John Taylor, ARS Member and SRM Director 2021-24.  Email:


I had the privilege of being one of the 1600 people present (and 200 virtual participants) who were challenged to i) share new approaches and ideas, and ii) collaborate with those involved in the art and science of rangeland management to address the changing ecological and economic context and societal expectations of managing the world’s rangelands.  This brief overview outlines the key rangeland management issues discussed in January 2024.

As usual, the SRM meeting had a comprehensive program, addressing current and emerging issues, and with several interesting concurrent sessions at most times.  After a test run, two years ago the SRM began recording all sessions involving speakers, with the recordings available to both ‘in person’ and virtual registrants within weeks of the meeting.  This has been a great initiative that: i) has cut the hallway chaos that used to be associated with people running from session to session, ii) has meant that virtual participants in Australia/Asia, Africa or Europe don’t have to be up late at night to listen to a session, and iii) has given people the opportunity to catch-up on a ‘lower priority’ session and/or reflect and revise their notes on a particular session.  Maybe the ARS could adopt this approach to retain current members and engage potential members?

The 4-day program included symposia, workshops, technical tours, poster and ignite/campfire sessions, social events, committee meetings, etc., which can be viewed at  This overview highlights the sessions that ‘caught my eye’ and were a stimulating experience.

The tone of the meeting was set by the then President, Barry Perryman, and the plenary sessions at the outset of day 1 and 2.  Tip Hudson (Washington State University) was the moderator of the two ‘podcast’ sessions in which panels of i) young professionals and ii) experienced professionals discussed ‘What does change on the range mean to you?’.

The young professionals (i.e. producers, researchers, advisers) were posed questions such as:

  • What are the physical and biological changes/progress that you have seen?
  • How have you changed?
  • What actions/conversations have been effective in building and rebuilding relations?
  • What do you hope will change in 50 years (but ideally in 5-10 years)?

And the experienced professionals were also asked:

  • What are bad habits/ideas for change?
  • What are effective approaches to navigating conflict?

I thought that these plenaries were great thought-provoking sessions and, as the panel’s responses have been captured for future ‘Art of Range’ podcasts, I would encourage colleagues to monitor this site ( to hear these insightful and valuable discussions when they are released over the next month or so.  You might also be interested in the podcast Tip produced earlier after visiting Napier Downs station in the Kimberley’s following the 2023 ARS meeting in Broome and the recent podcast on the International Rangeland Congress (IRC 2025).

Among the 30+ symposia, 15 workshops and 25+ contributed oral sessions, the symposia topics that were aligned to Australian issues and caught my attention were:

  • Climate adaptation strategies for conservation of ranching and rangelands
  • Implementing climate adaptations: Involving diverse stakeholders in decision making
  • Co-laboring in the west: Stewardship economies and rangeland conservation
  • Metrics, management and monitoring: linking grazing management, soil health and producer wellbeing
  • Monitoring soil carbon on the range: where is the science?
  • Carbon on the range: Addressing key uncertainties in carbon pools, fluxes and drivers of change
  • Balancing the art and science of grazing management
  • Human dimensions of rangeland management: A review and knowledge gaps
  • Sustaining indigenous natural resources
  • Women making a change in range
  • Logistics and financials: Addressing challenges in rangelands reclamation and restoration
  • Improving efficiency of livestock behaviour analytical approaches: Incorporating machine learning into analysis of sensor-based behaviour data
  • Range ecology at disequilibrium: What have we learned and where are we going?
  • Elevating and uniting voices in rangelands: International Year of Rangelands (IYRP) 2026.

Workshops of interest to me included:

  • Stock-Smart: Dynamic stocking rate decision support for the 21st century
  • Exploring poetic inquiry and multispecies ethnography: Two creative methods in rangeland social sciences
  • Seeding more broadly: Exploring information-sharing to increase the use of diverse native plant species in restoration
  • Educating the next generation
  • Stakeholder engagement for the IYRP 2026: Action planning
  • Putting the R in rangelands: Applied tools for data analysis.

So, by now you can see that I couldn’t sit in and absorb the richness of more than a few of these sessions, but having them recorded has allowed me to download and listen to the presentations and discussions at my convenience.  I’m now waiting for more rainy days to work through my list of sessions of interest!

The meeting concluded with the SRM Honor Awards.  These included recognition of the accomplishments of several SRM members with Australian connections, and I was privileged to be able to congratulate them personally, viz:

  • Dr Karen Launchbaugh (University of Idaho) – Renner award for fostering better use of rangeland resources and broader understanding of the contributions of rangeland resources,
  • Dr Brandon Bestelmeyer (NRCS) – Chapline award for exceptional and sustained accomplishments in range science,
  • Dr Derek Bailey (New Mexico State University) – Sustained Lifetime Achievement award for long-term contributions to the art and science of range management and the Society, and
  • Dr Patricia Johnson (South Dakota State University) – Sustained Lifetime Achievement award.

Another highlight of this meeting was the time I spent with Jim O’Rourke manning the IRC/IYRP stand in the Trade Show.  Sadly, this was the last time I would enjoy Jim’s humour and insights on places and people in the world’s rangelands.

If this update has stimulated your interest in gaining different perspectives on global rangeland issues, or expanding your network of leading rangeland researchers, advisers and managers, please consider participating, in person or virtually, in the next SRM Annual meeting to be held in Spokane Washington (NW USA), 9-13 Feb 2025.