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Rangeland Modeling Project

The overall goal of the project is to quantify the interactions among physical, biological, social and economic processes for optimizing rangeland resources management at temporal and spatial scales. The impacts of grazing management options (e.g., adaptive grazing management and burning for pasture improvement) on ecosystem services and sustainability are simulated using grazing land management models (e.g., APEX and IFSM). Modeling results are also used to identify the viable management practices that not only maximize ranchers’ net return but also minimize environmental impacts and the deterioration of rangeland resources.

This is a joint effort on rangeland modeling with two other LTAR (Long Term Agroecosystems Research) sites, the Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory in Temple, TX and the Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit in University Park, PA. Long-term data from the Central Plains Experimental Range (CEPR) in northeastern Colorado and the Riesel Watersheds in Riesel, TX are used to study the effects of management practices on rangeland sustainability and to compare alternative management options (aspirational vs business as usual) in terms of forage and animal productivity, environmental impacts, soil and vegetation health, and economic returns at the two locations using the APEX (Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender) and IFSM (Integrated Farm System Model) models.