Climate Change and Plant Communities: Reshaping Ecosystems for Livestock and Wildlife — Scott Carpenter

During the month of August, I was unfortunate enough to be impacted by two extreme weather events associated with climate change. In Wyoming, multiple field days were cut short due to hazardous air quality resulting from the ongoing wildfires in California and Oregon. While 2020 saw the second highest acreage burned since 1960 (the highest Read more about Climate Change and Plant Communities: Reshaping Ecosystems for Livestock and Wildlife — Scott Carpenter[…]

Global change and root production: how does land use and climate change affect life belowground? — Uthara Vengrai

Roots do everything. They are the connector between plants and soil–the interface at which many of the transactions of life are made. Roots (with the help of their mycorrhizal associates) conduct a plant’s search for nutrients, water, and shelter. They scour the soil for the ingredients of life and support whole ecosystems of microorganisms, plants, Read more about Global change and root production: how does land use and climate change affect life belowground? — Uthara Vengrai[…]

Natural (Green) Infrastructure in Oregon

Lily is a Financial Analyst Intern with the Natural Infrastructure Initiative at the World Resources Institute (WRI). She is researching the relationship between resilient water utilities and environmental health. In particular, Lily’s work is centered on the need for more widespread financing and funding opportunities for natural (green) infrastructure projects in Oregon. She is researching Read more about Natural (Green) Infrastructure in Oregon[…]

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[…]

Relationship-based Farming: Biodynamic agriculture as an innovative approach for rethinking our food system—Viola Taubmann

Cow manure that has fermented in the soil over the winter while stored in a cow horn is mixed with water and stirred vigorously for one hour, regularly changing directions. This mixture is then applied to the soil in minuscule amounts before sowing to encourage healthy root growth.  Sounds like a magic potion? This is Read more about Relationship-based Farming: Biodynamic agriculture as an innovative approach for rethinking our food system—Viola Taubmann[…]

The Underlying Market Forces that Enable Farms to Share Risk Across the Supply Chain—Tim Ibbotson-Sindelar

Our research project with Vilicus Farms focuses on how farms and the supply chain can partner to mitigate risk for both parties, and how the supply chain can reorient itself to share  some of the risks that traditionally farms shoulder alone. The risks that the supply chain can particularly help shoulder include farms’ financial risks Read more about The Underlying Market Forces that Enable Farms to Share Risk Across the Supply Chain—Tim Ibbotson-Sindelar[…]

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[…]

Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation—Grace Hilbert

No two conservation projects are the same, which is why the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP) developed the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation, also referred to as the Conservation Standards (previously the Open Standards). These Standards are an adaptable framework that brings together common concepts, approaches, and terminology to help make conservation efforts more Read more about Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation—Grace Hilbert[…]

Elkhorn Mountain Conifer Density Survey

In partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Pheasants Forever in Bozeman, MT, our research assistant is using geospatial analysis and remote sensing to determine conifer density and potential encroachment in the Elkhorn Mountain region. Throughout western Montana there are forest communities which have not burned in decades. Lack of fire may lead Read more about Elkhorn Mountain Conifer Density Survey[…]

Western Speaker Series 2020-2021

Each year, UHPSI hosts a western speaker series focusing on conservation and stewardship issues in the American West. The series may be one focused event or several small events spanning several topics. The student assistants are currently working with UHPSI staff to plan presentations, career chats, or training by a series of western conservation professionals. Read more about Western Speaker Series 2020-2021[…]

Collaborative Rangeland Monitoring and Management in Montana

The Range Monitoring Group (RMG), a Montana collaborative that includes ranchers, scientists and non-profit conservation groups, has implemented a pilot project focused on using rangeland monitoring and collective knowledge to inform and improve land management. Our research team has partnered with RMG to identify key indicators to use in range monitoring and operationalize them for Read more about Collaborative Rangeland Monitoring and Management in Montana[…]

Exploring Inherding as a Grazing Practice for Conservation and Rangeland Health in West

UHPSI research assistants have partnered with Texas A&M University-Kingsville and a Wyoming ranch to study the feasibility of implementing inherding in the western U.S. Inherding is the practice of strategically herding cattle in a manner that prevents rangeland overuse, promotes livestock well-being, and facilitates natural-resource conservation. Unlike more conventional grazing strategies, inherding requires handlers to Read more about Exploring Inherding as a Grazing Practice for Conservation and Rangeland Health in West[…]

Innovative Risk & Reward Sharing Between Farmers and the Supply Chain for Biodynamic and Organic Grain, Pulse and Oil Seeds

UHPSI research assistants are working with Vilicus Farms to review and compile strategies for sharing risk and rewards across non-food supply chains and propose ways to implement and adopt them in the food supply chain. Vilicus Farms is a grain, legume, and oilseed farm located in the Northern Great Plains of Montana pioneering organic, ecologically Read more about Innovative Risk & Reward Sharing Between Farmers and the Supply Chain for Biodynamic and Organic Grain, Pulse and Oil Seeds[…]

Stillwater-Rosebud Water Quality Initiative

Our team is working to design and deploy a portfolio of GIS tools for the Stillwater Valley Watershed Council, focusing specifically on the Rosebud Creek. In its headwaters, the Rosebud Creek is a designated National Wild and Scenic River. Land use in the lower reaches of the Rosebud Creek’s riparian corridor has gradually transformed in Read more about Stillwater-Rosebud Water Quality Initiative[…]