Rangeland Ecology Bachelor of Science
The Forest and Rangeland Stewardship Department
Print Document

OVERVIEW OF MAJOR
Do you feel more at home working in the prairie than in the mountains, forests, or on the sea? Are you an ecologist at heart who would like to help ensure that the nation’s rangelands are managed to promote sustainable ecosystems? Do you wish to help restore degraded wetland, to reduce erosion, enhance wildlife habitat, and improve water quality? Would you like to manage large rangelands for a federal, state, or private land agency? If your answer to any of these questions is "yes," then a major in rangeland ecology is for you!

The Forest and Rangeland Stewardship Department offers a single major in Rangeland Ecology emphasizing interdisciplinary study of and research on the world’s rangelands. Rangelands occupy nearly 50 percent of the earth’s land surface and consist of natural grasslands, savannas, scrublands, riparian areas, deserts, tundra, alpine communities, and coastal marshes. Colorado is an ideal setting for the study of rangeland ecology and management with short grass prairie to the east and high elevation grasslands and riparian areas to the west.

Students are prepared to manage the animal, soil, and vegetation resources on rangelands primarily for state and federal land management agencies. The curricula are accredited by the Society for Range Management and meets U.S. Civil Service requirements for range conservationist and soil conservationist. With a few additional courses graduates can meet U.S. Civil Service requirements for soil scientist and ecologist. Students develop an in-depth understanding of basic plant and animal biology; a basic understanding of the physical sciences as they relate to range ecology; knowledge of important concepts of ecology and range management; an understanding of economics related to recognizing alternatives; and analytical and decision making skills. Students also develop communication, political, and interpersonal skills to make their education effective.

Three concentrations can be selected within the Rangeland Ecology major: Range & Forest Management, Restoration Ecology, and Rangeland Conservation & Management. Each of the concentrations leads to a Bachelor of Science degree. The Range and Forest Management concentration prepares students in multiple-use principles to manage and administer both rangeland and forest resources for federal and state government agencies or private businesses. The Restoration Ecology concentration provides students with skills important to restoration and rehabilitation of damaged rangeland ecosystems. The Rangeland Conservation and Management concentration focuses on multi-use rangeland management issues and techniques.

Back to top

CHARACTERISTICS AND SKILLS
* Strong interest in applied ecology
* Desire to understand range, wildlife, and watershed management principles
* Aptitude for natural sciences
* Strong analytical ability
* Likes working with physical things and in nature
* Organizational and decision making skills
* Prefer hands on work
* Prefer working outdoors-in the field
* Well organized and able to pay attention to detail
* Adaptable to changing conditions and environments
* Interest in policy formation and implementation
* Able to work in a team and alone
* Able to write and speak accurately and clearly
* Interest in data and policy analysis
* Able to integrate knowledge of a variety of concepts to obtain an holistic perspective

Back to top

POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS
Range scientists are trained to manage lands that produce herbage for all grazing animals, for aesthetic values, and for watershed enhancement. Knowledgeable in ecosystem structure, range scientists possess an understanding of the functions of the ecosystem with respect to nutrient cycling, energy flows among feeding levels, and animal requirements for food and shelter. These scientists are also trained to assess rehabilitation potential following drastic disturbances and to develop procedures for land reclamation and management. Range scientists often work closely with other specialists in wildlife, hydrology, forestry, soils, agronomy, recreation and other disciplines.

Rangelands occupy nearly one-half of the world’s land surfaces, and employment opportunities for graduates in this major are diverse and excellent. The profession offers an opportunity to work full time with natural resources, the improvement of environmental quality, and the basic problem of ecology. Because of growing interest in all aspects of the environment, the demand for additional range scientists is expected to increase by 33 percent in the next decade. In the U.S. most range scientists work for the Federal and state governments while private industry, colleges and universities, and international agencies are increasingly employing range scientists.

Participation in internships, volunteer activities, or cooperative education opportunities is highly recommended to enhance your practical training and development. Graduates who go on for advanced studies can attain more responsible positions with the possibility of rising to top professional levels. Career occupations include but are not limited to:

* Restoration ecologist
* Rangeland scientist
* Range management specialist
* Soil conservationist
* Soil scientist
* Rangeland conservationist
* Rangeland ecologist
* Ranch manager
* Researcher
* Commercial sales and service representative
* Consultant
* Mine rehabilitation specialist
* Real estate/land manager
* International rangeland specialist

Back to top

RELATED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
* Society for Range Management
* Range Ecology Club
* Natural Resources College Council

Back to top

MORE INFORMATION
The Forest and Rangeland Stewardship Department
131 Forestry Building
1472 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1472
970-491-6911
http://welcome.warnercnr.colostate.edu/frws-home/index.php
* Academic and career advising for majors


Career Center
120 Lory Student Center
Fort Collins, CO 80523
970-491-5707
http://career.colostate.edu/
* Major and career exploration/Job search information


Center for Advising and Student Achievement (CASA)
TILT Building
801 Oval Drive
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1033
970-491-7095
http://www.casa.colostate.edu
* Academic advising/Major exploration


Admissions and Undergraduate Recruitment
Ammons Hall
711 Oval Drive
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1401
970-491-6909
http://www.admissions.colostate.edu
* Admission applications/University visits and tours


General Catalog Online
http://www.catalog.colostate.edu/

Back to top