The Resource Planning Act Assessment reports on the past, present, and future of renewable resources on public and private forests and rangelands. The recent 2020 assessment forecast was released in November and includes the following topics:
Did you know that goats are meticulous eaters? They move across the landscape selectively browsing, picking out desirable pieces of forage, and combing hard to access pastures and areas for their favorite plant parts and species.
Did you know most landscapes in the southeast and southern Great Plains are thought to have experienced frequent fires (3-5-year return intervals) in the time period between glacial retreat about 15,000 year ago, up until the time of European colonization?
Have you heard the myth that to have good deer hunting, you need lots of trees? In the Great Plains, healthy deer populations are supported without trees. The misconception lies in the fact that most of the time people are looking for deer around trees and not out away from trees.
The top 5 woody invasive plant species in the Great Plains Grasslands include; Eastern redcedar, Honey mesquite, Chinese tallow, Ashe juniper, and Redberry juniper. Past brush management efforts have been unable to stop or reverse the loss of grasslands at county, state, or regional scales. Traditional management efforts have assumed that there are tolerable levels of the top five woody pests in grasslands before encroachment becomes a resource concern and mechanical or chemical removal of woody plants will restore a site back to a grassland. Scientists are now recommending more integrated approaches for dealing with woody species and ending the reinvasion cycle in grasslands.
Have you seen the latest Pocket Guide from the Great Plains Grasslands Extension Partnership? This Pocket Guide integrates new guidelines for reducing woody encroachment with a planning process. It is also an important resource that further incorporates the latest, science-based approaches for reducing woody encroachment.
One of the biggest confusion points in brush management is the decision between removing, reducing, or manipulating woody plants. Past management decisions have addressed the symptoms of woody encroachment but not the root cause of the problem. To contribute to the efforts to confront the loss of grasslands at county and state, clarity is needed on which woody species need complete removal versus species who can be reduced or manipulated without the threat of grassland loss.
Did you know that 22.4 million tons of rangeland production are lost annually in the Great Plains to woody encroachment? Or that The Great Plains accounts for approximately 95% of the nation’s lost rangeland production to woody encroachment?
Four separate projects have been funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative with West Texas Rangelands Involvement! These projects will combine the expertise of Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to provide livestock producer support and increase the use of conservation principles on grazing lands.
Rangeland Analysis Platform, also known as RAP, have you heard of it? It is a platform that was created with a partnership between the University of Montana (UM), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI).