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.
Since the 1800s, North Americans have historically overlooked the significance of grasslands. With centuries of farming, ranching, energy development and suburban growth, grassland protection and conservation have been pushed aside.
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.
In a recent study, the Army Research Laboratory in N.M. and the USDA ARS’s Jornada Experimental Range, used 100 years of measurements of perennial grass growth to identify how climate controls changes in grass cover.
The Society for Rangeland Management recently released their Rangeland Ecosystem Services Report: Connecting Nature and People. The report includes five key rangeland service topic areas including; food and fiber, water as an ecosystem driver in rangelands, carbon sequestration and security, plant and insect biodiversity, and wildlife habitat provision.
Photo: Rangeland Ecosystem Services Report
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.
We are excited to announce that Drs. Morgan Treadwell, Melissa Shehane, and Ben Wu will be continuing education and extension Prairie Project efforts after receiving a $1.5 million grant from the USDA-NIFA Extension, Education and USDA Climate Hubs Partnership program area priority within AFRI’s Foundational and Applied Science Program to support a project titled, “Promoting Climate-Smart Agricultural Practice to Reduce Risk and Impacts of Drought, Wildfire and Woody Encroachment on Livestock Production.”
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.
Did you know that Texas Landowner demographics are surveyed by the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI)? This type of information is incredibly valuable and insightful to the changing demographic occurring across Texas working landscapes.