Ecology of Grazing and Grasslands in the Pacific Northwest

Spring 2016 quarter

Taught by

veterinary medicine

This academically rigorous, field-based program will provide students with the fundamental tools to manage livestock and grasslands by exploring the ecological relationships between ruminants and the land. We will begin the quarter learning about the physiology of grasses and their response to grazing and fire. Practical forage identification, morphology, and production will be taught. Ruminant nutrition, foraging behavior, and digestive physiology will be covered as a precursor to learning about the practical aspects of establishing, assessing, and managing livestock rotational grazing operations. Ecological assessments of energy flow and nutrient cycling in grassland systems will be emphasized. We will divide our time equally between intensive grazing west of the Cascades and extensive rangeland systems in the east. Classroom lectures, workshops, and guest speakers will be paired with weekly field trips to dairy, beef, sheep, and goat grazing farms. There will be overnight trips to Willamette Valley, where we will study managed intensive grazing dairy operations and forage production, and Eastern Washington/Oregon, where students can practice their skills in rangeland monitoring and grazing plan development. Other special topics that will be covered in the program include co-evolutionary relationships between ruminants and grasses, targeted and multi-species grazing, prairie ecology and restoration, riparian ecosystems, controversies in public land grazing, interactions between wildlife and domestic ruminants, and analysis of large-scale livestock production systems.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

animal agriculture, ecology, conservation, rangeland management, animal physiology and behavior.

Academic Website

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day

Advertised schedule: First spring class meeting: Tuesday, March 29 at 8:30am (Lib 1412)


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Online Learning

No Required Online Learning: No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional for students.

Required Fees

$250 for three overnight field trips.

Upper Division Science Credit

Students seeking to earn upper division credit must contact the faculty to discuss options prior to the start of the quarter.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 24


Signature Required

Students should contact the faculty by email with a brief paragraph describing their relevant academic background and farming experience.

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 30069
So - Sr (16 credits): 30070

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