Introduction/Rangeland Cup Topic:
2019 Rangeland Cup – Minneapolis
Prairie grasslands are diverse and productive ecosystems that provide society a wide array of ecosystem goods and services. Unfortunately, these ecosystems are some of the most threatened globally, with estimates ranging between 40-50% of original biome areas having been converted to other uses and less than 5% in permanent conservation (compared to tropical/subtropical grasslands and forests, ≈28% converted but with 13% in permanent conservation)#. Historically, mechanisms arose to retire converted lands to allow restoration back to native communities or to place threatened lands into permanent conservation status (e.g., easements), but often these are limited by state and national budgets and may detract conservation efforts due to required management policies regarding potential and future uses of the prairie.
- What are the drivers of prairie losses to other land uses? Why are permanent prairie conservation efforts so far behind the conservation efforts of other biomes globally? How do the mechanisms of prairie ecosystem conservation differ from those of other biomes (e.g., tropical forests) that are more widely publicized?
- Identify a particular prairie ecosystem that is currently threatened by some of the pressures you identified in Part 1 and develop a new, innovative conservation strategy that would enhance the long-term conservation of the ecosystem. Describe how your strategy would provide incentives for landowners and managers to adopt your recommendations as well as what ecological processes would be improved post-implementation.
# – Heidenreich, B. 2009. What are global temperate grasslands worth? A case for their protection. Temperate Grasslands Conservation Initiative, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
DEADLINE TO REGISTER HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO
DECEMBER 3, 2018
PLEASE REGISTER AT https://rangelandcup2019.eventbrite.com
Student posters displaying their problem solving approach will be judged on content, organization, and presentation. Points will be assigned based on the criteria listed below. Judges scores and comments will remain anonymous and will be provided as typed summaries for each team.
Content refers to the employment of a creative, logic-based approach to the problem. The approach should be bolstered by scientific evidence, in a similar manner to a grant proposal. The poster should display a clear rationale behind the approach, but should attempt to expand on existing knowledge pertaining to the topic. 60 maximum points.
Abstract: should provide a concise summary of the proposed solutions. 5 maximum points.
Introduction: should introduce the importance of the topic and provide pertinent background information about the theory behind the team’s approach. 10 maximum points.
Narrative: should clearly describe the team’s approach for addressing the topic. This is where the team will “sell” their ideas. Should demonstrate the team’s knowledge of the subject matter and their logical approach to the task. Each part of the topic should be addressed. Suggested research methods, long-term management plans, expected results, potential pitfalls, budgetary concerns, conclusions, etc. are all acceptable information for the narrative. 45 maximum points.
Organization describes the design and flow of the poster. The poster should be easy to read and understand without interpretation by the author. Tables, figures, and photographs should be well designed, clear, and with informative legends. All visual aids should be referenced in the poster. 20 maximum points.
Presentation deals with the students’ ability to discuss their approach and field questions concerning the background and potential outcomes of that approach. Additionally, the students’ professionalism, in manner and personal presentation, will be evaluated during the competition. 40 maximum points.
Professional manner: Do the students exhibit confidence and enthusiasm? Do the students effectively communicate their ideas verbally? 15 maximum points.
The students’ ability to address questions and provide comments on their approach should clearly demonstrate their individual involvement in the creative process of problem solving. Do the students’ display insight into how their ideas fit into the larger context of range management? 25 maximum points.