Dr. J. Derek Scasta
Ecosystem Science and Management
Rangeland Extension Specialist, Associate Professor of Rangeland Management, Plant
– Herbivore Interactions Ecologist
I joined the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management in August of 2014 after
completing my Ph.D. at Oklahoma State University. Before starting my Ph.D. program,
I worked for seven years as an Extension Educator in Texas conducting educational
programming and applied research in range and livestock production. I am currently
an Associate Professor, Extension Rangeland Management Specialist, and Associate Director
for the Laramie Research and Extension Center (LREC). My overarching interest for
all activities is to bridge the gap between agriculture and conservation on rangelands.
My activities can be grouped in three broadly focused areas:
Range livestock production decisions associated with variable forage quality and quantity
resources, topographical constraints, toxic plants, policy stipulations, parasites,
and ecological concerns. This area of focus has involved ranchers from around Wyoming
and surrounding regions.
How livestock and wildlife interact in using the landscape to meet various resource
needs. This area of focus has included cattle, sheep, wild horses and burros, prairie
dogs, pronghorn, songbirds, sage-grouse, and predators.
How climate influences vegetation succession and disturbance such as wildfire and
prescribed affects livestock and wildlife. This area of focus has included the effects
of drought on livestock production, effects of fire on forage quality and shrubs like
sagebrush and greasewood, and generally rangeland plant communities.
I am heavily involved with extending research from the University of Wyoming to the
people across the state, including: livestock producers, employees of state and federal
land management agencies (Wyoming Game and Fish, Wyoming Department of Agriculture,
USDA, USFS, BLM, NPS, BIA, etc.), commodity groups (Wyoming Stock Growers Association,
Wyoming Wool Growers Association, Wyoming Section for the Society for Range Management,
etc.), and Extension Educators.