The effects of drought, fire, and woody plant management on the nutrition and physiology of ungulate herbivores in semi-arid regions: Phase 1.
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Climate, fire, woody plant management practices, and grazing influence the health and functionality of rangelands. The duration and severity of drought has been and is expected to become even more variable in semi-arid regions of the Southwestern US. Dictated largely by precipitation; the application of fire, woody plant treatments, and/or grazing can result in damage to or restoration of, rangeland plant communities. Rangeland animals will both affect and be affected by these results. There is a need to better understand the interactions of these ecosystem drivers within the context of a changing climate, and to better understand their aggregated effects on rangeland animals.This project will explore the use of remote sensing such as satellite or laser imagery, non-invasive monitoring of grazing animals through collection of fecal samples, and computer simulation modeling to develop critically needed information gathering methods and then apply these techniques to analyze the effects of climate, fire, and other rangeland plant management systems on the nutrition and physiology of herbivores.Scientists equipped with these techniques will conduct more effective research, educators will be supplied with cutting edge information to share with a variety of learners, and rangeland managers will become better stewards of our natural resources to provide food, fuel, fiber, and fun for a growing population into the future.