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Plenary Session- Rangeland Frontiers

Each day of the SRM meeting participants will come together at mid-day to share 90-minutes of thought-
provoking presentations and discussion focused on rangeland challenges and opportunities.

February 15 – Valuing Ranching and Conservation

Ranching and livestock production on rangelands provide food and fiber concurrently with other
ecosystem services such as wildlife habitat, clean air and water, carbon sequestration, cultural
resources, recreational opportunities and scenic vistas. However, an implicit “wicked challenge” is
the lack of mechanisms to effectively value ecological services to reward ranchers and landowners
for their conservation. A desire to conserve rangelands and enhance ecological values has brought
together individuals of otherwise disparate views. Using whole landscapes to provide ecosystems
services and economic viability has turned charismatic environmentalists into ranching advocates
and ranchers into conservation activists. This union of perspectives has the potential to accomplish
significant environmental and social goals with a role for small family ranches, corporate ranches,
conservation organizations, and public land agencies. Join us for keynote addresses and a panel
discussion with audience participation on ranching for conservation and the roles Turner Enterprise
Ranches and The Nature Conservancy play in supporting this shift. How can public perception,
consumer preferences, food industry drivers, cattle market signals, stewardship incentive programs,
and institutionalized land tenure arrangements be used to support the broad, valuable suite of
environmental and cultural ‘goods’ produced through rangeland ranching?

  • Dr. Lynn Huntsinger, UC-Berkeley Professor and winner of the 2020 SRM W.R. Chapline
    Research Award (Moderator)
  • Dr. Carter Kruse, Director of Conservation and Biodiversity Divisions, Turner Enterprises, Inc.
  • Dr. Sasha Gennet, Director of The Nature Conservancy National Sustainable Grazing Lands

February 16 – Adapt (or Succumb) To Climate Change on Rangelands 

Climate change puts the livelihoods of rangeland users worldwide at risk. Rangelands sequester and
store greenhouse gases, as well as provide ground cover critical to moderation of temperature;
rangelands also provide a majority of the forage consumed by domestic livestock globally. Despite
the importance of rangelands to climate regulation and to the food production system, rangelands
continue to be degraded or converted to other forms of agriculture. The interacting feedbacks
between degradation-conversion-climate interaction creates a “wicked problem”. As rangeland
scientists, managers, students, policy makers, and conservationists interested in providing
leadership for the stewardship of rangelands based on sound ecological and management principles,
it is our duty to address this challenge to ensure the long-term productivity and sustainability of
rangeland ecosystems. For this plenary session we have invited three renowned scientists; each with
decades of experience and each with different backgrounds that can help shed light on how our
climate is changing, how we can incorporate climate into decision making, and how we can promote
sustainable, productive and resilient social and ecological communities in a world of increasing
climate variability and uncertainty.

Dr. Dannele Peck, Director, USDA-ARS, USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub (Moderator)

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, Professor and co-director of the Climate Center at Texas Tech

Dr. Cliff Mass, Professor, University of Washington, Department of Atmospheric Sciences

February 17 – Wicked Problems in Wildland Fire

Wildland fire is an influential ecosystem process in rangelands worldwide, but a myriad of aspects of
global change have the potential to disrupt or alter essential ecosystem functions that support both
biodiversity and rural livelihoods in working rangeland landscapes. This plenary session highlights
efforts to understand the impacts of global change on rangeland fire regimes from both social and
ecological perspectives. Speakers confront the “wicked problems” related to wildland fire at the
interface of rangeland ecosystem integrity and human well-being, and address these problems by
considering how aspects of fire regimes are altered by global change and how specific elements of
the fire regime can be managed to mitigate these effects.

  • Dr. Nathan Sayre, Professor, Department of Geography, University of California Berkeley
  • Dr. Jon Keeley, Research Scientist, US Geological Survey, Sequoia National Park, California
  • Dr. Navashni Govender, Senior Manager of Conservation Management at Kruger National Park,
    South Africa