John Taylor, SRM Director and ARS member. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Society for Range Management (SRM) meeting in Boise Idaho attracted over 1600 ‘in person’ and 300 ‘virtual’ registrations, half of whom were international participants. The very full program offered a range of topical concurrent sessions, and, for the first time at a SRM meeting, all registrants will subsequently have access to recordings of most sessions. That should overcome the frustration of concurrent sessions and the chaos of people running from room to room!
The 4-day program included plenary sessions, symposia, workshops, technical sessions, a trade show, a poster session, a wide range of events to facilitate networking and awards to recognize contributions to the art and science of range management and the up-and-coming range management professionals. The following points outline the issues covered in key sessions; in many cases issues that are also important across Australia today.
- The first session of the first 3 days of the meeting was a plenary wherein small panels discussed issues around Working across Borders, Working across Disciplines and Working across Eras.
- Symposium topics included: fire management, the role of rangelands in climate neutrality, risks of carbon ranching, fire and herbivory for delivery of ecosystem services, rangelands across the world, rangeland management impacts on carbon and ecosystem services, soil carbon and ecosystem service markets, virtual fencing, the role of invasive exotic species in restoration, poisonous plants, cultivating future range professionals and a rangeland-literate public, and rangeland sustainability certification and verification.
- Workshops included: trends and innovations in range sheep production systems, invasive annual grasses, stakeholder engagement for the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP) 2026, data management, the rangeland workforce crisis, and collaborative/program options aligned with the 2025 International Rangeland Congress (IRC) here in Australia. Technical sessions/presentations covered: water resources, fire, range restoration, targeted grazing, plant ecology (woody plants, climate and drought, plant-animal interactions), avian wildlife, invasive species, technology/UAVs, carbon on the range, carbon markets and social science.
- Campfire sessions addressed topics such as ecological calendars and the knowledge, skills and leadership traits for early career professionals to excel in their careers.
- Events focussed on students included a job fair, forums, plant ID competitions, an extemporaneous speaking contest and socials.
I joined Jim O’Rourke in manning the IYRP/IRC stand at the trade show, and noted a wide and very strong interest in attending the IRC, reconnecting with colleagues and experiencing Australia. I had a lot of questions about comparable US-Australia landscapes and places to visit pre the pre-conference tour and post-conference.
For the next RMN I will endeavour to provide a summary of a couple of the topics of relevance to Australia’s rangelands.
The 2024 SRM annual meeting will be held in Sparks, Nevada (28 January-01 February).