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.

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Print ISSN: 0022-409x

Online ISSN: 1550-7424


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Recent Submissions

  • Effects of biosolids on tobosagrass growth in the Chihuahuan desert

    Jurado, P.; Wester, D. B. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    Little information is available about seasonal application and carry-over effects of biosolids application to semi-arid grasslands. Biosolids rates of 0 (control), 7, 18, or 34 Mg ha-1 were topically applied to tobosagrass (Hilaria mutica (Buckl.) Benth.) experimental plots in a Chihuahuan desert grassland in western Texas. Biosolids were applied twice in 1994, for one-year-only, either in winter-and-summer (WS), or spring-and-summer (SS) seasons. Half of the plots were irrigated every summer for 4 years (1994-1997). Tobosagrass standing crop (herbage yield) and total Kjeldahl nitrogen concentration (plant %TKN) were measured every year during the 4 years of the study (1994-1997). An increase in biosolids rate increased tobosagrass herbage yield linearly during the 4 growing seasons. Linear and quadratic responses to biosolids rates were observed in %TKN during the experiment. Irrigation increased tobosagrass herbage yield. Irrigation decreased %TKN in 1995 and 1996 and had no influence during the other years. Winter-and-summer applications increased herbage yield more than spring and summer applications in 3 out of 4 years. Spring-and-summer applications increased %TKN more than winter and summer applications only in 1996. Carry-over effects on tobosagrass herbage yield and %TKN were observed in the second, third, and fourth growing seasons after biosolids application. Twice-a-year application of biosolids for 1-year-only offers an excellent means to improve tobosagrass productivity and forage quality.
  • Nutritive value and aversion of honey mesquite leaves to sheep

    Baptista, R.; Launchbaugh, K. L. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    Honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa Torr.) is an invasive native plant that is abundant in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. We initiated 2 studies to determine if: 1) mesquite could provide valuable forage for domestic herbivores; and 2) if mesquite causes conditioned flavor aversions in ruminants. An in vivo digestion trial was completed with 15 lambs assigned to diets of 0, 5, 10, 15, or 20% dried mesquite leaves mixed with alfalfa hay to measure effects of mesquite on intake and digestion. Proportions of mesquite leaves >5% of the diet negatively affected dry matter (DM) intake, nitrogen (N) balance, energy balance and weight gain. Mesquite intake was highest at the 5% level averaging 1.81 g kg-1 body weight (BW), mesquite intake of the other mesquite-containing diets averaged 0.78 g kg-1 BW. Apparent digestibility was not affected by the level of mesquite in the diet. An in situ digestion trial did however, reveal that pure alfalfa was more digestible than mesquite leaves. A conditioned flavor aversion (CFA) trial tested the effect of post-ingestive feedback from mesquite on the intake of a novel food (rye). Lambs were offered rye and then ground mesquite was infused into their rumens by esophageal tube. Twenty one lambs were assigned to 3 dosing treatments: 0 (control), 3.0 (low), or 4.5 (high) g of mesquite per kg BW. Two days after dosing, lambs that received mesquite infusions ate less rye than controls indicating the formation of a CFA. The aversion to rye persisted for at least 2 days. The high dose of mesquite also decreased intake of the alfalfa basal ration for at least 3 days and resulted in persistent diarrhea in lambs. Chemical analysis of mesquite leaves revealed similar nutritive quality (crude protein, gross energy, and fiber) as mature alfalfa. However, to exploit the forage value of mesquite, the allelochemicals that cause flavor aversions and other negative digestive consequences need to be identified and overcome.
  • Animal age and sex effects on diets of grazing cattle

    Grings, E. E.; Short, R. E.; Haferkamp, M. R.; Heitschmidt, R. K. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    The effects of animal age and sex on chemical and botanical composition of diets of cattle grazing native rangelands were evaluated in a 2-year study. Samples were collected monthly from June through October using esophageally cannulated suckling calves, yearling heifers, mature cows, and mature steers. Dietary crude protein and digestibility differed among animal classes, but these differences varied over time. These 2 diet quality indicators did not vary in the same manner over time for all animal classes. Dietary crude protein varied from a low of 7.2% for steers in August 1994 to a high of 14.3% for heifers in June 1993. In vitro digestibility varied from a low of 50.7% for cows in October 1993 to a high of 74.3% for calves in June 1993. Botanical composition of diets varied with animal class and sampling date with interactions among these. Cool-season grasses accounted for an average of 70% of the diet with a range of 33 to 90%. Shrubs varied from 1 to 61% of the diet. Differences in chemical composition among age and sex classes of cattle grazing native rangeland during the growing season may be partially related to differences in botanical composition of diets. Animals used to obtain diet samples should, therefore, be of similar physiological state and age as animals being monitored for performance.
  • Estimation of horizontal cover

    Collins, W. B.; Becker, E. F. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    A method was developed to provide ecologists with an objective and efficient means for point sampling horizontal cover. This method produced estimates significantly (p < 0.05) more precise than cover pole and checkerboard methods, reducing variability among observers. The new method was significantly (p < 0.05) faster, than the other techniques. Factors affecting variability of measurements were reviewed.
  • Detecting fragmentation of cover in desert grasslands using line intercept

    Kuehl, R. O.; McClaran, M. P.; Va, J. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    Changes in the amount or spatial distribution of grass plants are thought to be indicative of the stability of desert grasslands. This study assessed, through simulation, the sensitivity of statistical properties for distance between plants (fetch length), measured with a line intercept transect, to changes in the spatial distribution and amount of plant cover. Monitoring plots, 30 X 30 m, were simulated for 1, 2.5, 5, 10 and 15% grass cover with random and fragmented spatial distribution. Fetch lengths were measured on 2 randomly placed 30 m transects. In addition to the median and interquartile range, the asymmetry of the sampling distributions was measured with a ratio [(maximum-median)/(median-minimum)] that would identify the presence of at least 1 large open space. The accuracy of the fetch length method was confirmed by the similarity of its sampling distribution to that for the well known random point-to-plant sampling procedure. In both the fetch length and the point-to-plant measures, the median and interquartile range increased with decreasing cover for random and fragmented distribution. The asymmetry estimate increased sharply with increasing cover for the fragmented distribution but asymmetry was nearly constant with increasing cover for the random distribution. The results suggest that the evaluation of changes over time at a monitoring site could use fetch lengths measured along a line intercept transect to detect changes in both absolute and spatial arrangement of cover.
  • Estimating herbage standing crop with visual obstruction in tallgrass prairie

    Vermeire, L. T.; Gillen, R. L. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    We evaluated the visual obstruction method as a non-destructive means of estimating herbage standing crop in tallgrass prairie. Prediction models were developed for both plot-level and pasture-level estimates by regressing standing crop from clipped plots on visual obstruction measurements (VOM) from 48, 20-sample trials. Trials were conducted year-round on burned and non-burned sites in different seral stages and with various levels of productivity and grazing pressure. Separate models were required for burned and non-burned pastures, but both applied across all other variables and were unaffected by community heterogeneity. Coefficients of determination were 0.95 and 0.90 for burned and non-burned pastures, respectively. Use of a more precise measurement scale for visual obstruction did not improve the prediction models. Models for standing crop based on individual quadrats explained less variation than models based on transect averages. The highest correlations with visual obstruction were obtained with 20 x 50 cm quadrats placed adjacent to the measurement pole and oriented toward the observer. The visual obstruction method required little training and mean deviations of student readings from those of the trainer were less than 1 cm. Sampling efficiency is improved with the visual obstruction method because it is reasonably accurate and 6 times faster than clipping. Standing crop estimates can be calculated immediately and less field equipment is needed.
  • Spotted knapweed response to season and frequency of mowing

    Rinella, M. J.; Jacobs, J. S.; Sheley, R. L.; Borkowski, J. J. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    Spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa Lam.) is a non-indigenous weed that has invaded millions of hectares of rangeland in the United States. Mowing may be useful for reducing this weed. Our objective was to investigate the response of spotted knapweed and grasses to season and frequency of mowing. Response of grass and spotted knapweed to 16 mowing treatments applied annually for 3 years was studied at 2 sites. Treatments consisted of combinations of spring, summer, and fall mowing. Treatments were arranged in a randomized-complete-block design with 4 replications (16 treatments; 4 replications; 2 sites = 128 plots). After repeating mowing treatments for 3 years, a single fall mowing when spotted knapweed was in the flowering or seed producing stage reduced its cover and adult density as much as any treatment consisting of repeated mowing. Fall mowing decreased adult density 85 and 83% below that of the control at Sites 1 and 2, respectively. Treatments reduced seedling density at Site 2, but the response was not consistent between years or among treatments. Spotted knapweed cover was decreased by several mowing treatments at each site (10-36%), while grass cover was only decreased by 3 mowing treatments (18-23%) at Site 1 in 1998. We recommend a single annual mowing, applied at the flowering or seed producing stage, for the partial control of spotted knapweed.
  • Variations in soil moisture content in a rangeland catchment

    Salve, R.; Allen-Diaz, B. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    Soil water studies for California rangelands have focussed on near-surface hydrologic processes, limiting our understanding of spatial-temporal dynamics of the water regime below the root zone. Soil moisture content and potential were monitored for 16 months in 12 locations in an annual grass dominated 20 ha catchment. The data collected were analyzed by ANOVA to determine significant spatial and temporal differences in soil moisture. Further analysis identified variables that influenced the amount of moisture present at a particular subsurface location. It was determined that there were significant differences in the amount of soil moisture present along the vertical profile of each site and between sites. Soil texture, type of vegetation cover, and elevation were the significant variables that influenced the soil moisture status.
  • Rotationally stocked beef cattle responses to daily and weekly residence

    Boyd, N. S.; Astatkie, T.; Fredeen, A. H.; Martin, R. C. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    Rotational stocking is a component of intensive pasture management and involves the systematic movement of animals among paddocks to optimize harvest of digestible nutrients. The optimum period of residence time for beef cattle in a paddock has not been researched in Atlantic Canada. A series of experiments were conducted at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College during the 1994, 1995, and 1996 grazing seasons to determine if short residence times (1 day) or longer residence times (6 or 7 days) encouraged higher average daily gains (ADG) in beef cattle. In 1994 and 1995, Hereford steers were used, and in 1996, Hereford heifers were used to compare the effects of daily and weekly residence times. In the mid to late season of 1994, a preliminary study with fewer replicates than in 1995 and 1996 indicated that the steers with a daily and weekly residence time gained 1.18 and 1.09 kg animal-1 day-1, respectively. Based on these results the project was expanded with the hypothesis that daily residence times result in higher average daily gains compared with weekly residence times. In both 1995 and 1996, cattle ADG for the first part of the season was higher with weekly residence times and similar near mid-season. Near the end of the grazing season the trend reversed with the daily residence time producing a higher cattle ADG. The results of this study indicate that animal performance could be maximized by long rotation cycles during periods of rapid forage growth and short rotation cycles during periods of slow forage growth. In all years, animals were finished on pasture with no visible yellow fat.
  • Range condition, tenure, management, and bio-physical relationships in Sonora, Mexico

    Coronado-Quintana, J. A.; McClaran, M. P. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    The objective of this study was to describe the relationship among range condition scores, tenure system, management practices and bio-physical variables for 107 communal ejido ranches and 373 private ranches in Sonora, Mexico. The data was obtained from assessments of range condition and recommended carrying capacity for individual ranch units that were completed between 1973 and 1993 by the Comision Tecnica para la Determinacion de Coeficientes de Agostadero. Variables measured were range condition, land tenure (communal ejido or private ranch), management characteristics (human density, livestock stocking rate, ranch size, and infrastructure condition), and bio-physical characteristics (rangeland site quality and precipitation in the year of assessment). We used a combination of simple, univariate chi-square analyses and more complex, multi-variate ordered logistic regression analyses to assess the relationships among these variables. There was no evidence from the logistic regression analysis that range condition of ranches in Sonora was related to the ejido or private tenure systems. Infrastructure condition was different between the 2 tenure systems, and infrastructure condition was positively related to range condition for both ejido and private ranches. Based on the univariate and multivariate analyses, precipitation amounts in the year of assessment was less for private ranches, and range condition on private ranches was more sensitive to precipitation than ejido ranches. Compared to estimates made in the 1960's and 1970's in other parts of Mexico, we found there to be less of a difference in stocking rate between the more lightly stocked private ranches and more heavily stocked ejido ranches, and generally good condition infrastructure on all ranches. The important relationship between precipitation and range condition implies that range condition assessments should be done over many years to produce estimates of trend that can be compared across wet and dry years.
  • Sheep grazing spotted knapweed and Idaho fescue

    Olson, B. E.; Wallander, R. T. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    Spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa Lam.), an Eurasian perennial forb, is replacing many native perennial grasses, such as Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis Elmer.), throughout the Northern Rocky Mountain region. Our objective was to determine sheep use of spotted knapweed and Idaho fescue during 3 consecutive summers (1991-1993). Each summer, 3 small spotted knapweed infested pastures were grazed for 5-8 days in mid-June, 2-6 days in mid-July, and 1-6 days in early September. Nutritive value of spotted knapweed leaves and flowerheads were consistently higher than of Idaho fescue. Nutritive value for both species declined as the summer progressed. The sheep readily grazed spotted knapweed, but they also grazed other plants, including the native Idaho fescue. They did not consistently graze 1 species more than another, which may have reflected daily weather patterns, slight differences in forage nutritive value, or cyclic grazing patterns which are often associated with plants containing secondary compounds, such as spotted knapweed. At the end of many grazing periods, heights of grazed spotted knapweed plants were greater than those of Idaho fescue, which reflected how the sheep grazed leaves and avoided fibrous stems of mature spotted knapweed plants, whereas they were not selective when grazing Idaho fescue. Although the sheep did not graze spotted knapweed exclusively, probably because animals seek diverse diets, their use of this noxious weed may help restore a balance in competitive relations between this noxious weed and native grasses.
  • Assessing independence of animal locations with association matrices

    Weber, K. T.; Burcham, M.; Marcum, C. L. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    We developed and used association matrix, association pattern, and pattern recognition software (ASSOC1) to investigate the spatio-temporal association of individual radio-collared elk with other radio-collared elk in a study area in western Montana. These procedures were used to approximate the amount of time each individual spent with another individual, and assess the level of independence at which these elk acted. The results of this study will allow wildlife biologists to better understand animal movements and herd dynamics, and evaluate the independence of animal locations for home range calculation and habitat use-availability analysis.
  • Dry-weight-rank method assessment in heterogenous communities

    Dowhower, S. L.; Teague, W. R.; Ansley, R. J.; Pinchak, W. E. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    Assessment of herbaceous standing crop in heterogeneous range plant communities requires large numbers of samples to account for inherent variability. The dry-weight-rank method (DWR) was developed to eliminate the need for clipping and sorting of herbage to determine relative proportions on a dry weight basis. The technique was assessed for applicability and accuracy in the mixed prairie of the Texas Rolling Plains. Much of the herbage within the communities investigated occurred in monospecific patches that resulted in only 15% of quadrats having 3 species ranked for which DWR was designed. Non-harvest methods of determining grass proportion by species were compared to harvested proportions in mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa Torr.) and redberry juniper (Juniperus pinchotii Sudw.) communities. Estimation methods evaluated were 1) harvest by species, 2) weight estimation by species, 3) DWR with quadrat weighting, 4) unweighted estimated proportion by species, and 5) unweighted DWR. Correlations of non-harvest to harvest proportions were improved with quadrat weighting. Weighting improved values more in the juniper than in the mesquite communities. Although cumulative ranking of DWR multipliers was necessary in 85% of sample quadrats, there was a high correlation (r2>0.995) between weight estimation and weighted DWR and between estimated proportion and unweighted DWR. This indicates that cumulative ranking with the original DWR multipliers was virtually the same as evaluator estimation. Analysis of variance indicated significant differences in non-harvest methods compared to harvesting. Quadrat weighting with DWR was necessary to draw the same statistical conclusions between means that harvest data provided. Ranks are easier to apply and more likely to be applied similarly by individual evaluators than estimated proportions. For sites with high standing crop variation and patchiness of species that require considerable use of cumulative ranking, DWR with quadrat weighting provides adequate determination of species proportions of biomass.
  • Coyote responses to changing jackrabbit abundance affect sheep predation

    Stoddart, L. C.; Griffiths, R. E.; Knowlton, F. F. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    Domestic sheep ranchers generally perceive abundances of natural prey and coyotes (Canis latrans) as important factors affecting coyote predation rates on sheep. To determine the effect of a changing natural prey base on coyote predation rates, we estimated coyote density and predation rates on ewes and lambs during part of 1 cycle of black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) abundance on a 2,300 km2 area of the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory in southcentral Idaho from 1979-1985. We used 100, 1.6-km scat collection lines and 80, 1.6-km flushing transects to assess coyote and jackrabbit densities, respectively. Ewe and lamb loss rates were determined from questionnaires sent to all 13 producers grazing sheep on the area. Spring coyote density varied from 0.10 to 1.39 coyotes km-2 in response to a systematic fluctuation in jackrabbit density from 0 to 243 jackrabbits km-2. Reported total loss rates of ewes and lambs varied from 2.2 to 42.1 ewes/10(5) ewe-days and 33.0 to 163 lambs/10(5) lamb-days and were linearly and directly related to coyote density (P < 0.005). Ewe and lamb loss rates were independent of jackrabbit density (P > 0.18) except for 1 year when jackrabbits were virtually absent from the study area and the loss of lambs escalated dramatically. Our data suggest the increased losses of lambs resulted from reduced buffering by natural prey.
  • Prairie dog effects on harvester ant species diversity and density

    Kretzer, J. E.; Cully, J. F. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    The purpose of this study was to determine if black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus Ord) influence harvester ant nest density and species composition within the shortgrass prairie biome of southwestern Kansas. Two treatments were established: areas colonized by prairie dogs and areas not colonized by prairie dogs. We recorded 183 harvester ant nests of 3 species. Harvester ant nest density did not differ significantly between prairie dog colonies (3.08 nests ha-1) and non-colonized shortgrass prairie sites (4.54 nests ha-1), but species composition did. Pogonomyrmex rugosus Emery was the most frequent species on prairie dog colonies where it accounted for 87% of ant nests present, as opposed to 33% on sites where prairie dogs were absent. Pogonomyrmex barbatus Smith was the most abundant species on non-colonized areas, making up 49% of the ant nests sampled. Pogonomyrmex occidentalis Cresson comprised 11% of ant nests sampled, and was nearly absent from prairie dog colonies (20 nests on non-colonized sites vs. 1 nest on prairie dog colonies). The average number of harvester ant species found per site was consistently greater on sites where prairie dogs were absent.
  • Viewpoint: The response of central North American prairies to seasonal fire

    Engle, D. M.; Bidwell, T. G. (Society for Range Management, 2001-01-01)
    Natural fires on the native grasslands of Oklahoma and Kansas were important for maintaining ecosystem structure and function. Today, land managers largely conduct prescribed fires in the late dormant season or they do not burn at all. When wildfires occur in other seasons, conventional wisdom assumes that desirable forage species for cattle are compromised. This assumption is based on a few fire studies limited in breadth and scope. To address this, we revisited numerous data sets to quantify the influence of season of fire on plant production and species composition. Research demonstrates that tallgrass prairie burned in the late spring starts growth earlier, grows more rapidly early in the growing season, and produces more tall grasses than unburned prairie. We contrast this response with the literature reporting the results of fire occurring in other seasons. Fire effects vary with fire frequency, fire-return interval, grazing history, herbicide use, successional stage, weather pattern, edaphic features, and topography. Our review of research suggests that a variety of responses to fire season are possible and rules-of-thumb that generalize responses are misleading. Most of the research on fire also does not report the interaction of fire and herbivory. Thus it is difficult to judge the influence of fire within the context of herbivory. Results from ongoing research suggest that the prairie is far more resilient under the interaction of fire and herbivory than earlier believed.