• 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.
    • A Primer: Extension, Indian Land Tenure, and Rangeland Limitations

      Brewer, Joseph P.; Hiller, Joseph G.; Burke, Shawn; Teegerstrom, Trent (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
      On the Ground • Rangelands in Indian Country are unique. Legal and historical realities present challenges to range and natural resources management not seen outside of Indian Country. • Cooperative Extension educational programs are highly valued for their important impact on Agriculture and Natural Resources in counties. These programs exist on less then 10% of Americas Indian Reservations. Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program (FRTEP) personnel, in the few places where they are funded, are a sought after resource to tribal individuals and communities in Indian Country.
    • A Workshop on Future Directions of Usable Science for Rangeland Sustainability

      Maczko, Kristie A.; Hidinger, Lori A.; Tanaka, John A.; Ellis, Chad R. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
      On the Ground • As funding for rangeland research becomes more difficult to secure, researchers and funding organizations must ensure that the information needs of public and private land managers are met. • Usable science that involves the intended end users throughout the scientific enterprise and gives rise to improved outcomes and informed management on the ground should be emphasized. • The SRR workshop on Future Directions of Usable Science for Rangeland Sustainability brought together university and agency researchers, public and private land managers and producers, non-governmental organizations, and representatives of funding agencies and organizations to initiate the process of charting a research agenda for future directions of usable science for rangeland sustainability. • Workshop outcomes address issues and research questions for soil health, water, vegetation (plants), animals, and socio-economic aspects of rangeland sustainability.
    • Acknowledgments

      Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01
    • Adaptive Management for Drought on Rangelands

      Derner, Justin D.; Augustine, David J. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
      On the Ground • Adaptive management can be used to manage complexity, such as how to match forage production variability across years and within portions of a grazing season with animal demand through management flexibility. • Adaptive management strategies should incorporate flexibility and feedback mechanisms informed by appropriate seasonal weather variables and monitoring metrics to both increase resiliency of rangeland ecosystems and reduce risk for the ranching enterprise associated with drought. • For management flexibility, we provide four general strategies that ranchers can use to deal with drought: 1) predict it using weather and climate forecasting tools, 2) track it, 3) employ conservative stocking rates, and 4) utilize inherent spatial variability. • Adaptive grazing management plans that seek to integrate drought prediction tools, conservative but flexible stocking, and existing and predicted spatial heterogeneity in forage quantity and quality can be incorporated into conservation practices where spatial heterogeneity in forage resources within and among allotments/pastures is often not explicitly monitored or considered when planning livestock movements.
    • Advancing Knowledge for Proactive Drought Planning and Enhancing Adaptive Management for Drought on Rangelands: Introduction to a Special Issue

      Kelley, Windy K.; Scasta, John Derek; Derner, Justin D. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
      On the Ground • Drought adversely affects land managers, ranching enterprises, and pastoral systems. • As an ecological driver, drought historically shaped vegetation composition, structure, diversity, and productivity of rangelands leading to varying levels of resilience in these ecosystems. • Drought influences risk management in decision making by rangeland managers, resulting in a renewed emphasis on the importance of proactive drought planning and adaptive management for drought with monitoring-informed decision making.
    • Assessing Drought Vulnerability Using a Socioecological Framework

      Brown, Joel R.; Kluck, Doug; McNutt, Chad; Hayes, Michael (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
      On the Ground • Drought is a persistent problem on rangelands and adjusting management to respond appropriately is critical to both preserving natural resources and to maintaining financial viability. • We explore the value of using a structured assessment approach to determining both social and ecological vulnerability. • This approach allows for the identification of vulnerable ecosystems and business operations at regional and local scales as a basis for developing effective policies and programs.
    • Bison Weights From National Parks in the Northern Great Plains

      Licht, Daniel S. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
      On the Ground • Female bison at three Northern Great Plains parks reached maximum size at 5.5 years of age. Male bison reached maximum size around 10.5 years of age. • The mean weight for females 5.5 years old and older was 473 kg, and for males 10.5 years old and older was 816 kg. The mean weight for yearling females was 307 kg, and for yearling males was 325 kg. • There were significant differences in bison weights between the three parks even though the herds were all stocked well below the forage-based carrying capacity. • Heavier calves and yearlings tended to be heavier adults; however, there was much variability among individuals. • Accurate and unambiguous data on bison weights can be used to set stocking rates and make other management decisions and therefore should be collected whenever possible.
    • Browsing the Literature

      Mosley, Jeff (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    • Browsing the Literature

      Mosley, Jeff (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    • Browsing the Literature

      Mosley, Jeff (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
    • 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.
    • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
    • Cast Off the Shackles of Academia! Use Participatory Approaches to Tackle Real-World Problems With Underserved Populations

      Coppock, D. Layne (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
      On the Ground • When scientists or change agents engage other cultures to problem-solve, there is a high risk of miscommunication and project failure. • This process can be further crippled by traditionally rigid, top-down academic approaches that focus investigators on predefined issues lacking relevance to the top-priority concerns of local communities. • Participatory, adaptive methods of public engagement, in contrast, are now being increasingly used in such situations. They help researchers work more effectively by building more authentic partnerships with stakeholders so that real problems and sustainable solutions can be identified. • Such methods can also promote insightful, interdisciplinary science and more effective public service.
    • 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.