Rangeland Ecology and Management - BS, Rangeland Resources Option

Students majoring in Rangeland Ecology and Management are taught to integrate knowledge and technology in a systems approach to manage land for sustainable utilization of natural resources. Emphasis is placed on conservation and maintenance of biological diversity in wet to arid environments and sustainable production, conservation and function of land. Rangelands comprise approximately 50% of the land area of the United States and the world. Natural resources on rangelands provide many products and values for society including: livestock grazing, habitat for game and non-game wildlife, water for urban and agricultural uses, recreational opportunities, minerals, oil and gas. The expansiveness and diversity of rangelands require that knowledge and technology be drawn from numerous disciplines.

Employment opportunities are diverse. They include all aspects of natural resource management, including ranch management, environmental consulting, conservation and natural resource planning on private lands and with state and federal agencies. Students also find employment in agribusiness sales, marketing, agricultural finance real estate, consulting and reclamation. Students can also pursue professional careers in teaching agricultural science.

Two options in the Rangeland Ecology and Management curriculum provide the opportunity for specialization in a minor field.

Rangeland Resources Option

Designed for students preparing for careers in the private, state and federal sectors in the area of natural resources conservation and management. It also provides good preparation for graduate study leading to positions in extension, teaching, research and consulting. It allows maximum flexibility to orient a degree program towards specific career interests. Students are encouraged to develop an emphasis area by selecting 15 hours of directed elective courses in related disciplines. Several suggested emphasis areas for the Rangeland Resources Option follow.

Emphasis Areas

Ecology

Designed for students to explore and specialize in a diverse array of ecological topics. They study plants and animals and the ecological principles essential for effective conservation, management and restoration of the land and associated natural resources. They are prepared for careers in resource monitoring, management and conservation with state and federal agencies and the private sector.

Environmental Science

Designed for students preparing for professional careers in environmental management. The coursework includes a basic foundation of ecological sciences, plant taxonomy and rangeland management with emphasis on plants, water and soils. Job opportunities are available in environmental consulting firms, public utility companies, municipalities and federal environmental agencies. The curriculum provides a good foundation for students planning to pursue graduate studies in watershed management, environmental sciences, pollution control or waste management.

Preveterinary Medicine

Prepares students for admission to the professional program in veterinary medicine. Students planning to work in large animal practice would benefit from studies in rangeland ecology and management.

Range/Soil Conservation

Designed to qualify students as range management specialists or soil conservationists with the federal government. The curriculum will provide students with competitive ratings with federal Civil Service for positions with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Various electives and work experience may be used to increase the rating score. Job opportunities are also available in private and state organizations.

Teaching

For students majoring in rangeland ecology and management who wish to teach. Directed electives may be chosen so that, following this curriculum, the student is eligible to enter the induction year as a teacher of agricultural science under the Texas Education Agency Plan. Off-campus student teaching is required.

Watershed Resources

For students preparing for a professional career in watershed management. Graduates qualify for employment as range management specialists and soil conservationists or, with proper selection of electives, as hydrologists. Opportunities are also available in environmental consulting firms, public utility companies, land reclamation firms, municipalities, secondary school education and private land management.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallSemester Credit Hours
AGEC 105 Introduction to Agricultural Economics 3
ESSM 201 Exploring Ecosystem Science and Management 1
RENR 205
RENR 215
Fundamentals of Ecology
and Fundamentals of Ecology--Laboratory
4
Select one of the following: 4
Botany  
Essentials in Biology  
Horticultural Science and Practices
and Horticultural Science and Practices Laboratory
 
Communication 1 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring
CHEM 119 Fundamentals of Chemistry I 4
ESSM 281 Seminar in Ecosystem Science and Management 1
American history 1 3
Communication 1 3
Mathematics 3
 Semester Credit Hours14
Second Year
Fall
ESSM 302 Wildland Plants of North America 3
ESSM 314 Principles of Rangeland Management Around the World 3
ESSM 351/RENR 405 Geographic Information Systems for Resource Management 3
Mathematics 3
Emphasis area elective 2 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring
ESSM 301 Wildland Watershed Management 3
ESSM 303
Agrostology
or Rangeland Plant Taxonomy
3-4
ESSM 313 Vegetation Sampling Methods and Designs in Ecosystems 3
ESSM 317 Vegetation Management 3
SCSC 310 Soil Morphology and Interpretations 2
 Semester Credit Hours14
Summer
Creative arts 1 3
Language, philosophy and culture 1 3
 Semester Credit Hours6
Third Year
Fall
SCSC 301 Soil Science 4
Select one of the following: 3
Principles of Farm and Ranch Management  
Environmental and Natural Resource Economics  
Coupled Social and Ecological Systems  
Changing Natural Resource Policy  
Natural Resources Policy  
Environmental Impact Assessment  
Emphasis area elective 2 3
Emphasis area elective 2 3
General elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring
ESSM 306
Plant Functional Ecology and Adaptation
or Biogeochemistry and Global Change
3
American history 1 3
Emphasis area elective 2 3
Emphasis area elective 2 3
Emphasis area elective 2 2
 Semester Credit Hours14
Fourth Year
Fall
ESSM 315 Rangeland Inventory and Monitoring 1
ESSM 316 Range Ecology 3
ESSM 481 Senior Seminar 1
Select one of the following: 3
Principles of Farm and Ranch Management  
Environmental and Natural Resource Economics  
Coupled Social and Ecological Systems  
Changing Natural Resource Policy  
Natural Resources Policy  
Environmental Impact Assessment  
Government/Political science 1,3 3
Emphasis area elective 2 3
 Semester Credit Hours14
Spring
RENR 410
Ecosystem Management
or Range Analysis and Management Planning
4
Government/Political science 1,3 3
Emphasis area elective 2 3
General elective 2
 Semester Credit Hours12
 Total Semester Credit Hours120