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

  • A Passive Application Watering System for Rangeland Plots

    Reece, Patrick E.; Koehler, Ann E.; Whisenhunt, W. Douglas; Volesky, Jerry D.; Schacht, Walter H. (Society for Range Management, 2007-03-01)
    Soil water is generally the most limiting factor for plant growth in arid and semiarid rangeland ecosystems. Interactions between precipitation regimes and optimum air temperatures for growth of different species often have measurable effects on peak standing herbage and species composition. Simulating multiple precipitation regimes in a single year will enhance our ability to quantify plant-environment interactions. Evaluating the seasonal effects of variation in timing and quantity of precipitation will require controlled water applications with little or no runoff. A diversity of plot watering systems has been developed for different kinds of agronomic and rangeland research. However, most of these systems were designed to simulate heavy pre- cipitation events and features of all previously described systems limit the number of plots and/or variation in site characteristics that can be included in rangeland field studies. Therefore, we developed the Passive Application Watering System (PAWS), which is composed of a graduated polyethylene application tank connected to a discharge system of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and soaker hose subunits. It is portable and suitable for applying water over a wide range of slope, soil texture, and residual herbage conditions with little or no runoff. Application rates are controlled by the amount of hydrostatic pressure, which is determined by the head, the difference in height between the tank’s water level, and the soaker hoses. Heads of 0.1 m and 2.0 m produce application rates of 5 mm hr-1 and 40 mm hr-1 which correspond to the permeability of clay loam and silt loam, respectively. Application rates increase about 1.8 mm hr-1 +/- 0.15 SE for each 10-cm increase in head. We have successfully used the PAWS in 3 research projects on range sites with sandy and loamy soil texture classes. 
  • The Influence of Gap Size on Sagebrush Cover Estimates With the Use of Line Intercept Technique

    Boyd, Chad S.; Bates, Jon D.; Miller, Rick F. (Society for Range Management, 2007-03-01)
    Sagebrush cover is often estimated with the use of the line intercept method. However, a lack of standardized protocols may lead to variable estimates of sagebrush canopy cover. Our objectives were to determine the influence of gap size on 1) sagebrush canopy cover estimates, 2) time needed to read a transect, and 3) among-observer variability in sagebrush canopy cover estimates. We utilized 5-, 10-, and 15-cm gaps, and defined a gap as a lack of continuous live or dead shrub canopy. In instances where a segment of dead cover was less than the gap size and adjoined live cover, the dead cover was measured as live. We evaluated canopy cover at 6 Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. Wyomingensis Beetle A. Young) sites in southeast Oregon. At each site, four 2-person teams measured sagebrush canopy intercept along 50-m transects. Each transect was read by multiple teams to allow for assessment of among-observer variability. Intercept values were converted to percent canopy cover and we used analysis of variance to determine the influence of site and gap size on measurement time and cover estimates. Observer variability was highest at the intermediate gap size (i.e., 10 cm). Transect measurement time was longest with the use of a 5-cm gap (P < 0.001). Total cover estimates were not related to gap size (P = 0.270). Live canopy cover estimates increased (P < 0.001) from 12.1% to 14.5% with increasing gap size, and cover of dead material decreased (P = 0.015) from 4.4% to 3.2%. These differences are small in magnitude and would not likely change a gross assessment of vegetation status. However, use of a standardized gap size will enhance comparability of canopy cover estimates among studies and will decrease between-year sampling error for repeat monitoring. 
  • Learning Through Foraging Consequences: A Mechanism of Feeding Niche Separation in Sympatric Ruminants

    Kronberg, Scott L.; Walker, John W. (Society for Range Management, 2007-03-01)
    Explanations for why sympatric ruminant species select diets composed of different plant species or plant parts have been controversial. Our explanation is based on learning from foraging consequences, which includes the influences that morphology, physiology, and experience have on diet selection. We conducted a trial with cattle (Bos taurus), sheep (Ovis aries), and goats (Capra hircus) and leafy spurge (LS; Euphorbia esula L.) to explore the interface between the learning and morphophysiological foraging models with these sympatric ruminants. After a pretrial adjustment period, the control group for each species received, via stomach tube on days 1 and 2, ground grass after eating a novel food (NF; rolled corn), and the treatment group for each species received ground air-dried LS after eating the NF. NF intake on days 2 and 3 was expressed as a percent of NF intake on day 1, and it declined considerably for cattle and sheep dosed with LS but did not decline for goats receiving it (P = 0.001). LS elicited learned aversive feeding responses from cattle and sheep but not from goats. The results are consistent with field observations that goats graze LS more readily than sheep or cattle do. Learning from foraging consequences offers an explanation for the unique diets of sympatric ruminant species. 
  • Differences in Food Ingestion and Digestion Among Sheep Classified as High or Low Sagebrush Consumers

    Fraker-Marble, M. J.; Launchbaugh, K. L.; Walker, J. W. (Society for Range Management, 2007-03-01)
    Animals vary substantially in amount of three-tip sagebrush (Artemisia tripartita [Rydb.] tripartita) or other chemically defended plants they will voluntarily consume. This individual variation results from differences in dietary experience and inherited digestive characteristics. We conducted a series of experiments to examine behavioral and digestive traits of sheep identified as high or low consumers of sagebrush. In a pen-acceptance trial, high sagebrush consumers ate the same amount of sagebrush as low consumers when they had unrestricted access to a basal ration of alfalfa pellets (P = 0.77). However, when animals were restricted to 75% of their recommended energy requirement, sheep identified as high consumers ate more sagebrush than low consumers (P = 0.05). In a digestion trial, sagebrush reduced the dry matter digestibility when it was added to a hay-based diet. In vivo digestibility of a diet containing 10% fresh sagebrush and 90% alfalfa/grass hay was higher for high sagebrush consumers than low consumers (P = 0.02). The parameters measured in this trial suggest sheep that willingly consume high amounts of sagebrush, digest diets containing sagebrush more efficiently than low consumers. 
  • Blackland Tallgrass Prairie Vegetation Dynamics Following Cessation of Herbicide Application

    Hickman, Karen R.; Derner, Justin D. (Society for Range Management, 2007-03-01)
    We studied short-term (1-3 years) responses of plant species and functional group abundances, richness, evenness, diversity, and similarity following cessation of 25 years (1972-1997) of herbicide application in a remnant of Blackland Tallgrass Prairie in central Texas. Substantial increases in plant cover from 1998 to 2000 were observed for annual forbs (359%-900%), primarily attributable to firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella Foug), but C4 perennial grass cover only marginally increased (22%-23%). These disproportionate increases elicited a directional compositional change in the plant community with dominance shifting from C4 perennial grasses to annual forbs. Species richness, evenness, and diversity decreased from 1998 to 2000 for May, but increased for June, sampling date. Conservation efforts pertaining to remnants of Blackland Tallgrass Prairie need to be cognizant that dramatic short-term effects on vegetation dynamics will occur following cessation of annual herbicide applications, and that enhancement of perennial forbs may require seeding or transplanting species. 
  • Effects of Wildlife on Cattle Diets in Laikipia Rangeland, Kenya

    Odadi, Wilfred O.; Young, Truman P.; Okeyo-Owuor, J. B. (Society for Range Management, 2007-03-01)
    The impacts of wild herbivores on cattle diet selection were investigated in an East African rangeland during August 2001 and February 2002. The study compared cattle diets in plots exclusively accessible to cattle (C) and those accessible to megaherbivores (elephants and giraffes), non-megaherbivore wild herbivores > 15 kg (zebras, hartebeests, Grant’s gazelles, oryx, elands, and buffaloes) and cattle (MWC); or non-megaherbivore wild herbivores and cattle (WC). There were no treatment differences in selection of most grass species in either sampling period (P > 0.05). However, selection of forbs differed among treatments during February when conditions were relatively dry and percent of bites taken by cattle on this forage class increased (P < 0.005) from 1.8% +/- 0.3 to 7.7% +/- 1.6 (mean +/- SE). During this period, cattle took a lower percent of bites on forbs in MWC (4.3% +/- 1.7; P = 0.01) and WC (5.9% +/- 2.2; P = 0.03) than in C (12.9% +/- 0.9). These patterns were generally driven by Commelina spp., which comprised 65% +/- 9.4 of total bites on forbs. Notably, these differences were associated with differences in cover of forbs, which was positively correlated with percent of bites on forbs (r2 = 0.86, P < 0.01). Because forbs may be critical components of cattle diets in such rangelands during relatively dry periods, these dietary changes may indicate potential seasonal costs of wildlife to cattle production. Looking for ways to offset such costs may be worthwhile for livestock properties that accommodate wildlife. 
  • Influence of Forest Management and Previous Herbivory on Cattle Diets

    Walburger, Kenric J.; DelCurto, Timothy; Vavra, Martin (Society for Range Management, 2007-03-01)
    Grazing cattle and timber harvest are common practices associated with forested rangelands. Therefore, the objective was to document the effects of timber harvest and herbivory on nutritional quality and botanical composition of steer diets in grand fir (Abies grandis [Dougl. ex D. Don] Lindl.) and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa P. C. Lawson) forests. Three replicated grand fir sites were arranged as a split-plot design; timber harvest treatments—1) no harvest (CON), 2) thinning (TH), 3) clearcut (CL)— were whole plots, and herbivory treatments—1) large ungulate grazing (Graze), 2) wild ungulate grazing (CExc), and 3) exclusion of large ungulate grazing (TExc)—were the subplots. Three replicated ponderosa pine sites were arranged as a split-plot design; timber harvest treatments—1) CON and 2) TH—were whole plots, and herbivory treatments—1) GR, 2) BG, and 3) EX—were subplots. Diet samples were collected in June and August of 2001 and 2002. Crude protein, in vitro organic matter digestibility, acid detergent fiber, and neutral detergent fiber of the diets were only affected by season of use and were higher (P < 0.05) quality during the June grazing period. Botanical composition of diets was determined with the use of microhistological analysis of ruminal masticate. Within grand fir sites, graminoids were the major constituent in the diet (65%-91%), forbs intermediate (8%- 31%), and shrubs least (0.2%-3.5%). Within ponderosa pine sites graminoids were the major constituent in the diet (83%-88%), forbs intermediate (10%-14%), and shrubs least (2%-3%). Season of use did not affect (P > 0.10) botanical composition in either grand fir or ponderosa pine sites. Timing of grazing had a greater influence on diet quality; however, previous herbivory and(or) timber harvest had a greater influence on composition of diets than did timing of grazing. 
  • Long-Term Vegetation Productivity and Trend Under Two Stocking Levels on Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland

    Khumalo, Godfrey; Holechek, Jerry; Thomas, Milt; Molinar, Francisco (Society for Range Management, 2007-03-01)
    Vegetation changes were evaluated over an 11-year period (1995-2005) on 2 light- and 2 conservative-stocked Chihuahuan Desert pastures in south central New Mexico. Grazing treatments were applied to the pastures over a 5-year period from 1997 through 2001. Pastures were not grazed in the 1995-1996 and 2002-2005 periods due to drought. During the 1997-2001 grazing period, grazing use of primary forage species averaged 29% and 40% on light- and conservative-stocked rangelands, respectively. Grazing intensity was consistently higher on conservative-stocked than light-stocked pastures. During our study heavy grazing occurred only in 1 year on pastures with conservative stocking. There were no differences in species or species categories (grasses, forbs, shrubs) of autumn standing crop and basal cover between light-and conservative-stocked pastures. Standing crop of total vegetation and perennial grasses showed large fluctuations among the years due to variable rainfall. Under both treatments, total herbaceous standing crop was unchanged, but perennial grass standing crop declined by over 50% when the last 3 years of study were compared with the first 3 years of study. Broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae Pursh), a poisonous half shrub, increased in standing crop and cover during the study. Basal cover of total perennial grasses declined less under light than conservative stocking during the study period. However, climatic conditions exerted the overriding influence on vegetation standing crop and basal cover. Our study indicates that light stocking in the Chihuahuan Desert does not increase perennial grass production compared to conservative grazing but it could have a small benefit in maintaining perennial grass cover during drought. We believe our findings have broad application in the Chihauhuan Desert, but caution they might not apply well to other arid rangeland types. 
  • Texas Wintergrass and Buffalograss Response to Seasonal Fires and Clipping

    Ansley, R. James; Castellano, Michael J. (Society for Range Management, 2007-03-01)
    There is increased interest in the use of summer-season fires to limit woody plant encroachment into grasslands, but effects of these fires on grasses are poorly understood. We quantified effects of repeated winter fires, repeated summer fires, and clipping (to simulate grazing) on aboveground total yield, live yield, and percentage of live tissue of C3 Texas wintergrass (Nassella leucotricha [Trin. Rupr.] Pohl.), and C4 buffalograss (Buchloë dactyloides [Nutt.] Engelm.) in 2 experiments. Monospecific patches of each species were exposed to 1 of 3 fire treatments (no-fire, 2 winter fires in 3 years, or 2 summer fires in 3 years) and 1 of 2 clip treatments (no clip or clip once each spring). Experiment 1 evaluated effects of fire without grazing or clipping on late-growing season (late-season) yields. Late-season total yield of both species recovered from winter and summer fires within 1 or 2 growing seasons post-fire. By 3 years post-fire, Texas wintergrass late-season total yield was 2 times greater in the summer fire treatment than the winter fire or no-fire treatments, and buffalograss late-season total yield was 3 times greater in summer and winter fire treatments than in the no-fire treatment. Experiment 2 evaluated combined effects of fire and clipping the previous spring on spring-season yields. Clipping alone or with fire (summer or winter) reduced Texas wintergrass yields on more sample dates than occurred with buffalograss. By 3 years post-fire, buffalograss spring total yield was greater in all fire and fire + clip treatments than in the clip only or untreated controls. Results suggest: 1) both species were tolerant of summer fire, 2) fire in either season with or without clipping stimulated buffalograss production, and 3) buffalograss was more tolerant than Texas wintergrass to the combined effects of clipping + fire (either season). 
  • Using Weather Data to Explain Herbage Yield on Three Great Plains Plant Communities

    Smart, Alexander J.; Dunn, Barry H; Johnson, Patricia S.; Xu, Lan; Gates, Roger N. (Society for Range Management, 2007-03-01)
    Understanding the drivers that account for plant production allows for a better understanding of plant communities and the transitions within ecological sites and can assist managers in making informed decisions about stocking rates and timing of grazing. We compared climatic drivers of herbage production for 3 plant communities of the Clayey ecological site in southwestern South Dakota: the midgrass community dominated by western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii [Rybd.] A. Love); the mixed-grass community codominated by western wheatgrass, blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis [H.B.K.] Lag. Ex Griffiths), and buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides [Nutt.] Engelm.); and the shortgrass community dominated by blue grama and buffalograss. We used herbage yield and weather data for the period 1945-1960 collected at the South Dakota State University Range and Livestock Research Station near Cottonwood, South Dakota, to develop stepwise regression models for each plant community. Midgrass herbage production was best predicted by current-year spring (April-June) precipitation, number of calendar days until the last spring day with minimum temperature 18C, and previous-year spring precipitation (R2 = 0.81). Mixed-grass herbage production was best predicted by current-year spring precipitation and days until the last spring freeze (R2 = 0.69). Shortgrass herbage production was best predicted by current-year spring precipitation (R2 = 0.52). Midgrass plant communities were, overall, 650 kg ha-1 (SE = 92 kg ha-1) more productive (P < 0.01) than mixed- or shortgrass plant communities given the same climatic inputs. Our study enables managers to make timely informed decisions regarding stocking rates and timing of grazing on this ecological site in western South Dakota. 
  • Forest Service Grazing Permittee Perceptions of the Endangered Species Act in Southeastern Arizona

    Conley, Julie Lorton; Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria E.; Ruyle, George B.; Brunson, Mark (Society for Range Management, 2007-03-01)
    This study reports the results of a survey of Coronado National Forest grazing permittees about their attitudes regarding the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the management of threatened and endangered (TE) species on grazing allotments in southeastern Arizona. A majority of respondents perceived negative impacts from ESA implementation. However, the degree of impact remained independent of the number of listed species on allotments and of the potential for restrictions on those allotments. Perceptions of negative impact and attitudes toward TE species policies were more related to attitudes toward federal regulation. Permittees broadly supported the idea of species conservation and expressed willingness to work with federal agencies but did not perceive the federal agencies as having the same responsiveness to their concerns. A more proactive agency strategy with science-based, focused recovery objectives coupled with economic incentives could improve support for species recovery efforts. 
  • Assessment of Expert Opinion: Seasonal Sheep Preference and Plant Response to Grazing

    Pollock, Meg L.; Legg, Colin J.; Holland, John P.; Theobald, Chris M. (Society for Range Management, 2007-03-01)
    Expert opinion was sought on 2 issues relating to herbivory: seasonal sheep preferences for plant species and seasonal plant response to grazing. Expert opinion is commonly used to parameterize models: it is therefore important to assess its quality. Understanding the limitations of expert knowledge can allow prioritization of future research. Nine experts in plant or grazing ecology from Scotland/Northern England were individually interviewed. The experts ranked sheep preferences for species in 4 rangeland vegetation types and provided categorical information on plant response to grazing. For both issues, seasonal information was collected. Uncertainty (unanswered questions) on plant responses was much higher than uncertainty on sheep preferences. Uncertainty on sheep preference was significantly negatively correlated with plant species commonness, but not with quantity of scientific literature. Uncertainty on plant responses was significantly negatively correlated with both plant commonness and literature. There was agreement among experts on sheep preferences; standardized seasonal information for selected plant species is presented. In general, experts considered graminoids to be preferred over dwarf shrubs, with forbs and other species groups intermediate. Seasonal variation in sheep preference was greater for heath and mire than for grasslands. There was limited agreement among experts on seasonal plant responses. Some experts considered grazing in summer to affect growth more than grazing in winter, whereas others thought season had little effect. Sufficient agreement was found at the species level to present results on plant responses. Experts considered graminoids more resilient to grazing than dwarf shrubs. Experts agreed on sheep preference at different times of year, and on the overall resilience of plant species to grazing. However, the experts held 2 paradigms on the impact of seasonal grazing. Further research is required to explore this, because seasonal grazing regimes are currently promoted as conservation management tools. 
  • Spatial Patterns of Pinyon-Juniper Woodland Expansion in Central Nevada

    Weisberg, Peter J.; Lingua, Emanuele; Pillai, Rekha B. (Society for Range Management, 2007-03-01)
    The expansion of the pinyon-juniper (Pinus monophylla Torr. & Frém.-Juniperus osteosperma Torr.) woodland type in the Great Basin has been widely documented, but little is known concerning how topographic heterogeneity influences the temporal development of such vegetation changes. The goals of this study were to quantify the overall rates of pinyon-juniper expansion over the past 3 decades, and determine the landscape factors influencing patterns of expansion in central Nevada. Aerial panchromatic photos (1966-1995) were used to quantify changing distribution of pinyon-juniper woodland, over multiple spatial scales (0.002-, 0.02-, and 0.4-ha median patch sizes), and for discrete categories of elevation, slope aspect, slope steepness, hillslope position, and prior canopy cover class. An object-oriented multiscale segmentation and classification scheme, based on attributes of brightness, shape, homogeneity, and texture, was applied to classify vegetation. Over the 30-year period, the area of woodland has increased by 11% over coarse, ecotonal scales (0.4-ha scale) but by 33% over single-tree scales (20-m2 scale). Woodland expansion has been dominated by infilling processes where small tree patches have established in openings between larger, denser patches. Infilling rates have been greatest at lower elevations, whereas migration of the woodland belt over coarser scales has proceeded in both upslope and downslope directions. Increases in woodland area were several times greater where terrain variables indicated more mesic conditions. Management treatments involving removal of trees should be viewed in a long-term context, because tree invasion is likely to proceed rapidly on productive sites.