Why study outdoor recreation in the American West?—Mara MacDonell

Industry, based on landscape, has been foundational to the American West’s cultural and ideological underpinnings since the beginning of colonization. While natural resource extraction industries (mining, logging, ranching, agriculture) spurred westward expansion and continues to be a significant industry in the West, a new industry is of increasing importance, outdoor recreation. Both the extraction and Read more about Why study outdoor recreation in the American West?—Mara MacDonell[…]

Can Bison Shape the Prairie?—Ross Martin

 There’s a bull bison rolling on the ground. Hooves point skyward as the bull’s body moves—rocking, kicking, sliding on a carefully chosen patch of earth. Dust hangs in the hot summer air. Other bison look on at the commotion, then return to grazing. A calf imitates the bull, playfully rolling under mom’s legs. What are Read more about Can Bison Shape the Prairie?—Ross Martin[…]

A Note from the Steppe—Rachel Renne

As a kid growing up in Florida, we were warned that the hottest part of the day was between noon and 2 pm. My mother insisted that we come inside during these hours to avoid the heat and what she considered to be the riskiest time for sunburns. Yet, at 4:30 pm today in this Read more about A Note from the Steppe—Rachel Renne[…]

Bison Restoration: Pursuing Environmental Justice on the Great Plains—Ross Martin

Bison are a uniquely important species in North America’s past, present, and future. They are a keystone species that maintains and enhances ecological function in grassland ecosystems. Bison long supported Indigenous cultures, and their slaughter enabled the United States’ bloody conquest of the continent. The disappearance of the large herds disrupted human, plant, and wildlife Read more about Bison Restoration: Pursuing Environmental Justice on the Great Plains—Ross Martin[…]

Mapping Rural Gentrification—Lani Chang

CLICK HERE TO VIEW LANI’S STORYMAP Rural gentrification is increasingly recognized as a significant problem for Western amenity towns in the U.S. as a result of rapid in-migration fueled by the desire for closer access to these amenities, expanded telework from the pandemic, and broader nation-wide socioeconomic trends. Corresponding social, economic, and political impacts include Read more about Mapping Rural Gentrification—Lani Chang[…]

Drought in the West: The Consequences of Variable Forage Production for Open-Range Livestock Operations—Scott Carpenter

During an especially hot and dry summer in Pinedale, Wyoming it’s hard not to reflect on the looming predictions of increasing temperatures and precipitation variability. The two combining to create high-temperature drought conditions, which are becoming more common across the planet. Growing up on the east coast in suburban Virginia, a drought did not mean Read more about Drought in the West: The Consequences of Variable Forage Production for Open-Range Livestock Operations—Scott Carpenter[…]

Inherding: The Concept, The Benefits, and its Feasibility—Cally Guasti

If you visit cattle ranches in most of the U.S., you’ll see two kinds of cattle grazing methods: the first is where cattle graze freely on the land, the second is rotational grazing. But on a ranch in May, Idaho, there is a third method, called “inherding.” With the inherding method, cattle are herded on Read more about Inherding: The Concept, The Benefits, and its Feasibility—Cally Guasti[…]

Who is leading the effort to conserve privately-owned grasslands in the West?—Laura González Mantecón

As I write this, surrounded by towering Douglas firs in the Pacific Northwest, I am very far removed from the open prairies of Central Montana, but for the past few months, my mind has often been wandering through the expansive Northern Great Plains. My student partner, Lani, and I have been working with the Range Read more about Who is leading the effort to conserve privately-owned grasslands in the West?—Laura González Mantecón[…]

Ranching the Hard Way—Lani Chang

“We’ve all chosen to do ranching the hard way” a rancher chuckles through the small illuminated rectangle on my computer’s desktop. My project partner, Laura González Mantecón, in the adjacent rectangle on Zoom asks him what he means by that. They’ve all chosen in one form or another to adopt practices that demand a lot Read more about Ranching the Hard Way—Lani Chang[…]

Exploring New Approaches to Grassland Conservation in Wyoming—Katie Pofahl and Humna Sharif

Two students from the Yale School of the Environment’s Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative teamed up with The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming to deepen the culture of conservation in these iconic grasslands. With over 13.2 million acres, the grasslands of Thunder Basin, Wyoming are part of a patchwork of federal, state, and private land that Read more about Exploring New Approaches to Grassland Conservation in Wyoming—Katie Pofahl and Humna Sharif[…]

Saving Grasslands with Stakeholder Collaboration — Humna Sharif

Preview: Grassland habitats across the world are facing multiple threats due to anthropogenic changes, and species dependent on these ecosystems are suffering as a result. In North America, the Thunder Basin Region represents one of the remaining contiguous expanses of intact grasslands. There are conservation practices already taking place in Thunder Basin, and new approaches are Read more about Saving Grasslands with Stakeholder Collaboration — Humna Sharif[…]

Wildlife-Friendly Ranching in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Rory Jacobson and Anna-Sophia Haub are working with partners at the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and the University of Pittsburgh to study ranchers’ perspectives on conservation and wildlife management in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. To understand the economic, social, and cultural drivers behind these perceptions and management strategies, they are Read more about Wildlife-Friendly Ranching in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem[…]