Ecology of Grazing and Grasslands in the Pacific Northwest
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 to the east. Classroom lectures, workshops, and guest speakers will be paired with weekly field trips to dairy, beef, sheep, and goat grazing farms. We will take overnight trips to the 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.
To enroll in this program an introductory academic background in plant and animal physiology, biochemistry, and ecology is recommended. Experience with livestock and rangeland systems can be helpful, but is not required. Please send a brief email to faculty (firstname.lastname@example.org) describing relevant coursework and/or experience prior to registration in order to obtain a signature.
Studies or careers in animal agriculture, ecology, conservation, rangeland management, animal physiology and behavior.
$300 required fee for overnight field trip(s)
Students seeking to earn upper division credit must contact the faculty to discuss options prior to the start of the quarter.