Rangelands, Volume 40, Number 4 (2018)
ABOUT THE COLLECTIONS
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.
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Army Cutworm Outbreak Produced Cheatgrass Die-offs and Defoliated Shrubs in Southwest Idaho in 2014Army cutworms consumed cheatgrass to produce cheatgrass die-offs at low elevations in southwest Idaho in 2014. The larvae also consumed foliage and bark of native shrubs. Army cutworm outbreaks seem to occur after many adult moths lay eggs in areas experiencing drought, which received late summer rain to germinate winter annuals, but little subsequent precipitation through the following winter. Army cutworms hide in plain sight by feeding at night in winter and hiding in soil or under objects during the day. A network of observers in the Intermountain West could help rangeland managers identify die-offs for reseeding with desirable species. The Society for Range Management
Reinterpreting the 1882 Bison Population CollapseMany people believe grazing management is vital to ecosystem health. Others feel ecosystems are only healthy when nature takes its course. The Great Plains bison population of the early 1800s supposedly supports the superiority of goal-free grazing management. By 1883, bison were virtually extinct, and hunting is usually blamed. However, records indicate that hunters killed less than the annual increase each year. Evidence implicates disease and habitat degradation instead. Comparing Allan Savory's observations in Africa, Lewis and Clark's observations in eastern Montana, and Blackfoot history, indications are the bison disappearance was perhaps triggered by the loss of intelligent human management. The Author
Influences of Precipitation on Bison Weights in the Northern Great PlainsWe evaluated relationships between bison weights and prior precipitation during 1983 to 2015 for Wind Cave and 1998 to 2015 for Badlands National Parks. We generally found positive correlations between weights for most sex and age cohorts and precipitation during each of the preceding 7 years. The association was strongest for yearlings. We speculate that rainfall several years prior can improve forage, which affects the condition of cows, which affects neonatal weights and subsequent growth of young bison. Correlations were stronger for a moving average of previous precipitation, suggesting a cumulative effect. Our analysis demonstrates the importance of long-term monitoring for better understanding of grassland ecosystems.