in response to the decreasing moisture gradient.