Stewardship Webinar On The Prairie Project Set August 5

Stewardship Webinar On The Prairie Project Set August 5

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will present a webinar, “The Prairie Project: Coupling Fire and Grazing” at noon on Aug. 5. This is part of the ongoing Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management Stewardship Series of webinars.

The cost is $35. Advance registration at https://bit.ly/RWFMAugust is required for all participants. Pay via credit card when registering to immediately receive instructions to access the webinar.

The featured speaker is Laura Goodman, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University Extension rangeland ecology specialist, Stillwater.

The Prairie Project

The Prairie Project integrates research, education and extension programs to facilitate the adoption of new strategies to increase livestock production and promote rangeland health in the Great Plains.

A prescribed burn fire behind a polaris vehicle with a person behind the wheel observing the burn
Fire and mixed grazing can play a crucial role across the Great Plains for preserving grasslands from woody plant encroachment. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Morgan Treadwell)

Goodman is the co-leader of the project’s extension and education efforts and assists with applied research.

The project’s research, education and extension agenda was developed through more than a decade of intensive stakeholder interactions across the Great Plains. Its goal is to facilitate the adoption of management practices to increase food production and more sustainable rangelands. The Prairie Project aims to increase livestock productivity by 20% in the Great Plains, thus also increasing the resilience of rural communities in this area.

Saving grasslands

The webinar will discuss how grasslands and savannas worldwide are an imperiled biome—particularly as a result of woody plant encroachment, increasingly extreme climatic conditions and more frequent and intense wildfires.

“Saving the remaining grasslands in the Great Plains and elsewhere will require a widespread shift in cultural norms—facilitated by targeted government incentives and a coordinated program of regional research, extension and education,” said series co-coordinator Morgan Treadwell, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension range specialist, San Angelo. “This webinar will cover the steps needed to achieve that and how we can start to shift public policy and perception.”

Goodman will explain how widespread adoption of pyric herbivory– the interactive ecology process where fire and grazing interact– as well as mixed-species grazing, such as cattle and goats, would not only make grasslands and savannas more resilient to environmental change but also enhance the profitability of livestock production systems.

Treadwell explained these management strategies control woody plants, enhance forage quality and increase animal production, and although this new management paradigm holds tremendous promise, it has not been widely adopted yet.

Susan Himes
 
Susan Himes is a writer and media relations specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife. She writes news releases and features from science-based information generated by the agency. She also covers human interest stories and events across the state.