The gathering of rangeland, watershed, entomology, soil science, and forest resources into one integrated department is unique. Our department was organized this way to address the teaching, research, and extension needs characteristic of the western U.S. rangeland and forest land management decisions. Rangeland and forest forest management impact the quantity and quality of water produced. Vegetation ecology is linked to habitat and forage on which wildlife, livestock, and insects rely. Invasive weeds are identified by the U.S. government as the biggest threat to biodiversity and productivity of range and forest lands. Biocontrol, relying primarily on insects, is the most promising way to achieve practical long-term suppression of some invasive weeds or noxious insects. Grasshoppers, ticks, and bark beetles, do great damage to range and forest productivity; the key to their suppression is often based on melding an understanding of insect biology with range and forest ecology. Pivotal components of reclamation and restoration ecology relates to soil physical, chemical and microbiology issues. Understanding plant, wildlife, livestock, and insect interactions is often underlain by principles of soil and water management. Soil and insects are often some of the most useful indicators of the health of range and forest ecosystems. These examples illustrate the vital connectivity of the disciplines housed in our department. What sets us apart is our focus on using science to enhance management of these lands.
The education of students in our department is enhanced by learning not only of their discipline but also how their discipline relates to others. This increases the marketability of our students when they seek rewarding jobs and is appreciated by their future employers. Our research increasingly tackles the information gaps that are at the frontiers of science that lie in the connection between disciplines. Our extension programs offer integrated options needed to face real-world problems that often are not separated along scientific disciplinary boundaries. Please contact us if we can help address your education or management needs.