Best in the West
Rangelands are important environments in the West and make up nearly half of the total land area in Idaho. Our nationally ranked Rangeland Conservation degree (accredited by the Society for Rangeland Management) prepares students to manage, conserve, and restore these diverse environments, which include grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, and deserts. Our graduates are leaders in the field, and our program prepares students for a career with government agencies, conservation groups and private land owners. Additionally, our program provides a solid understanding of ecological restoration and the many issues facing natural resource management.
Prepare for the Future
The Rangeland Conservation program offers four career tracks:
- Land and Livestock
This career track is for students interested in hands-on management of rangelands. Academic advisors work with students to select courses that provide the knowledge and skills needed to manage rangelands with grazing and fire to enhance livestock production while sustaining communities of native plants and animals. Completion of these courses can also satisfy the requirements for a minor in Animal Science or Soil Science.
- Restoration Ecology
Millions of acres of rangelands and forests have been disturbed by fire, invasive plants, and overgrazing. Academic advisors in rangeland conservation have developed a set of electives for students interested in a career in wildland restoration. Completing these career track electives will fulfill the requirements for the Restoration Ecology Undergraduate Academic Certificate. Careful selection of courses can also highlight expertise in botany and plant materials to qualify for professions as a botanist.
- Wildland Fire
Wildfire is one of the major forces causing change on rangeland ecosystems. Completing a specific set of advisor approved electives will enable students to show knowledge of land management related to wildland fire and fulfill the requirements for a minor in Fire Ecology and Management.
- Wildlife Habitat
Many species of wildlife live on rangelands and the management of wildlife habitat is an important and sought after skill. With help from their academic advisor, rangeland students can complete a career track that will show expertise in wildlife habitat management and fulfill the requirements for a minor in Wildlife Resources.
Students also have the option to develop their own individual career track to help prepare them for their career goals. Students select 18 credits among an approved list of elective courses in subjects ranging from agriculture, economics, geography, and many more.
What Will You Learn?
Rangeland Conservation majors will take numerous courses involving outdoor classrooms, hands-on learning exercises, and interactive laboratories. Major courses Rangeland Conservation students will take include:
- REM 151 – Rangeland Principles
Rangelands are vast landscapes that cover most of western North America and the earth. Students will examine the ecological principles that cause these grasslands, shrublands, woodlands and deserts to change or stay the same. How humans use and manage these ecosystems will also be explored. The modern challenges of rangeland management must be met with broad thinking and new, sustainable practices to maintain and restore rangelands and the human communities that rely on them. Course requires in-class projects and field experience(s).
- REM 252 – Wildland Plant Identification
Develop skills to identify and classify major rangeland plants. Focus is on identification of grasses, forbs, and shrubs. Discussions will also encompass the ecological roles of wildland plants and the ecosystem classification. This course includes a 1-day field trip. Required for REM majors. (Spring only)
- REM 280 – Introduction to Wildland Restoration
History and overview of the ecological, social, and economic aspects of wildland restoration using case studies. Students will explore approaches and philosophies towards restoring and rehabilitating wildlands that have been damaged through natural forces and human activities such as wildfire, overgrazing, cultivation, and weed invasion.
- REM 341 – Systematic Botany
Phylogenetic approach to understanding plant systematics and evolution with a primary focus on the flora of the Pacific Northwest. Includes identification of important plant families and the use of dichotomous keys for species identification. (Spring only)
Prereq: Biol 114 or Biol 115; and Biol 213 or PlSc 205
- REM 410 – Principles of Vegetation Measurement
On-line course designed to give an overview of vegetation measurement techniques for grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, and forests. Students will gain a solid understanding of how to evaluate and monitor vegetation attributes relative to wildlife habitat, livestock forage, fire fuel characteristics, watershed function, and many other wildland values. Recommended Preparation: A basic understanding of how to use computer spreadsheets such as Excel. (Fall only) Students who desire a hands-on and interactive experience with vegetation measurement are encouraged to also enroll in REM 411 which is a course the builds on the principles delivered in REM 410 and includes field experiences.
Prereq: Stat 251 or permission
- REM 411 – Wildland Habitat Ecology and Assessment
This course integrates field sampling with quantitative and theoretical concepts related to scientific research, wildlife habitat, and land management practices. Students collect, analyze, and report on ecological data in various formats, and learn specific protocols used by professionals to assess wildlife habitat. Class field trips required. Recommended preparation: REM 252 and REM 253, REM 341, or other plant identification class; ability to use excel. Co-enrollment in REM 410 is recommended.
Prereq: Stat 251 or Permission
- REM 440 – Wildland Restoration Ecology
Ecological principles and management practices involved in restoring and rehabilitating wildland ecosystems after disturbance or alteration to return damaged ecosystems to a productive and stable state. (Spring only)
Prereq: For 221, or REM 221, or equivalent general ecology course
- REM 459 – Rangeland Ecology
Application of ecological principles in rangeland management; stressing response and behavior of range ecosystems to various kinds and intensity of disturbance and management practice. Recommended Preparation: courses in general ecology (e.g., REM 221), technical writing (e.g., Engl 317), and vegetation assessment (e.g., REM 410 or For 274) or Permission (Fall only).
- REM 460 – Integrating GIS and Field Studies in Rangelands
Topics related to changing knowledge and technology related to GIS and spatial analysis relevant to ecology of grasslands, shrublands and woodlands. Min. six integrated GIS labs; one five-day field trip.Required for REM majors. (Fall only)
Coreq: REM 459
- REM 456 – Integrated Rangeland Management
Management strategies for integrating grazing with other natural resource values such as wildlife, water, timber, recreation, and aesthetics; emphasis on herbivore ecology including ecological impacts of grazing, ways to manage grazing, and nutritional relationships between plants and free-ranging ungulates on rangeland, pastureland, and forest ecosystems. One 4 to 5 day field trip. Recommended Preparation: REM 151. (Spring only)
Prereq: Engl 313 or Engl 317