“The Range Problem” After a Centure of Rangeland Science: New Research Themes for Altered Landscapes


Brandon Bestelmeyer, Kris Havstad, Nathan Sayre, William deBuys


applied science, ecosystem management, range science history, science-management linkages, translational science


Rangeland Ecology Management

Year Published:


Policy Summary

Historically, rangeland science research and policies have focused on creating a one sized fits all approach that focused on control of the land by determing the maximum carrying capacity of an area. Rangeland science philosophy has evolved to recognize that rangeland landscapes are heterogeneous, so a one size fits all approach does not work well. Additionally, researchers have highlighted the fact that scientific trials have not been done on a large enough scale – a small field trial of one acre cannot simply be multipled by 1,000 to determine what the results would be like in a 1,000 acre area. A more systematic approach to assess conservation practices is needed. This will occur when scientists reformat their approach from a reductionist oneto one that is dynamic, interdisciplinary and addresses the complex issues with scale and temporality. Policies should be put in place to help even out the economic and biodiversity value of rangelands as previously they were viewed as only being valuable for animals, but now they are threatened by residential development.

Read the full article.