Major Rangelands Web Portals Connect Science, Practice

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Given the growing need to curb invasive species, improve methods to reduce the loss of animal and plants due to fire and drought and to sustain certain species, a new era of rangeland management has arrived.

Yet, public and private land managers, rangeland specialists and ranchers often have little or no timely access to analytical tools or science-based published research related to the extensive grasslands, woodlands, riparian and wetland areas and other type of ecoregions that mark rangelands.

Staff members at the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, or CALS, and the University Libraries are at the forefront of the Rangelands Partnership - a multi-institution organization, 10 years in the making - that has just launched a suite of Web-based portals with a database of more than 13,000 resources related to rangelands. 

"We chose rangelands for several reasons: They're not just cattle and grassy areas. This gets into water rights, laws concerning land management and other issues," said Doug Jones, the research services team leader for the University Libraries and a founding member of the Rangelands Partnership.

Developing these Web-based resources has involved 18 other land-grant universities in western U.S. states including Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas as well as rangeland organizations in Australia and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or FAO - all members of the Rangelands Partnership.

Those involved include rangeland resource specialists who often work directly in community-based settings with ranchers and farmers through land-grant university cooperative extension programs, and also librarians and information technology staff, such as those at the University Libraries and in the CALS communications and technologies unit.

"We're trying to take advantage of all the information that is available and bring two cultures together," Jones said, adding that one of the major challenges has been to develop an organizational structure that is both effective and efficient. 

"The end result is something that neither group could have done independently," he said.

Read more from this December 19 UANews article written by La Monica Everett-Haynes at

More Information