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Workshops First Session

18 Feb 2021
9:30 am - 11:30 am
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Workshops First Session

State-And-Transition Models at The Global Level: Are There Just a Few Syndromes?

State-transition models (STMs), used to evaluate rangelands and guide their management, are typically developed at the scale of ecological sites.In the U.S. alone, there are more than 13, 000 STMs that vary widely in detail and the concepts used to describe states and transitions. If other countries followed a similar approach, there would be many more thousands globally. The sheer numbers of STMs, and their emphasis on narrowly defined land areas, hinders development of general understanding and sharing of management/restoration innovations. We developed a preliminary methodology for standardizing language used to describe state transitions in rangelands that can define a set of “state-transition syndromes” into which global cases can be grouped, based on fundamental processes involved in transitions and their management. STM elements can then be databased and queried in a new web tool—EDIT Global (this is a new database based on the Ecological Dynamics Interpretative Tool that now houses US Ecological Site Descriptions). We will introduce the conceptual framework and EDIT Global tool, and then some targeted examples of how STMs can be adapted to “generalized STMs”. We will solicit feedback from users on the utility of generalized STM formats. We will then ask participants to develop a generalized STM from an existing, site-specific STM in a chatroom setting. We anticipate that generalized STMs and state-transition syndromes will facilitate a broad, process-based understanding of rangeland ecosystem dynamics by developers and users. The standardized language will enable comparisons across multiple models to understand fundamental factors controlling transitions at a regional to global level and to display geographic patterns for prioritization. This understanding should improve the consistency and scientific support for information provided to rangeland users.

Organizers: Brandon Bestelmeyer, Jeb Williamson, and Joel Brown

Legacy Livestock Performance Data: Where to Find It?

Do you have livestock performance and grazing management data from a grazing study or know someone who does?  Land managers are eager to try innovative grazing management techniques to achieve desired outcomes (e.g., management of fuel loads, provision of suitable grassland bird habitat for species of concern, reduction of invasive plants, restoration of landscape structure and function) in addition to livestock production. We want to help rangeland managers by using legacy livestock performance data to develop web-based and other digital decision support tools, management guidelines, and recommendations to maximize practice effectiveness and applicability. To do these things, we first need to find the legacy livestock data. Unfortunately, few researchers have collected, digitized, organized, quality checked, and made their livestock, management, and experimental treatment data available. 

What are the benefits of having livestock performance and management data available in a national-scale database for researchers and stakeholders? 

  1. Address the influence of climate variability, trends, and extremes within and across regions on livestock performance.
  2. Provide calibration and validation data for rangeland livestock grazing models.
  3. Provide examples of management for adaptation strategies for regional, national, and international assessments.

Compiling livestock performance data in a national-scale database would facilitate cross-site, regional, national, and international collaborations, and connect to other databases that may assist in the development of precision livestock management strategies. We realize that this is an arduous effort with compiling and standardizing data for interoperability and availability.  Lessons learned from sites that have completed efforts for their livestock performance data will be highlighted in these conversations. We look forward to engaging conversations on where to find livestock performance data and the development of a national-scale database. Data will be made discoverable to research communities and the public through the Ag Data Commons, a digital repository hosted by National Agricultural Library.  This will ensure the data are findable, downloadable and citable with the assignment of Digital Object Identifiers, and well as curated for access well into the future.

Organizer: Justin Derner

Map-Based Tools for Sustainable and Profitable Rangeland Management. How to Use Them? How to Improve Them!


Many map-based tools have been launched recently, or are under development, to assist rangeland managers in decision making, for example by showing forage production and vegetation cover information across space and time. These tools target different types of users and their decisions. Some provide forecasts, while others provide near-real-time information or historical information; some show information at the county level across very large regions, while others provide information for individual pastures, but are only available for specific localities. 

This two-part session is designed to foster communication among tool developers and tool users. In PART 1, invited speakers will present existing tools and ways they are being used, as well as insights on existing barriers and opportunities for the use of map-based tools. Presentations will be followed by a facilitated panel-style Q&A discussion to allow existing and prospective users to share their own decision-making stories and ask questions. The invited speakers include both developers and users and they represent a variety of different tools (Rangeland Analysis Platform, RangeSAT, Grass-Cast,,, and others) and a wide range of organizations (public lands managers, conservation organizations, government extension, universities, private industry). Developers will present what their tool does and does not do, the intended user base and how it can be applied for rangeland management. Users will demonstrate an example of how they have used one or more map-based tools for making specific rangeland management decisions. Presentations will be short (5-7 minutes each) and pre-recorded to ensure plenty of time for discussion among participants. Approximately 45 minutes will be devoted to sharing the pre-recorded presentations and introducing the invited speakers, while the rest of the session (approximately 1 hour) will be devoted to the panel-style Q&A discussion.

The second session, PART 2, will be a workshop for tool developers and users to summarize and discuss feedback from the first part of the session, with a focus on improving access to and utility of map-based rangeland tools going forward. The focus will be for ‘specialists’ – both the developers/administrators of map-based tools and experienced users/practitioners – to work together to discuss how to organize and address topics, but the workshop will be open to anyone interested in attending and participating. A key goal will be to identify specific future actions that can be taken to improve access to and relevance of map-based tools. Future actions could take many different forms, for example: creating a working group to develop a new tool or feature; integrating an existing tool into an extension program or ranch operation; collaborating to link existing tools or expand a tool to cover a new region; developing strategies to get more input from underrepresented user groups, etc. Focus will be given to ensuring tools are relevant and accessible to a broad range of users.

Organizer: Sean Kearney

Advancing Diversity & Inclusion in SRM

Membership made up of a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, ethnicity and gender identities make organizations stronger, more resilient and better able to attract top talent and drive innovative results and leadership.  The SRM Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee will host a workshop to introduce the committee and discuss opportunities to build an increasingly just, equitable, diverse and inclusive organization. This workshop will include an invited speaker and breakout sessions to discuss D&I-related topics. 

The stage for discussion will be set by Gabriel Vasquez, the founder of the Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project. Gabriel Vasquez grew up in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and has spent his entire life in relationship with the Rio Bravo, taking part in stewardship projects, youth education, conservation, and outdoor recreation.  

After this initial presentation participants will be invited into breakout sessions. The breakout session will include a presentation about a topic related justice, equity, diversity and inclusion needs and efforts within SRM. They will be led by four members of the D&I Committee with additional support from the other committee members. Four important topics will be discussed:

  1. Experiencing, Identifying, and Addressing Microaggressions in the Classroom, the Field, the Workplace and our Daily Lives by Ariana Gloria-Martinez, Graduate Student, Colorado State University
  2. How to Make SRM Activities & Programs More Inclusive and Equitable by Chris Bernau, Rangeland Management Specialist, NRCS Nevada, and Julie Larson, Graduate Student, University of Colorado
  3. Making Field Work Safe and Accessible by Sarah James, Rangeland Management Specialist, NRCS Arizona
  4. LGBTQ in Range by Tate Beddingfield, Undergraduate Student, University of Wyoming

Following these discussions, we will reconvene to share insights and consider future actions.

This workshop is a place for the membership to learn and engage in respectful discussion and where our voices, lived experiences and diverse perspectives can be shared, valued and listened to.  

Organizer: Erin Thomas

Corteva Corner – Product Innovation, Digital Solutions and Sustainability Initiatives

Rangeland management and livestock production in many southern regions of North America are challenged by invasive woody plants and cacti.  Corteva Agriscience has been a leader in providing herbicides and decision aids for land management.  In this workshop Corteva specialists will overview of products and tools to foster informed decisions about land management and plant control. This workshop will include presentations with opportunities for questions and discussion among participants.  Topics covered will include:

  • LANDVisor Digital Decision Aide 
  • MezaVue, Sendero, Southwest Brush Treatment
  • Western Invasive Species Management 
  • Sustainability Initiatives 

Organizer: Chad Cummings

VGS User Group Workshop

VGS is a free software application designed for recording and managing ecosystem sampling data.  The program provides customizable quantitative (species composition) and qualitative (surveys) data collection options as well as rapid analysis and reporting.  This year the workshop will provide presentations that introduce VGS to interested parties that have never used the program. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the software interface, how to develop data protocols, and reporting options. The other portion of the session will assist current users in answering questions and provide general tips and tricks.

Organizers/Speakers: Ashley Hall, Charles Perry, and Del Despain