Welcome to the Rangelands archives. The archives provide public access, in a "rolling window" agreement with the Society for Range Management, to Rangelands (1979-present) from v.1 up to two years from the present year.

The most recent issues of Rangelands are available with 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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ISSN: 0190-0528


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  • Editorial: An Introduction to the Special Issue “Ecological Sites for Landscape Management”

    Brown, Joel R.; Bestelmeyer, Brandon T. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
  • Completing the Land Resource Hierarchy

    Salley, Shawn W.; Monger, H. Curtis; Brown, Joel R. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • The Land Resource Hierarchy is a useful framework for organizing natural resource information and can provide both insight and explanation while maintaining consistency in terminology, concepts, and interpretations across scales is a challenge. • While some scales of the Land Resource Hierarchy are well developed, with all land area assigned to quantitatively defined groups, other scales lack organizing concepts, relationships, and definitions that allow for testing and revision. • Ecological sites and ecological site groups represent distinct scales in the Land Resource Hierarchy framework, so they should be based on appropriate quantitative variables that can be used to define and communicate their extent and behavior.
  • Using Ecological Site Information to Improve Landscape Management for Ecosystem Services

    Brown, Joel R.; Havstad, Kris M. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • Ecological sites and their component state-and-transition models are valuable tools for predicting the effects of climatic and management changes on a variety of ecosystem services. • Site-specific information must be able to be both refined to finer scales to account for spatiotemporal variability within a mapped site and expanded to include interactions with other sites in the landscape to identify priorities and account for integrative disturbances and ecosystem services such as wildlife habitat, hydrology, fire, insect outbreak and invasive species. • Ecological site groups, spatially contiguous and behaviorally similar, are an important level in the land hierarchy to organize and interpret information.
  • The Role of Data and Inference in the Development and Application of Ecological Site Concepts and State-and-Transition Models

    Karl, Jason W.; Talbot, Curtis J. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • Information embodied in ecological site descriptions and their state-and-transition models is crucial to effective land management, and as such is needed now. • There is not time (or money) to employ a traditional research-based approach (i.e., inductive/deductive, hypothesis driven inference) to address the unknowns in developing and documenting ecological site concepts. • We propose that the development of ecological site products is a dynamic task of defining concepts and processes that best explain the available data (i.e., abductive reasoning), and as such a more iterative approach to their development is needed than is currently used. • Under the proposed approach, ecological site concepts are never viewed as final but only the best representation that is supported by available knowledge and data. • The natural result of this way of thinking is that products like ecological site descriptions and state-and-transition models should continually be tested and improved as new data become available.
  • Improving the Effectiveness of Ecological Site Descriptions: General State-and-Transition Models and the Ecosystem Dynamics Interpretive Tool (EDIT)

    Bestelmeyer, Brandon T.; Williamson, Jeb C.; Talbot, Curtis J.; Cates, Greg W.; Duniway, Michael C.; Brown, Joel R. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • State-and-transition models (STMs) are useful tools for management, but they can be difficult to use and have limited content. • STMs created for groups of related ecological sites could simplify and improve their utility. The amount of information linked to models can be increased using tables that communicate management interpretations and important within-group variability. • We created a new web-based information system (the Ecosystem Dynamics Interpretive Tool) to house STMs, associated tabular information, and other ecological site data and descriptors. • Fewer, more informative, better organized, and easily accessible STMs should increase the accessibility of science information.
  • Case Study: Multistakeholder Development of State-and-Transition Models: A Case Study from Northwestern Colorado

    Bruegger, Retta A.; Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria E.; Tipton, Crystal Y.; Timmer, Jennifer M.; Aldridge, Cameron L. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • Engaging multiple stakeholders in building state-and-transition models (STMs) can increase the credibility and relevance they have to land managers. • Land managers and land stewards may be more likely to use STMs that were developed in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders. • The quality of STMs is improved when they are repeatedly revised based on new knowledge from research, multiple interactions with local stakeholders, and ecological field data.
  • Case Study: Generalizing Ecological Site Concepts of the Colorado Plateau for Landscape-Level Applications

    Duniway, Michael C.; Nauman, Travis W.; Johanson, Jamin K.; Green, Shane; Miller, Mark E.; Williamson, Jeb C.; Bestelmeyer, Brandon T. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • Numerous ecological site descriptions in the southern Utah portion of the Colorado Plateau can be difficult to navigate, so we held a workshop aimed at adding value and functionality to the current ecological site system. • We created new groups of ecological sites and drafted state-and-transition models for these new groups. • We were able to distill the current large number of ecological sites in the study area (ca. 150) into eight ecological site groups that capture important variability in ecosystem dynamics. • Several inventory and monitoring programs and landscape scale planning actions will likely benefit from more generalized ecological site group concepts.
  • Case Study: Provisional, Forested Ecological Sites in the Northern Appalachians and Their State-and-Transition Models

    Drohan, Patrick J.; Ireland, Alex W. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • The identification of unique areas of vegetative potential across the Northern Appalachians is complicated by a long land-use history of vegetation management. • We introduce provisional ecological sites and associated state-and-transition models for the region, which can be differentiated by latitudinal drivers of: precipitation and temperature; local parent material and resulting soil differences; and landscape position, slope, or aspect. • Identification of ecological sites and associated States or Phases in the Northern Appalachians provides land managers with quantifiable benchmarks for assessing forest compositional shifts due to natural or anthropogenic disturbance.
  • Case Study: Classifying Northern New England Landscapes for Improved Conservation

    Johanson, Jamin K.; Butler, Nicholas R.; Bickford, Carl I. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • Ecological land classification enables improved conservation by linking land types to vegetation, ecosystem services, disturbance regimes, and conservation practices. • Defining landscape-scale ecological site groups allows for the development of generalized state-and-transition models for summarizing the major ecological dynamics and associated conservation practices within a region. • We defined nine ecological sitegroups for northern New England(MLRA143) by identifying the fewest number of ecological classes as possible while retaining maximum utility of state-and-transition models for each class. • Ecological site groups provide scalability of ecological site information and simplify the development of ecological concepts and the application of appropriate conservation practices.
  • Case Study: Applying Ecological Site Concepts to Adaptive Conservation Management on an Iconic Californian Landscape

    Spiegal, Sheri; Bartolome, James W.; White, Michael D. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • Managers of large landscapes with limited financial resources can use ecological sites and state-and-transition models to identify landscape divisions with the highest chances of responding favorably to management activities. • This conceptual framework can help determine the optimal configuration of pastures and water developments so that conservation-focused grazing and response monitoring align with focal landscape divisions. • As communication tools, these models can help conservation land managers and graziers to better understand how the variation in landscapes affects the distribution of conservation targets and the specific locations where management can be tailored to enhance biodiversity.
  • Case Study: Disturbance Response Grouping of Ecological Sites Increases Utility of Ecological Sites and State-and-Transition Models for Landscape Scale Planning in the Great Basin

    Stringham, Tamzen K.; Novak-Echenique, Patti; Snyder, Devon K.; Peterson, Sarah; Snyder, Keirith A. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • Ecological sites often occur at scales too small for application in planning large-scale vegetation treatments or post-fire rehabilitation. • Disturbance Response Groups (DRGs) are used to scale up ecological sites by grouping ecological sites based on their responses to disturbances. • A state-and-transition model (STM) is created for the DRG and refined through field investigations for each ecological site thereby creating STMs that function at both DRG and ecological site scales. • The limited availability of ecological site descriptions hinders their use in large-scale management planning and may be a factor associated with the observed lack of application of available STMs • Standardization of ecological site mapping tools for GIS platforms would increase the utility of DRGs, STMs, and ecological site descriptions for many land managers in the western United States.
  • Case Study: Application of Ecological Site Information to Transformative Changes on Great Basin Sagebrush Rangelands

    Williams, C. Jason; Pierson, Frederick B.; Spaeth, Kenneth E.; Brown, Joel R.; Al-Hamdan, Osama Z.; Weltz, Mark A.; Nearing, Mark A.; Herrick, Jeffrey E.; Boll, Jan; Robichaud, Peter R.; et al. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • The utility of ecological site descriptions (ESD) in the management of rangelands hinges on their ability to characterize and predict plant community change, the associated ecological consequences, and ecosystem responsiveness to management. • We demonstrate how enhancement of ESDs with key ecohydrologic information can aid predictions of ecosystem response and targeting of conservation practices for sagebrush rangelands that are strongly regulated by ecohydrologic or ecogeomorphic feedbacks. • The primary point of this work is that ESD concepts are flexible and can be creatively augmented for improved assessment and management of rangelands.
  • A History of Plant Improvement by the USDA-ARS Forage and Range Research Laboratory for Rehabilitation of Degraded Western U.S. Rangelands

    Staub, Jack; Chatterton, Jerry; Bushman, Shaun; Johnson, Douglas; Jones, Thomas; Larson, Steve; Robins, Joseph; Monaco, Thomas (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • Climate change models for the western United States predict warmer winters in the Great Basin and hotter, drier summers in the Mojave Desert, increasing the already high rate of rangeland and pasture degradation, which in turn will increase annual grass invasion, escalate wildfire frequency, and reduce forage production. • These changes in western U.S. rangelands will continue to result in the emergence of novel ecosystems that will require different and/or improved plant materials for successful revegetation. • Traditional plant improvement of native and non-native rangeland plant species by the USDA, ARS Forage and Range Research Laboratory (FRRL, Logan, Utah) has been accomplished through rigorous evaluation of seed collections followed by recurrent selection and hybridization of unique plant types within selected populations to identify plants with superior establishment and performance characteristics. After such plant types have been selected, they are further evaluated in multiple ecologically diverse locations to identify broadly adapted superior germplasm for public release. • Plant improvement of perennial grasses, legumes, and forbs by the FRRL has provided and will continue to deliver plant materials that support sustainable rangeland management efforts to service productive and functionally diverse rangelands.
  • USDA-ARS Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory: History and Current Research on Western North American Rangelands

    Pfister, James A.; Cook, Daniel; Panter, Kip E.; Welch, Kevin D.; James, Lynn F. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • Poisonous plants on western North American rangelands have historically been troublesome to livestock producers. • Research on toxic plants was initiated by the United States Department of Agriculture in the late 1890s to solve problems for the livestock industry. • TheUnited States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Resource Service Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory in Logan, Utah continues to provide research-based solutions to poisonous plant problems besetting livestock producers, hobby farmers and small holders, veterinarians, and extension personnel. • Principal plants of current research interest include larkspur, lupine, locoweed, selenium accumulating plants, pyrrolizidine alkaloid-containing plants, and ponderosa pine.
  • The History and Overview of Utah’s Grazing Improvement Program

    Longmore, Ashley T.; Forrest, Troy (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • Livestock numbers have been declining since the early 1930s but many of the same resource concerns are still present today. • We must change the way we think about and manage livestock on our own in order to restore and maintain sustainable range resources. • The Utah Department of Agriculture and Foods Grazing Improvement Program reaches across land ownership and jurisdictional boundaries to foster collaboration among private, federal, and state interests to implement sound grazing management practices that improve rangeland and watershed health. • The Grazing Improvement Program focuses on three main principles: • Time (the duration of grazing), timing (the season of use), frequency (how often the same plant is grazed), and intensity (amount of forage removed); • Managing plant succession through grazing, mechanical, fire, chemical, and other means to enhance diversity and production (diversity = sustainability); • Monitoring and adaptive management (you cannot manage what you do not measure).
  • Lessons Learned from Bison Restoration Efforts in Utahi on Western Rangelands

    Bates, Bill; Hersey, Kent (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • Bison are considered the keystone species of the Great Plains but widespread slaughter led to their near extinction. • Utah has two wild, free-ranging herds on public lands managed as wildlife though hunting. Both herds are descended from animals reintroduced to the Henry Mountains in the 1940s and more recently the Book Cliffs in 2008. • Key elements for the successful ecological restoration of bison include: ∘ Legal designation of bison as wildlife in the state ∘ Genetically-pure, disease-free source ∘ Large expanses of habitat-they take a lot of room ∘ Potential conflicts must be identified and addressed in a transparent manner ∘ Mutual purpose and trust with all affected stakeholders is essential; i.e., ask, How can we have both sustainable livestock grazing and a viable bison herd on the unit? ∘ Active management to address changing situations and maintain herd size at a sustainable level
  • Quaking Aspen in Utah: Integrating Recent Science with Management

    Rogers, Paul C.; St. Clair, Samuel B. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • Quaking aspen is widely regarded as a key resource for humans, livestock, and wildlife with these values often competing with each other, leading to overuse of aspen in some locations and declines. • Wereview trends in aspen science and management, particularly in Utah. Historically, research conducted here holds a prestigious place in international aspen circles. • We highlight recent studies continuing the tradition to keep rangeland managers informed of important developments, focusing on aspen functional types, historical cover change and climate warming, ungulate herbivory, and disturbance interactions.
  • View Point: Commercial Wildland Harvested Seed and the Utah Connection

    Stevenson, Ronald M. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • The need for large-scale disturbed land rehabilitation in the west is well known but is recently receiving new attention. • Seeding appropriate species, varieties, and ecotypes is often needed to succeed in rehabilitation of these degraded landscapes. • Key people, organizations, and early and continuing research in Utah have been very influential in providing valuable information for degraded land rehabilitation. • Seed from the key species and ecotypes provided by wildland seed harvests are a very important part of successful land restoration. The wildland seed industry developed in Utah and dominates the supply of wildland seed in western land restoration.
  • Near-Real-Time Cheatgrass Percent Cover in the Northern Great Basin, USA, 2015 By Stephen

    Boyte, Stephen P.; Wylie, Bruce K. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) dramatically changes shrub steppe ecosystems in the Northern Great Basin, United States. • Current-season cheatgrass location and percent cover are difficult to estimate rapidly. • We explain the development of a near-real-time cheatgrass percent cover dataset and map in the Northern Great Basin for the current year (2015), display the current years map, provide analysis of the map, and provide a website link to download the map (as a PDF) and the associated dataset. • The near-real-time cheatgrass percent cover dataset and map were consistent with non-expedited, historical cheatgrass percent cover datasets and maps. • Having cheatgrass maps available mid-summer can help land managers, policy makers, and Geographic Information Systems personnel as they work to protect socially relevant areas such as critical wildlife habitats.
  • The Role of Cattle Grazing Management on Perennial Grass and Woody Vegetation Cover in Semiarid Rangelands: Insights From Two Case Studies in the Botswana Kalahari

    Mudongo, Edwin I.; Fusi, Tsholofelo; Fynn, Richard W.S.; Bonyongo, Mpaphi C. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    On the Ground • We assessed the long-term effects of continuous and rotational grazing on grass and treedynamics on adjacent ranches in the semiarid Kalahari of western Botswana. • Rotationally grazed ranches had higher grass cover with more perennial grass species, higher grazing value (and capacity), and higher long-term stocking rates than their continuously grazed neighbors. Tree cover tended to be higher on continuously grazed ranches, suggesting that long-term continuous grazing reduced grass production and favored establishment of woody vegetation. • Improvement in semiarid rangeland health and production is unlikely to be achieved simply by reducing stocking rates; uniform grazing and growing season recovery periods are essential. • These and other case studies suggest that benefits of grazing strategies likely depend on scale and adaptive management. Future research should be at larger spatial and temporal scales.

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