Great Basin Rangelands Research Unit
America’s rangelands cover about 80% of the West and provide the forage for livestock, habitat for wildlife, recreation, and water resources for the rapidly urbanizing Western states. Over 50% of these rangelands are degraded and many more are at risk because of reoccurring drought and wildfires that are estimated to cost the Nation over $6 billion dollars annually. The rapid spread of invasive species and changes in land cover and use cost the United States an estimated $130 billion dollars each year. The research arm of the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) came to Nevada in 1913 when the Bureau of Soils established a project on salt accumulation in the soil limiting the success of the Newlands Reclamation Project at Fallon Nevada. Following reorganization of USDA research programs in the early 1950’s the Agricultural Research Service consolidated its research on the campus of the University of Nevada Reno in 1958 where the research was realigned and focused on range improvements and invasive weed control. Today the Great Basin Rangelands Research Unit’s (GBRR) mission is development of management guidelines, technologies, and practices for conserving and restoring Great Basin rangelands and development of tools and techniques to assess the effectiveness of these management actions. A focus of the Research Unit is to develop integrated techniques to control invasive weeds on rangelands and develop revegetation and restoration methodologies for, annual grasslands, sagebrush, salt desert, and Pinyon-Juniper woodlands across the western United States. A second focus of the Research Unit is to improve the ability to predict how rangelands will respond to changing environmental conditions and devise management guidelines, technologies, and practices for conserving and restoring Great Basin rangelands that mitigate impacts from climate change. GBRR conducts research at a range of scales from point, to field, to landscape at diverse field sites across the Great Basin. GBRR research is oriented towards interdisciplinary and systems approaches that addresses both, long-term research needs, and critical emerging problems in management of public and private rangelands in partnership with the livestock industry, state and federal agencies.