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

  • Meta-analysis of diet composition and potential conflict of wild horses with livestock and wild ungulates on western rangelands of North America

    Scasta, J.D.; Beck, J.L.; Angwin, C.J. (Society for Range Management, 2016)
    Wild horse (Equus ferus caballus) management in western North America is an escalating concern for ecological integrity on these landscapes. Identifying potential diet overlap among horses, livestock, and wildlife will inform management decisions to optimize multiple interests.To understand dietary relationships, we conducted a quantitative synthesis of microhistological fecal studies for wild horse, beef cattle (Bos spp.), domestic sheep (Ovis aries), elk (Cervus elaphus), pronghorn (Antilocapra americana), and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) diet composition on western rangelands of North America. Our search yielded 60 studies from 14 states, 1 Canadian province, and 2 Mexican states with 392 unique species-season samples. We summarized plant species into graminoid, forb, and browse functional groups. For wild horses, seasonal diet composition means for graminoids (77-89%), forbs (4-15%), and browse (3-10%) did not vary seasonally for any plant group (P ≤ 0.05). Univariate analyses and the calculation of effect sizes corroborated our finding that graminoid composition explained the potential overlap of wild horses with cattle regardless of season, with sheep and elk in the spring, with sheep in the summer, and with elk in the fall and winter. Although data indicate wild horse diets are primarily composed of graminoids, several studies reported unusual, regionally specific shifts in response to winter snow that limited graminoid accessibility, leading to higher browse composition. Season, plant composition, and ungulate assemblage may all influence dietary competition between wild horses and other large ungulate sharing western North American rangelands; however, the low and nonsignificant heterogeneity values at alpha 0.01 for cattle:horse effect size comparisons suggest that cattle and horses respond to regional and seasonal variation similarly - A result not observed for other ungulate:horse comparisons. Our meta-analysis provides a robust data set for evaluations of diet composition for wild horses, livestock, and wildlife, whereas no empirical studies have assessed all species together. © 2016 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc.
  • Long-term fire effects on native and invasive grasses in protected area sagebrush steppe

    Reed-Dustin, C.M.; Mata-González, R.; Rodhouse, T.J. (Society for Range Management, 2016)
    Following western settlement, fire was suppressed directly and indirectly by Euro-American land management practices. Currently, reintroduction of fire into sagebrush steppe systems may be desirable, but long-term fire effects are not well-known. In this 15-year study we used a generalized linear mixed modeling approach to analyze the response of native and invasive grass species to fire in anan Artemisia tridentata subsp. wyomingensis (Wyoming big sagebrush) community in north-central Oregon, United States. This study examined responses of Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass), Pseudoroegneria spicata (bluebunch wheatgrass), and Poa secunda (Sandberg bluegrass) along gradients of community type and topography through time post fire. Community types were identified as either A. tridentata subsp. wyomingensis dominant (brush plots) or Juniperus occidentalis (western juniper) dominant (woodland plots). Cover of B. tectorum was greatest in brush plots. B. tectorum cover increased significantly 5 yr post burn and stabilized. At 5 yr, postburn cover of B. tectorum was 135% in brush and 301% in woodland plots of preburn cover. P. spicata was more abundant in woodland plots than in brush plots. In woodland plots, P. spicata cover decreased by 49% 1 yr post burn but returned to preburn cover by 5 yr post burn. On northern exposures recovery of P. spicata cover occurred between 1 and 2 yr post burn, whereas on southern exposures recovery occurred between 2 and 5 yr post burn. The cover of P. secunda did not show a significant response to fire. These results suggest the importance of topography and plant community in determining postfire community response and underscores the importance of place-based studies to guide management and conservation actions.
  • Estimating annual root decomposition in grassland systems

    Chang, J.; Clay, D.E.; Smart, A.J.; Clay, S.A. (Society for Range Management, 2016)
    Calculated belowground buried root bag decomposition rates may be impacted by soil disturbance and that mesh bags can exclude potential degraders. This paper explicitly compares the sequential soil sampling method to the buried root bag approach to determine if biomass degradation estimates over a season differ. The research was conducted at two eastern South Dakota grassland sites (loamy and thin upland ecological sites) in 2011 and 2012 in an area where the grassland vegetation was killed to prevent new root growth. In the sequential core technique, a composite sample consisting of three 4-cm diameter soil cores from the 0- to 15- and 15- to 30-cm depth were collected monthly from May to October, whereas five residue bags were placed 7 cm below the soil surface in spring and removed at the last soil sampling date. The sequential core (61% ± 7.2) and residue bag (58% ± 7.2) techniques had similar root decomposition amounts; however, the sequential core technique had a lower labor requirement than the residue bag technique when the increased sampling requirement was considered. © 2016 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc.
  • Elk foraging site selection on foothill and mountain rangeland in spring

    Crane, K.K.; Mosley, J.C.; Mosley, T.K.; Frost, R.A.; Smith, M.A.; Fuller, W.L.; Tess, M.W. (Society for Range Management, 2016)
    Previous research suggests facilitative grazing by cattle during the preceding summer-fall can enhance spring foraging habitat of Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni). However, previous studies were limited to 1 year or conducted within relatively small experimental pastures. We evaluated elk foraging site selection during spring across 4 years and 59 040 ha of foothill and mountain rangeland in northwestern Wyoming and west-central Montana. Elk in spring avoided foraging in nonforested portions of cattle-grazed pastures where cattle had not grazed during the previous summer - early fall. In contrast, elk selected foraging sites where cattle had grazed lightly (11-30% forage use) or moderately (31 -60% forage use), and selection by elk was stronger for moderately grazed sites. Neither moderate nor light cattle grazing intensity were correlated with any other elk habitat attribute that we sampled, and both moderate and light cattle grazing intensity exerted more influence on elk foraging site selection than any other variables, including distance to security cover, distance to primitive roads, distance to improved roads, aspect, or slope. We developed and validated a resource selection model that correctly classified 80-89% of elk foraging observations across five study sites and 4 years. Resource managers can use our model to map predicted changes in elk grazing distribution when considering potential habitat adjustments in security cover, roads, or cattle grazing intensities and distribution. Our results indicate that resource managers can use targeted cattle grazing in summer - early fall to purposely modify elk forage conditions to 1) increase elk foraging efficiency in spring, 2) lure elk away from places needing rest or deferment from spring elk grazing, or 3) lure elk away from places where elk in spring are experiencing conflicts with humans, predators, or other wildlife. © 2016 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc.
  • Disturbance history, management, and seeding year precipitation influences vegetation characteristics of crested wheatgrass stands

    Nafus, A.M.; Svejcar, T.J.; Davies, K.W. (Society for Range Management, 2016)
    Crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum [L] Gaertm. and Agropyron desertorum [Fisch.] Schult.) has been seeded across millions of hectares of the sagebrush steppe and is often associated with native species displacement and low biological diversity. However, native vegetation composition of these seedings can be variable. To gain better understanding of the correlation between vegetation characteristics of crested wheatgrass seedings and their seeding history and management, we evaluated 121 crested wheatgrass seedings across a 54 230-km2 area in southeastern Oregon. Higher precipitation in the year following seeding of crested wheatgrass has long-term, negative effects on Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. subsp. wyomingensis Beetle & Young) cover and density. Wyoming big sagebrush cover and density were positively correlated with age of seeding and time since fire. We also found that preseeding disturbance (burned, scarified, plowed, or herbicide) appears to have legacy effects on plant community characteristics. For example, herbicide-treated sites had significantly fewer shrubs than sites that were burned or scarified preseeding. Native vegetation cover and density were greater in grazed compared with ungrazed crested wheatgrass stands. The results of this study suggest a number of factors influence native vegetation cover and density within stands of seeded crested wheatgrass. Though disturbance history and precipitation following seeding can't be modified, management actions may affect the cover and abundance of native vegetation in crested wheatgrass stands. Notably, grazing may reduce monoculture characteristics of crested wheatgrass stands and fire exclusion may promote sagebrush and perennial forbs.
  • Contingency in defoliation and moisture effects on Northern Mixedgrass prairie composition and diversity

    Broadbent, T.S.; Bork, E.W.; Willms, W.D. (Society for Range Management, 2016)
    Little is known about how defoliation intensity and frequency alter plant community composition and diversity in northern Great Plains mixedgrass communities. We evaluated defoliation effects in combination with watering on vascular plant composition and diversity in two contrasting ecological sites, a drier upland and more mesic lowland, in the Dry Mixedgrass natural subregion of Alberta, Canada. Treatments were applied for three growing seasons (2010 through 2012, inclusive) and included defoliation regimes of high intensity at high frequency, high intensity at low frequency, low intensity at high frequency, and defoliation deferred until the end of the growing season. Moisture regimes were ambient and elevated. Defoliation rather than moisture was the primary determinant of plant composition after 3 yr, particularly in the lowland site. Watering effects on composition were more apparent in the drier upland. All growing season defoliation regimes markedly altered composition relative to the deferred control, with relatively minor differences in composition among growing season defoliation treatments, particularly in the mesic lowland site. We conclude that growing season defoliation alters mixedgrass composition by reducing canopy dominant grasses (Pascopyrum smithii and Hesperostipa comata) and releasing shorter-statured grasses and forbs, which can either increase or decrease diversity depending on site (edaphic) conditions and the relative dominance of midgrasses and shortgrasses (Koeleria macrantha and Bouteloua gracilis). Finally, increased moisture did not ameliorate defoliation effects during the growing season, suggesting compositional responses were predictable and independent of growing season defoliation regime. © 2016 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc.
  • Cheatgrass percent cover change: Comparing recent estimates to climate change - Driven predictions in the Northern Great Basin

    Boyte, S.P.; Wylie, B.K.; Major, D.J. (Society for Range Management, 2016)
    Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) is a highly invasive species in the Northern Great Basin that helps decrease fire return intervals. Fire fragments the shrub steppe and reduces its capacity to provide forage for livestock and wildlife and habitat critical to sagebrush obligates. Of particular interest is the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), an obligate whose populations have declined so severely due, in part, to increases in cheatgrass and fires that it was considered for inclusion as an endangered species. Remote sensing technologies and satellite archives help scientists monitor terrestrial vegetation globally, including cheatgrass in the Northern Great Basin. Along with geospatial analysis and advanced spatial modeling, these data and technologies can identify areas susceptible to increased cheatgrass cover and compare these with greater sage grouse priority areas for conservation (PAC). Future climate models forecast a warmer and wetter climate for the Northern Great Basin, which likely will force changing cheatgrass dynamics. Therefore, we examine potential climate-caused changes to cheatgrass. Our results indicate that future cheatgrass percent cover will remain stable over more than 80% of the study area when compared with recent estimates, and higher overall cheatgrass cover will occur with slightly more spatial variability. The land area projected to increase or decrease in cheatgrass cover equals 18% and 1%, respectively, malking an increase in fire disturbances in greater sage grouse habitat likely. Relative susceptibility measures, created by integrating cheatgrass percent cover and temporal standard deviation datasets, show that potential increases in future cheatgrass cover match future projections. This discovery indicates that some greater sage grouse PACs for conservation could be at heightened risk of fire disturbance. Multiple factors will affect future cheatgrass cover including changes in precipitation timing and totals and increases in freeze-thaw cycles. Understanding these effects can help direct land management, guide scientific research, and influence policy. © 2016 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc.
  • Assessment of range planting as a conservation practice

    Hardegree, S.P.; Jones, T.A.; Roundy, B.A.; Shaw, N.L.; Monaco, T.A. (Society for Range Management, 2016)
    Natural Resource Conservation Service Range Planting - Conservation Practice Standards provide guidelines for making decisions about seedbed preparation, planting methods, plant materials selection, seeding rate, seeding depth, timing of seeding, postplanting management, and weed control. Adoption of these standards is expected to contribute to successful improvement of vegetation composition and productivity of grazed plant communities. Also expected are some specific conservation effects, such as improved forage for livestock; improved forage, browse, or cover for wildlife; improved water quality and quantity; reduced wind or water erosion; and increased carbon sequestration. The success of specific conservation practices and the magnitude of conservation effects are highly dependent on ecological-site characteristics, the initial degree of deviation from desired site characteristics, and weather, all of which are highly variable in both time and space. Previous research has produced few studies directly linking range planting conservation practices to conservation effects. Assessment of conservation effects attributed to rangeland planting practices must, therefore, be separated into two components: 1) evidence of the degree to which specific management practices have been shown to result in desirable vegetation change and 2) evidence supporting positive conservation effects of alternative vegetation states. The aggregate literature generally supports both 1) the existing conservation practice recommendations for rangeland seeding and 2) the inherent assumption that if these practices are successful, they will result in beneficial conservation effects. High spatial and temporal variability in these systems, however, may limit the success of generic or prescriptive management practices. Current conservation practice recommendations could be improved by incorporating more direct linkages to the ecologically based technical literature, more up-to-date information on adaptive management strategies in highly variable rangeland systems, and integration of monitoring strategies designed to directly test the efficacy of specific conservation practices.
  • Assessing the potential for transitions from tallgrass prairie to woodlands: Are we operating beyond critical fire thresholds?

    Ratajczak, Z.; Briggs, J.M.; Goodin, D.G.; Luo, L.; Mohler, R.L.; Nippert, J.B.; Obermeyer, B. (Society for Range Management, 2016)
    A growing body of evidence suggests humans are pushing ecosystems near or beyond key ecological thresholds, resulting in transitions to new, sometimes undesirable phases or states that are costly to reverse. We used remotely sensed fire data to assess if the Flint Hills - A landscape of tallgrass prairie in the Central Great Plains, United States-is operating beyond fire frequency thresholds. Long-term fire experiments and observational evidence suggests that applying prescribed fire at return intervals > 3 yr can lead to transitions from grassland to shrubland. Fire return intervals > 10 yr and complete fire suppression, in particular, can result in transitions to woodlands over 30 - 50 yr. Once shrublands and woodlands are established, restoration back to grassland is difficult with prescribed fires. We applied these fire frequency cutoffs to remotely sensed fire data from 2000 to 2010 in the Flint Hills, identifying the extent of tallgrass prairie susceptible to shrub and tree expansion. We found that 56% (15 620 km2) of grasslands in this region are burned less than every 3 yr and are therefore susceptible to conversion to shrub or tree dominance. The potential effects of this large-scale shift are greater risk for evergreen (Juniperus virginiana) woodland fires, reduced grazing potential, and increased abundance of woodland adapted species at the expense of the native grassland biota. Of the 12 127-km2 area likely to remain grassland, 43% is burned approximately annually, contributing to vegetative homogenization and potential airquality issues. While this synthesis forecasts a precarious future for tallgrass prairie conservation and their ecosystem services, increases in shrub or tree dominances are usually reversible until fire frequency has been reduced for more than 20 yr. This delay leaves a small window of opportunity to return fire to the landscape and avoid large-scale transformation of tallgrass prairie. © 2016 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc.
  • Adapting the fire-grazing interaction to small pastures in a fragmented landscape for grassland bird conservation

    Duchardt, C.J.; Miller, J.R.; Debinski, D.M.; Engle, D.M. (Society for Range Management, 2016)
    In North America, the loss of habitat heterogeneity resulting from homogeneous livestock grazing is one factor contributing to steep population declines of many grassland bird species. Patch-burn grazing is a management technique that uses historic grassland disturbance as a model to create heterogeneous grassland composition and structure, providing for the diverse habitat requirements of grassland birds. Though this management technique has been used successfully in relatively extensive grasslands, its utility on smaller grassland patches is less clear. We examined the efficacy of patch-burn grazing to restore habitat heterogeneity and increase grassland bird diversity in relatively small pastures (15-32 ha) in a grassland landscape fragmented by cultivation and tree encroachment. In 2006, we established 12 experimental pastures in the Grand River Grasslands of southern Iowa and northern Missouri, with 4 pastures in each of three treatments: 1) patch-burn graze, with spatially discrete fires and free access by cattle (the fire-grazing interaction), 2) graze-and-burn, with free access by cattle and a single burn of the entire pasture every third year, and 3) burn-only, with a single burn of the entire pasture every third year and no grazing. Patch-burn grazing in the first phase of the project (2007-2009) did not generate habitat heterogeneity or significant differences in bird diversity. From 2010 to 2013, stocking rates were reduced to increase residual vegetation in unburned patches at the end of the grazing season to increase heterogeneity. Habitat heterogeneity in patch-burn graze pastures subsequently increased relative to other treatments. Concomitantly, diversity of obligate grassland birds also increased in patch-burn graze pastures and was greatest in 2012 and 2013. We conclude that the fire-grazing interaction can be used to restore habitat heterogeneity and increase grassland bird diversity, even in relatively small grassland patches embedded in a highly fragmented landscape. © 2016 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc.