Now showing items 21-40 of 104022

    • Wildfire Management Across Rangeland Ownerships: Factors Influencing Rangeland Fire Protection Association Establishment and Functioning

      Stasiewicz, A.M.; Paveglio, T.B. (Society for Range Management, 2018-11)
      Policymakers and managers are promoting Rangeland Fire Protection Associations (RFPA) as one way to better incorporate private citizens as active participants who contribute to fire suppression efforts on public rangelands. While the RFPA program is growing in popularity, little is known about the way that RFPAs establish and operate. This is especially true in mosaic management scenarios characterized by fragmented landownerships and a variety of land or fire management entities responsible for wildfire suppression. Our goal was to investigate how an RFPA forms and functions in a management scenario characterized by: 1) proximity to exurban residential development; 2) agreements with multiple local, state, and federal wildfire suppression entities; and 3) a geographically disperse protection district. We conducted in-depth interviews with RFPA members, land or fire management professionals, emergency managers, and local interest groups who interact with the Black Canyon RFPA (BCRFPA) in southwestern Idaho. We found that the BCRFPA leveraged the insights, documents and support of existing RFPAs during their establishment, but ultimately had to adapt the RFPA idea to specific elements of their local context. Members of nearby rural fire districts were initially apprehensive about the formation of the BCRFPA due to concerns about resource competition (e.g., funding and large equipment). RFPA members with professional firefighting experience helped alleviate those tensions by explaining how the RFPA would integrate into existing wildfire management networks. The BCRFPA provided local knowledge about road conditions, water resources, and fuel conditions and initial attack to fill in gaps in landscape-level wildfire protection. However, the proximity of residential areas to the BCRFPA protection district made decisions about fire suppression more complex by introducing trade-offs between residential and rangeland resource protections. Ultimately, our results indicate that RFPAs can help rangeland human populations better adapt to wildfire risk, but that social fragmentation may challenge RFPA functioning.
    • Wild Seed Harvesting at Mountainous Species-Rich Grassland in Calcareous Italian Alps

      Scotton, M. (Society for Range Management, 2018-11)
      Wild harvesting is an efficient option for supplying seed to be used for restoring seminatural grasslands. Several methods are currently used to implement wild harvesting, but few controlled experiments have investigated its efficiency regarding seed amount and number of species collected. A harvesting trial was conducted in a species-rich, low-productivity grassland of the calcareous Italian Alps (1 030 m above sea level [a.s.l.). Three mechanical methods were tested in three replications using a completely randomized block design: green hay (GH), dry hay (DH), and seed stripping (SS) harvesting. The number of fertile shoots, mature seeds, and species collected was recorded and compared with the standing seed yield (SSY). GH, DH, and SS harvested approximately 84%, 70%, and 29% of SSY, respectively. Forbs were harvested more efficiently than grasses in all methods but in most cases at very low seed amounts per m2 due to their low seed density for SSY. No significant difference among methods was found for the number of species collected as mature seeds, but SS, implemented on larger plots, tended to collect more forb species. Comparing the results with those of other experiments demonstrated that the relatively cool temperature of the seed maturation period at the mountain site favored stronger seed retention and therefore increased the GH and DH efficiency but decreased the SS efficiency. In cool mountain areas, wild harvesting from forb-rich grasslands should be more successful by SS implemented on wide areas and several times over the vegetative season. In less species-rich grassland, GH and DH can efficiently collect high seed amounts of the fewer species present, even if implemented over smaller areas.
    • Using State and Transition Models to Determine the Opportunity Cost of Providing Ecosystem Services

      Ritten, J.; Fernández-Giménez, M.E.; Pritchett, J.; Kachergis, E.; Bish, W. (Society for Range Management, 2018-11)
      A ranch-level model using state-and-transitions models for three ecological sites is used to determine the trade-offs of providing various ecosystem services. The hypothetical ranch is located in northern Colorado and is based upon area average ecological site characteristics and livestock production practices. Management decisions include stocking rate and brush control. The model includes exogenous factors such as precipitation and fire. The model solves for optimal decisions over an infinite planning horizon using stochastic dynamic programming. Results show that a ranch cannot provide all ecosystem services in tandem at their highest level, implying that land managers must decide which ecosystems service they want to provide. Also, it is much cheaper in terms of foregone profitability for a ranch to continue to provide a specific ecosystem service that is already provided by the ranch rather than try to transition the ranch to a new ecological state in order to provide a service currently not provided.
    • Transhumance as Antidote for Modern Sedentary Stock Raising

      Starrs, P.F. (Society for Range Management, 2018-09)
      Few grazing themes so endure yet are so difficult for outsiders to document with certainty as historical and current-day livestock grazing routes: stock driveways. Excursions from one biome, ecotone, or landscape to another—in general, undertaken to seasonal cues — allow livestock owners and their hired herders to exploit different environments that offer notable advantages in terms of freeing livestock from unvarying diet, overtaxed grazing grounds, common diseases, and cycles of drought or drenching rain. Movement at whatever scale permits herders or shepherds an escape from monotony when they shift grazing grounds to montane-woodlands or back to lowland environments in travel that benefits both jaded humans and husbanded animals. Significant economic and ecological advantages accrue from the shifts of seasonal silvopastoralism, but the terrain, and in particular the routes animals travel, often stretch across varied land ownerships, and sifting out rights of passage is an ethnographic adventure requiring longstanding observation and consistent fieldwork. Formal scholarship about the road between is less established than literature of “the trail,” which is a staple feature of folklore, film, and fiction. As concern grows about the energy costs of using highways or railroads to move livestock, attention returns to traditional practices and legal accommodations that make possible trailing livestock under their own power. Across Europe are 4 million ha of land associated with livestock driveways, once widespread in the United States as an item of Spanish-Mexican heritage. This synthesis focuses on livestock driveway establishment in two landscapes: Spain and, secondarily, the western United States of America, with an overarching theme of how stock driveways can connect ecosystems and, by sustaining customary use, knit together silvopastoral society.
    • Trait Response and Change in Genetic Variation upon Selection for Spike Number in Salina Wildrye

      Jones, T.A.; Larson, S.R. (Society for Range Management, 2018-07)
      Salina wildrye (Leymus salinus [M.E. Jones] Á. Löve) is a perennial cool-season grass that potentially could become an important restoration species in the Colorado Plateau. However, its seed production has never been commercially viable due to sparse heading. We compared a 4x ssp. salmonis population, Lakeside C3, to an 8x ssp. salinus population, 9043501, for seed production − related traits and measured the response of 9043501 to 2 cycles of selection for increased spike number over a 4-yr period at Millville, Utah. Seed yield of Lakeside and 9043501 was similar (P > 0.10) in 2013, but seed yield of 9043501 was 81% greater (P < 0.10) than Lakeside in 2014 and 191% greater (P < 0.01) in 2015. Lakeside spike number was 99% greater (P < 0.0001) than 9043501 in 2013, but they were similar (P > 0.10) in 2014 and 2015. Seeds per spike of 9043501 were 71% (P < 0.05), 80% (P < 0.05), and 209% (P < 0.01) greater than Lakeside in 2013, 2014, and 2015, respectively. Selection in 9043501 increased (P < 0.05) spike number by 4.3 spikes per plant (19.8%) per cycle of selection in the first seed-production yr (2013), but no change was seen in 2014 or 2015 (P > 0.10). Selection did not change (P > 0.10) seeds per spike or individual seed mass. Consequently, seed yield increased (P < 0.05) 0.32 g per plant per cycle (36.8%) in 2013, with no increase (P > 0.10) in 2014 or 2015. Dry matter per plant across the 4 yr increased (P < 0.01) 10.3 g per plant per cycle (9.3%), and canopy height increased (P < 0.01) 3.9 cm per cycle (6.6%) in 2013. AFLP DNA primers detected a 1.7% loss of genetic variation per cycle, presumably due to a combination of selection and genetic drift, but no plant traits were diminished as a result.
    • Tightly Bunched Herding Improves Cattle Performance in African Savanna Rangeland

      Odadi, W.O.; Riginos, C.; Rubenstein, D.I. (Society for Range Management, 2018-07)
      Rotational grazing management approaches are regarded as strategies for sustaining rangeland productivity and continue to be applied across many parts of the world. In Africa, livestock farmers implementing rotational grazing often switch from traditional loosely bunched herding (LBH), in which animals within a herd are allowed to spread out naturally when foraging, to tightly bunched herding (TBH) with limited herd spread to increase animal impact on the range. However, there is little scientific information on the actual direct (short-term) effects of this altered herding strategy on livestock productivity. We investigated the direct effects of TBH versus LBH on foraging behavior, nutrition, and performance (weight gain) of cattle in a semiarid savanna rangeland in central Kenya. We conducted the study across two habitat types: a heterogeneous red soil habitat and a relatively homogeneous black cotton soil habitat. Across both habitats, cattle traveled 9–15% less, foraged 10–29% more efficiently, and put on 14–39% more weight when managed with TBH as compared with LBH. These changes occurred despite the fact that stock densities were double to several times higher under TBH, and cattle under this herding regime foraged less selectively, consuming preferred plants less (especially in the black cotton soil habitat) and consuming diets with lower crude protein content (in the red soil habitat). Financial projection showed that the benefit of increased cattle performance under TBH could sufficiently outweigh increased cost of additional labor required to implement this herding strategy. These findings suggest that TBH, as practiced here, can be implemented without livestock production or financial losses. Further, the research demonstrated reduced grazing selectivity under TBH indicates that this herding strategy could potentially be used to reduce grazing pressure on preferred forage plants and maintain herbaceous species diversity without sacrificing cattle performance.
    • Sodium Chloride Effects on Seed Germination, Growth, and Water Use of Lepidium alyssoides, L. draba, and L. latifolium: Traits of Resistance and Implications for Invasiveness on Saline Soils

      Hooks, T.N.; Picchioni, G.A.; Schutte, B.J.; Shukla, M.K.; Daniel, D.L. (Society for Range Management, 2018-07)
      In the semiarid southwestern United States, long-term drought, soil salinity, and land-use intensification have increased the risk of invasive plants that threatens landscape biodiversity. Soil-related factors that regulate plant invasions are not adequately known. We evaluated the salinity responses of three invasive plant species during a 3-mo plant growth period in a greenhouse and during a 2–wk seed germination study in the laboratory. The species included the indigenous Lepidium alyssoides A. Gray var. alyssoides (mesa pepperwort) and the exotic, invasive L. draba L. (whitetop) and L. latifolium L. (perennial pepperweed). A NaCl solution at –0.2 MPa reduced germination of L. alyssoides by ≈ 20% and had no effect on germination of L. draba and L. latifolium, merely delaying their mean germination time by a day or less. Reductions in seedling dry matter production and evapotranspiration (ET) were observed following irrigation with NaCl solutions at –0.1 MPa and –0.2 MPa. However, on the basis of ET and total plant dry matter production under common experimental conditions, the salt resistance of these species greatly exceeded that of salt sensitive bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and equaled or exceeded that of salt-resistant cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). Below-ground propagating structures giving rise to clonal shoots were observed for all Lepidium spp., consistent with other reports. The results indicate that vegetative propagule pressure and relatively high resistance to salinity at germination and seedling growth stages could contribute to the invasiveness of these species under saline conditions. A broader impact of the findings is in their application to the larger diversity of invasive species to aid in the understanding of soil salinity and how it may govern plant invasions. This dataset could improve risk assessment measures to favor biodiversity in rangelands and natural ecosystems of semiarid regions.
    • Simulation of Pastoral Management in Mongolia: An Integrated System Dynamics Model

      Oniki, S.; Shindo, K.; Yamasaki, S.; Toriyama, K. (Society for Range Management, 2018-05)
      High grazing density has given rise to concerns about grassland degradation in periurban areas in Mongolia. Moreover, whether livestock can increase without harming the vegetation in these areas in Mongolia and what types of policy measures should be implemented is not documented. As such, this study develops an integrated simulation model of grassland biomass, animal growth, and livestock management for a forest-steppe area in northern Mongolia and conducts a simulation on long-term changes. The simulations show that, under current conditions, the number of animals will continue to increase, while the grassland biomass will decrease. Cooperative grassland management would lead to an increase in grassland biomass and higher incomes for herders. Furthermore, herders’ population changes would have a significant impact on animal density adjustments, while the effects of conventional economic measures, such as a tax on animals, would be limited if all other conditions remain constant. Consequently, the synergistic effects of herder population changes and cooperative management can contribute toward maintaining the herders’ income while preserving the grassland ecosystem.
    • Relationships Between Cattle and Biodiversity in Multiuse Landscape Revealed by Kenya Long-Term Exclosure Experiment

      Young, T.P.; Porensky, L.M.; Riginos, C.; Veblen, K.E.; Odadi, W.O.; Kimuyu, D.M.; Charles, G.K.; Young, H.S. (Society for Range Management, 2018-05)
      On rangelands worldwide, cattle interact with many forms of biodiversity, most obviously with vegetation and other large herbivores. Since 1995, we have been manipulating the presence of cattle, mesoherbivores, and megaherbivores (elephants and giraffes) in a series of eighteen 4-ha (10-acre) plots at the Kenya Long-term Exclosure Experiment. We recently (2013) crossed these treatments with small-scale controlled burns. These replicated experimental treatments simulate different land management practices. We seek to disentangle the complex relationships between livestock and biodiversity in a biome where worldwide, uneasy coexistence is the norm. Here, we synthesize more than 20 yr of data to address three central questions about the potentially unique role of cattle in savanna ecology: 1) To what extent do cattle and wild herbivores compete with or facilitate each other? 2) Are the effects of cattle on vegetation similar to those of wildlife, or do cattle have unique effects? 3) What effects do cattle and commercial cattle management have on other savanna organisms? We found that 1) Cattle compete at least as strongly with browsers as grazers, and wildlife compete with cattle, although these negative effects are mitigated by cryptic herbivores (rodents), rainfall, fire, and elephants. 2) Cattle effects on herbaceous vegetation (composition, productivity) are similar to those of the rich mixture of ungulates they replace, differing mainly due to the greater densities of cattle. In contrast, cattle, wild mesoherbivores, and megaherbivores have strongly guild-specific effects on woody vegetation. 3) Both cattle and wild ungulates regulate cascades to other consumers, notably termites, rodents, and disease vectors (ticks and fleas) and pathogens. Overall, cattle management, at moderate stocking densities, can be compatible with the maintenance of considerable native biodiversity, although reducing livestock to these densities in African rangelands is a major challenge.
    • Progress in Identifying High Nature Value Montados: Impacts of Grazing on Hardwood Rangeland Biodiversity

      Pinto-Correia, T.; Guiomar, N.; Ferraz-de-Oliveira, M.I.; Sales-Baptista, E.; Rabaça, J.; Godinho, C.; Ribeiro, N.; Sá, Sousa, P.; Santos, P.; Santos-Silva, C.; et al. (Society for Range Management, 2018-09)
      Due to their complex structure and traditional low-intensity management, Portuguese oak woodland rangelands known as montados are often considered high nature value (HNV) farming systems, and as such, they may be deemed eligible for subsidies and incentives by governmental and nongovernmental agencies. Too little is known about how the HNV concept might be applied to conserve complex silvopastoral systems. These systems, due to their structural and functional complexity at multiple scales, tend to support high levels of biodiversity. Montados are in sharp decline as a result of the rapid specialization of land management that, through simplification, undermines multifunctionality. Understanding how changes in management influence these systems and their biodiversity is needed for prioritizing conservation efforts and for ensuring they remain HNV systems. On the basis of a field survey in 58 plots distributed among 29 paddocks on 17 farms, we conducted an integrated analysis of the relationship between grazing intensity and biodiversity in montados of similar biophysical and structural characteristics. Data on management were obtained through interviews, and biodiversity data (vegetation, macrofungi, birds, herpetofauna) were obtained through specific field protocols. Additional spatial data, such as soil characteristics, slope, land cover, and linear landscape elements, were also analyzed. The results show no overall biodiversity variation as a result of different management practices. However, different groups of species react differently to specific management practices, and within a pasture, grazing impacts are heterogenous. In low grazing intensity plots, macrofungi species richness was found to be higher, while bird species richness was lower. Using tree regeneration as proxy for montado sustainability, results show less tree regeneration in areas with higher forage quality and more intense grazing. Pathways for future progress are proposed, including creating areas within a paddock that attract grazing away from where regeneration is desired.
    • Post Hoc Assessment of Stand Structure Across European Wood-Pastures: Implications for Land Use Policy

      Roellig, M.; Costa, A.; Garbarino, M.; Hanspach, J.; Hartel, T.; Jakobsson, S.; Lindborg, R.; Mayr, S.; Plieninger, T.; Sammul, M.; et al. (Society for Range Management, 2018-09)
      Europe's woodland and savanna rangelands, often part of silvopastoral systems known as wood-pastures, are deteriorating because of abandonment that leads to return to a forested state or lack of tree regeneration from overgrazing or tree and shrub removal. Despite numerous local studies, there has been no broader survey of the stand structure of European wood-pastures showing which systems are at risk of losing their semiopen character. This overview aims to 1) show some of the differences and similarities in wood-pastures from landscapes across Europe and 2) identify which of these wood-pastures are at risk of losing their semiopen character. We collated a dataset of 13 693 trees from 390 plots in wood-pastures from eight different European regions (western Estonia, eastern Greece, northern Germany, Hungary, northern Italy, southern Portugal, central Romania, and southern Sweden), including tree diameters at breast height, tree density, management type, and tree species composition. On the basis of their structural characteristics, we classified wood-pastures using principal component analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis. The PCA showed a gradient from dense wood-pastures with high levels of regeneration (e.g., in Estonia) to sparse wood-pastures with large trees but a lack of regeneration (e.g., in Romania). Along this gradient, we identified three main groups of wood-pastures: 1) sparse wood-pastures with mostly big trees; 2) dense wood-pastures composed of small trees, and 3) wood-pastures containing a wide range of tree ages. Our results show a large structural gradient in European wood-pastures, as well as regeneration problems varying in their severity, highlighting the importance of social-ecological context for wood-pasture conditions. To maintain the ecological and cultural integrity of European wood-pastures, we suggest 1) more comprehensively considering them in European policies such as the Common Agricultural Policy and EU Habitats Directive, while 2) taking into account their structural characteristics and social-ecological backgrounds.
    • Plant Selection and Performance of Two Cattle Types and Camels on Semiarid Rangelands in Kenya

      Leparmarai, P.T.; Mwangi, D.M.; Gluecks, I.; Mutie, F.M.; Marquardt, S. (Society for Range Management, 2018-11)
      Plant selection pattern and performance of lactating cattle and camels were compared on semiarid savanna rangelands in Kenya in the rainy season (RS) and a transition period (TP) between the RS and the main dry season. It was further evaluated whether supplementation with rumen-degradable protein (RDP) had an effect on these parameters. In both seasons, two cattle types (local ‘Pokot’ cattle and Guernsey × Boran crossbreds) and camels were used, with six females per treatment group (supplemented and nonsupplemented) each (n = 72 animals in total). The experimental periods consisted of 8–10 d of adaptation and 36–40 d of data and sample collection. The diet selected by the cattle types was similar and consisted almost exclusively of grasses. The camel diet consisted mainly of herbs and shrubs with higher contributions of woody plants in the TP than in the RS. Forage from woody plants overall made up a higher proportion of the diet, which was also reflected by a longer browsing time (overall and in the TP) of the supplemented camels compared with the nonsupplemented camels. This result indicates that supplementation of browsers like camels with RDP can be used to increase the intake of forage from woody plants rich in plant secondary compounds, which could be an effective measure for managing rangeland to limit bush encroachment. Overall, no seasonal differences in milk yield were found for the camels and Pokot cattle, but crossbreds had a lower yield in the TP compared with the RS. Overall, the cattle had higher milk fat content than the camels while the camels had slightly higher protein content. Supplementation had no effect on milk yield and composition. The results of diet selection and performance (milk yield) reflect the advantage of camels in arid rangelands.
    • Plant Community Responses to Mastication and Mulching of One-Seed Juniper (Juniperus monosperma)

      Rubin, R.L.; Roybal, C.M. (Society for Range Management, 2018-11)
      Mechanical cutting and mastication of juniper trees aims to restore grassland habitat by reducing the density of encroaching woody species. However, the associated soil disturbance may also create conduits for invasive species, a risk that must be mitigated by land managers. We characterized herbaceous communities in treated and adjacent untreated areas in a piñon-juniper (Pinus edulis and Juniper monosperma) woodland in northern Arizona 2.5 years after treatment. Untreated plots had 4 × the herbaceous cover (82%) than treated plots (21%). Within treated plots, native species cover (19%) was 10 × higher than invasive species cover (2%). Furthermore, treated plots exhibited greater plant community variability and diversity than untreated plots, driven by an increase in the diversity of native grasses and non-native forbs. No new recruits were Arizona listed noxious weeds, indicating that, at least in the short term, mastication is not producing invasive species hot spots in this piñon-juniper woodland.
    • Paddock Size Mediates the Heterogeneity of Grazing Impacts on Vegetation

      Oñatibia, G.R.; Aguiar, M.R. (Society for Range Management, 2018-07)
      Domestic herbivores’ effect on vegetation is spatially heterogeneous, being one of the major causes of forage resources degradation. It has been proposed that paddock size controls grazing impact's heterogeneity because as size decreases, herbivores’ utilization is spatially more even. However, this has not been critically evaluated in commercial-scale paddocks isolating paddock size effects from other factors influencing the interaction between herbivores and vegetation. Here we assessed how paddock size mediates the heterogeneity of continuous sheep grazing effects on vegetation, at constant stocking rate in Patagonian steppes. We selected three small (ca. 110 ha) and three large (ca. 1 100 ha) paddocks dominated by the same plant community. All paddocks contained a single watering point and presented similar shape. Total and specific plant cover, vegetation patchiness, population size distribution of dominant grass species, plant morphology, and sheep feces density were estimated at increasing distances from watering points. Relationships between vegetation variables and distance from the watering point were in most cases asymptotic exponential, although responses generally differed between small and large paddocks. In small paddocks, vegetation variables mostly reached a plateau at a short distance from the watering point (~ 200 m). Instead, in large paddocks, the changes in vegetation variables were larger and more gradual, and reached a plateau at much greater distances (~ 2 000 m). Vegetation heterogeneity throughout the paddock was lower in small than large paddocks. Our findings suggest that paddock size mediates the spatial pattern of grazing effects on vegetation. Reducing paddock size decreases grazing impacts spatial heterogeneity, which makes plant-animal interactions more predictable and might improve forage utilization efficiency.
    • Nondestructive Estimation of Standing Crop and Fuel Moisture Content in Tallgrass Prairie

      Sharma, S.; Ochsner, T.E.; Twidwell, D.; Carlson, J.D.; Krueger, E.S.; Engle, D.M.; Fuhlendorf, S.D. (Society for Range Management, 2018-05)
      Accurate estimation of standing crop and herbaceous fuel moisture content (FMC) are important for grazing management and wildfire preparedness. Destructive sampling techniques have been used to accurately estimate standing crop and FMC, but those techniques are laborious and time consuming. Existing nondestructive methods for estimating standing crop in tallgrass prairie have limitations, and few studies have examined nondestructive estimation techniques for FMC in this environment. Therefore, our objective was to develop robust models for nondestructive estimation of standing crop and FMC in tallgrass prairie. We calibrated and validated stepwise multiple linear regression (SMLR) and artificial neural network (ANN) models for standing crop and FMC using data collected in tallgrass prairies near Stillwater, Oklahoma. Day of year (DOY), canopy height (CH), Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and percent reflectance in five wavelength bands were candidate input variables for the models. The study spanned two growing seasons and nine patches located within three pastures under patch burn management, and the resulting data set with > 3 000 observations was split randomly with 85% for model calibration and 15% withheld for validation. Standing crop ranged from 0 to 852 g m− 2, and FMC ranged from 0% to 204%. With DOY, CH, and NDVI as predictors, the SMLR model for standing crop produced a root mean squared error (RMSE) of 119 g m− 2 on the validation data, while the RMSE of the corresponding ANN model was 116 g m− 2. With the same predictors, the SMLR model for FMC produced an RMSE of 26.7% compared with 23.8% for the corresponding ANN model. Thus, the ANN models provided better prediction accuracy but at the cost of added computational complexity. Given the large variability in the underlying datasets, the models developed here may prove useful for nondestructive estimation of standing crop and FMC in other similar grassland environments. © 2018 Society for Range Management
    • Natural Resource Experience Affects Engagement with Emotionally Primed Presentations of Science

      Gunther, K.E.; Hild, A.L.; Bieber, S.L. (Society for Range Management, 2018-03)
      Effective ecosystem management is supported by the communication of emerging science to a wide range of ecosystem stakeholders. Management-oriented audiences including policymakers, agency personnel, and agricultural producers vary in their values, beliefs, and experiences and consequently may receive scientific information in unique ways. We examine the impact of priming language presented before technical presentation of ecosystem science using emotionally loaded (“negative” and “positive”) introductory paragraphs (primers). Wyoming ecosystem stakeholders (n = 114) were presented with technical text describing ecosystem uncertainty immediately after they read either positive or negative primers. Respondents with a background in agricultural production were more likely to respond in agreement with the scientific information presented in the text when it was introduced with the negative emotional (risk-based) primer. Respondents without production experience shifted their assessment of scientific information in response to both negative and positive (benefit-based) primers. All participants’ responses were varied and unpredictable when technical text was not primed. Emotionally loaded primers did not lead respondents to contradict the scientific knowledge presented in the text, and in several cases primers caused stronger agreement with the text than did the control. We suggest that traditional “neutral” presentation of scientific contexts hinders rather than supports the transmission of scientific concepts and tools to management-oriented audiences. We more readily achieve successful transmission of science when emotional contexts familiar to audiences are evoked. Non-neutral primers followed by technical presentations of scientific concepts can engage audiences to increase potential field applications of emerging science. © 2018 The Society for Range Management
    • Modeling Large Carnivore and Ranch Attribute Effects on Livestock Predation and Nonlethal Losses

      Scasta, J.D.; Windh, J.L.; Stam, B. (Society for Range Management, 2018-11)
      Predator-livestock interactions are a major concern for both agriculture and conservation globally. Using retrospective survey data from 274 ranches in Wyoming, United States, we used information theory to model how ranch attributes and large carnivores influenced the timing, duration, and severity of livestock predation. We then used constrained ordination to understand how 1) landscape, weather, and animal features influence predation and 2) how livestock behavior and nonlethal loss relate to ranch attributes and large carnivores. Timing, duration, and severity of livestock predation were generally not explained by ranch size or number of counties but were explained by livestock type, livestock parturition (either timing or duration), and documented large carnivore loss. Addition of the large carnivore loss variable to global models always improved Akaike information criterion scores. Rangelands characterized as rough, forested, shrubby, or a public grazing allotment reportedly increased predation risk, in part, due to large carnivore exposure. Approximately two-thirds of participants noticed livestock nervousness if a predator was nearby, half of participants noted changes in livestock distribution patterns, and a quarter of participants noted a reduction in livestock grazing time. Nonlethal losses such as lower weight gains, lower conception rates, lower birth rates, and delayed birth season were reported by 27%, 19%, 12%, and 11% of participants, respectively. Ordination revealed separation between behavioral changes and nonlethal losses, attributed to large carnivore exposure. Parturition relative to livestock type was also strongly correlated to timing and duration of predation for cattle-only operations but not for operations with sheep. The predictive cattle predation-parturition model suggests that for each additional month of calving, producers should anticipate 21 additional d of predation. Understanding predator-livestock interactions relative to ranch and rangeland features, parturition, large carnivore exposure, and losses that extend beyond mortalities can assist in developing novel strategies to mitigate lethal and nonlethal losses.
    • Management Tools to Reduce Carnivore-Livestock Conflicts: Current Gap and Future Challenges

      Moreira-Arce, D.; Ugarte, C.S.; Zorondo-Rodríguez, F.; Simonetti, J.A. (Society for Range Management, 2018-05)
      Predation on domestic animals by carnivores is a persistent problem wherever carnivores and livestock co-occur. A wide range of management tools to reduce predation has been invoked. However, the evidence of their effectiveness is still limited for a broader range of species and conditions. Using a global analysis of domestic animal predation by native carnivores under a “before-after/control-impact” framework, we assessed the effectiveness of management techniques used to reduce domestic animal predation identifying knowledge gaps and research needs. We reviewed 291 predation cases in 149 studies published between 1990 and 2017 involving 47 carnivores. Lethal control is the most common method to reduce predation in comparison with nonlethal techniques. Yet the effectiveness of both approaches remains poorly evaluated (30.1% of study cases) and largely based on producers’ perceptions (70% of cases where effectiveness was evaluated). Lethal control and night confinement of domestic animals would have no effect on reducing predation, whereas the use of livestock-guarding dogs, fencing, or herdsmen may significantly reduce domestic animal losses. When the effectiveness of each technique to reduce predation was assessed by large and mesocarnivores, fencing significantly reduced predation of domestic animals by the former. Despite little scientifically published material, our findings indicate lethal control would have no effect in reducing animal predation by native carnivores when compared with nonlethal techniques. Our study also indicates the effectiveness may vary depending on the type of carnivore involved in the conflict with livestock activity. The use of an evidence-based framework to measure and assess the differential effectiveness of nonlethal techniques and the use of complementary tools at different spatial and temporal scales must be research priorities to prevent livestock predation while promoting the conservation of carnivores in production-oriented lands as encouraged by the Convention of Biological Diversity.
    • Low-Cost Global Positioning System Tracking Collars for Use on Cattle

      Knight, C.W.; Bailey, D.W.; Faulkner, D. (Society for Range Management, 2018-07)
      Commercially available global positioning system (GPS) tracking collars for cattle are cost prohibitive for most researchers. This paper presents a low-cost alternative to those collars (Knight GPS tracking collars) and compares their performance to a popular commercially available collar. A list of required materials and detailed instructions on fabrication are available in the supplementary content. Brangus cows (n = 8) were tracked with both LOTEK 3300 and Knight GPS tracking collars for 31 d beginning 14 March 2015 at the Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center 37 km north of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Locations were recorded every 10 min and used to calculate mean slope, elevation, distance from water, distance traveled per d, and elevation for each cow. No differences were detected (P ≥ 0.37) between collar types for location, slope, or distance from water. However, the distance traveled tended (P = 0.08) to be lower for Knight collars (6 171 m d− 1) compared with Lotek collars (7 104 m d− 1). Lotek collars recorded more (P ≤ 0.001) of the potential locations (99.9%) than the Knight collars (66.2%). Although the Knight collars failed to record all of the potential positions, they still provided a good indication of cattle locations on extensive pastures located in the Chihuahuan Desert.
    • Land Manager Perceptions of Opportunities and Constraints of Using Livestock to Manage Invasive Plants

      Shapero, M.W.K.; Huntsinger, L.; Becchetti, T.A.; Mashiri, F.E.; James, J.J. (Society for Range Management, 2018-09)
      The ecological impacts of rangeland invasive plants have been widely documented, but the social aspects of how managers perceive their impacts and options for control have been relatively understudied, and successful, long-term invasive plant management programs are limited. In particular, though a growing body of research has identified livestock grazing as the most practical and economical tool for controlling invasive rangeland plants, to date there has not been a systematic assessment of the challenges and opportunities producers and other land managers see as most important when considering using livestock to manage invasive plants. In-depth, semistructured interviews with California annual grass and hardwood rangeland ranchers, public agency personnel, and nongovernmental organization land managers were used to address this need. Although interviewees broadly agreed that grazing could be an effective management tool, differences emerged among the three groups in how they prioritized invasive plant control, the amount of resources devoted to control, and the grazing strategies employed. Interviewees identified key challenges that hinder broad-scale adoption of control efforts, including the potential incompatibility of invasive plant management and livestock production; a lack of secure, long-term access to land for many ranchers; incomplete or insufficient information, such as the location or extent of infestations or the economic impacts to operations of invasive plants; and the temporal and spatial variability of the ecosystem. By identifying key socioecological drivers that influence the degree to which livestock are used to manage invasive plants, this study was able to identify potential pathways to move our growing understanding of the science of targeted grazing into practice. Research, extension, and grazing programs that address these barriers should help increase the extent to which we can effectively use livestock to slow and perhaps reverse the spread of some of our most serious rangeland weeds.