Learn the Latest Science on Conifers in these Short Videos

Some trees are threatening to take over the healthy rangelands that birds, livestock and people depend on. Fortunately, scientists can show how, where, and why to thwart this invasion. The Society for Range Management’s (SRM) scientific journal, Rangeland Ecology & Management, released a special issue focused entirely on this landscape-level threat and these studies were presented at a live-streamed science symposium last month. The event was recorded and available to the public for free.

Fires once kept native conifers from expanding into sagebrush rangelands. In the last 150 years, junipers and pinyon pines have marched across rangeland, drying up precious streams and threatening sage grouse. In the Great Basin, conifers have expanded their range by 600 percent, overtaking many of the native plants that sustain agricultural operations as well as 350 species. The new research papers describe the impacts of the woody invasion of western rangelands.

Emceed by Rick Miller, a woodland expansion expert from Oregon State University, the latest-science symposium highlighted new tools for planning conifer removal projects, data on rapid sage-grouse recolonization into newly available habitat following conifer removal, enhanced grouse nesting and brood survival metrics following cuttings, songbird benefits from conifer removal, and higher water retention results on ranches without trees.

The presentation recordings are available for free thanks to the Bureau of Land Management and Sage Grouse Initiative.