Justin Derner

Justin Derner
United States Department of Agriculture | USDA · Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

About

210
Publications
48,335
Reads
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6,832
Citations
Additional affiliations
March 2002 - present
Agricultural Research Service
Position
  • Research Leader

Publications

Publications (210)
Article
Full-text available
Rotational grazing studies have produced mixed results related to animal performance (weight gain), which has contributed to producer uncertainty regarding grazing management decisions. To enhance decision-support for producers, we improved algorithms in the Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender (APEX) model to better represent cattle weight g...
Article
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In the Great Plains of central North America, sustainable livestock production is dependent on matching the timing of forage availability and quality with animal intake demands. Advances in remote sensing technology provide accurate information for forage quantity. However, similar efforts for forage quality are lacking. Crude protein (CP) content...
Article
CONTEXT Simulation tools are increasingly used to inform grazing management decisions by assessing livestock performance, as well as environmental and economic impacts. Ability to represent the grazing of multiple pastures (i.e., paddocks) that differ in soil, hydrology, vegetation, and management is critical for reliable grazing management decisio...
Article
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Context Understanding how grazing management decisions influence the productivity and composition of rangeland plant communities is essential for the development of effective strategies to sustainably produce multiple ecosystem goods and services. Informed with experimental measurements, simulation models can advance our understanding and stewardsh...
Article
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Livestock distribution in extensive rangelands of North America can present management challenges to land managers. Understanding the role of topography on livestock distribution, within and across diverse rangeland ecosystems, could provide land managers valuable information for adaptive management of livestock to address both conservation and pro...
Article
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Livestock distribution in extensive rangelands of North America can present management challenges to land managers. Understanding the role of topography on livestock distribution, within and across diverse rangeland ecosystems, could provide land managers valuable information for adaptive management of livestock to address both conservation and pro...
Article
Bement (1969) developed a stocking rate (SR) guide for yearling cattle grazing shortgrass steppe based on relationships among average daily weight gain (ADG, kg · d −1), beef production per hectare (BP, kg · ha −1), and stocking rate (animal unit days, AUD · ha −1) measured in long-term grazing experiments conducted from 1940 to 1963. These analyse...
Article
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Every spring, ranchers in the drought-prone U.S. Great Plains face the same difcult challenge—trying to estimate how much forage will be available for livestock to graze during the upcoming summer grazing season. To reduce this uncertainty in predicting forage availability, we developed an innovative new grassland productivity forecast system, nam...
Article
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Ranchers and pastoralists worldwide manage and depend upon resources from rangelands (which support indigenous vegetation with the potential for grazing) across Earth’s terrestrial surface. In the Great Plains of North America rangeland ecology has increasingly recognized the importance of managing rangeland vegetation heterogeneity to address cons...
Article
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Rangeland ecosystems worldwide are characterized by a high degree of uncertainty in precipitation, both within and across years. Such uncertainty creates challenges for livestock managers seeking to match herbivore numbers with forage availability to prevent vegetation degradation and optimize livestock production. Here, we assess variation in annu...
Article
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Vesicular stomatitis viruses (VSV) cause a condition known as vesicular stomatitis (VS), which results in painful lesions in equines, cattle, swine, and camelids, and when transmitted to humans can cause flu-like symptoms. When animal premises are affected by VS, they are subject to a quarantine. The equine industry more broadly may incur economic...
Article
Knowledge of climatic and management influences on large herbivore production (LHP, kg ha⁻¹) is needed for low productivity, semiarid grasslands to address potential consequences of both increasing climate variability and the need to increase animal protein for human consumption. Here, we evaluate the influence of climatic variability and herbivore...
Article
Toxic plants can negatively affect livestock production due to acute or chronic toxicosis. Detecting toxic plants in free-ranging animal diets has been a persistent challenge as toxicosis may only be noted with acute toxicity and subsequent mortality – but not necessarily when signs are sub-clinical. New fecal DNA (fDNA) metabarcoding technology ca...
Article
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The Great Plains is a mixture of cropland and grassland mainly used for agricultural purposes, with grasslands under continual threat of conversion to cropland. Agriculturists are advocating for the integration of crop-livestock systems (ICLS) to recouple nutrient cycles, improve biodiversity, and increase resilience of agricultural operations. We...
Article
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Ranchers and other land managers of central and northern Great Plains rangelands face recurrent droughts that negatively influence economic returns and environmental resources for ranching enterprises. Accurately estimating annual forage production and initiating drought decision-making actions proactively early in the growing season are both criti...
Article
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Productivity throughout the North American Great Plains grasslands is generally considered to be water limited, with the strength of this limitation increasing as precipitation decreases. We hypothesize that cumulative actual evapotranspiration water loss (AET) from April to July is the precipitation‐related variable most correlated to aboveground...
Article
Rangelands are temporally and spatially complex socio‐ecological systems on which the predominant land use is livestock production. In North America, rangelands also contain approximately 80% of remaining habitat for grassland birds, a guild of species that has experienced precipitous declines since the 1970s. While livestock grazing management may...
Article
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Considerable uncertainty remains regarding grazing-induced influences on soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration in semiarid grassland ecosystems due to three important complications associated with studying such effects: (1) Ecologically meaningful shifts in SOC pools attributable to grazing are difficult to detect relative to inherently large gra...
Article
On the Ground • We assessed diet quality and livestock weight gains for shortgrass steppe pastures dominated by Loamy Plains or Sandy Plains ecological sites. • When growing season precipitation is “normal,” livestock gains are higher on Sandy Plains ecological sites, and diet quality is not limiting livestock production. • Conversely, when growin...
Article
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Learning is recognized as central to collaborative adaptive management (CAM), yet few longitudinal studies examine how learning occurs in CAM or apply the science of learning to interpret this process. We present an analysis of decision-making processes within the collaborative adaptive rangeland management (CARM) experiment, in which 11 stakeholde...
Article
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Highly variable precipitation in western U.S. rangelands makes it challenging for ranchers to match animal demand to forage supply. Flexible stocking can enhance matching, thereby reducing losses during drought and increasing profit during wet years. Yet the benefits of flexible stocking depend on the availability of highly accurate and applicable...
Article
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Relationships between environmental variables associated with the spread of vector-borne pathogens, such as RNA viruses transmitted to humans and animals, remain poorly understood. Vesicular stomatitis (VS) is caused by a vector-borne, zoonotic RNA virus (VSV) and is the most common vesicular disease affecting livestock (domestic horses, cattle, pi...
Article
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The distribution of livestock across heterogeneous landscapes is often uneven, which has important implications for vegetation dynamics and how rangeland managers achieve desired outcomes from these landscapes. Here, we use data from widely available digital elevation models to classify a landscape in the shortgrass steppe with subtle topographic v...
Article
Sustainability of ranches and rural economies in the Great Plains of western North America is contingent on the economic vitality of beef production in a changing climate. Our objective was to measure and compare the interannual variability of beef production (kg/ha) and net returns ($/ha) over the past 15 years (2003-2017) from grazing yearlings a...
Article
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In the North American Great Plains, multigenerational ranches and grassland biodiversity are threatened by dynamic and uncertain climatic, economic, and land use processes. Working apart, agricultural and conservation communities face doubtful prospects of reaching their individual goals of sustainability. Rangeland research could serve a convening...
Book
Grazing land models can assess the provisioning and trade-offs among ecosystem services attributable to grazing management strategies. We reviewed 12 grazing land models used for evaluating forage and animal (meat and milk) production, soil C sequestration, greenhouse gas emission, and nitrogen leaching, under both current and projected climate con...
Article
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USDA’s Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) network is composed of 18 locations distributed across the contiguous United States working together to integrate national and local agricultural priorities and advance the sustainable intensification of US agriculture. We explore here the concept of sustainable intensification as a framework for defin...
Article
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Monitoring of aboveground net primary production (ANPP) is critical for effective management of rangeland ecosystems but is problematic due to the vast extent of rangelands globally, and the high costs of ground-based measurements. Remote sensing of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (APAR) can be used to predict ANPP, potentially offerin...
Article
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The Earth is a complex system comprising many interacting spatial and temporal scales. We developed a transdisciplinary data-model integration (TDMI) approach to understand, predict, and manage for these complex dynamics that focuses on spatiotemporal modeling and cross-scale interactions. Our approach employs human-centered machine-learning strate...
Article
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Citation: Porensky, L. M., J. D. Derner, and D. W. Pellatz. 2018. Plant community responses to historical wildfire in a shrubland-grassland ecotone reveal hybrid disturbance response. Ecosphere 9(8): Abstract. Most ecotones include structural and taxonomic elements from both adjacent communities, but it remains unclear how these elements function a...
Article
Grazing cattle redistribute nitrogen (N) consumed in forage through urine and feces patches. The high concentration of N in these patches often exceeds the uptake demands of the local plant community, thereby providing ideal conditions for losses of reactive N. However, knowledge on nitrous oxide (N 2 O) and ammonia (NH 3) emissions from excretal p...
Article
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There is rapidly growing national interest in grazing lands’ soil health, which has been motivated by the current soil health renaissance in cropland agriculture. In contrast to intensively managed croplands, soil health for grazing lands, especially rangelands, is tempered by limited scientific evidence clearly illustrating positive feedbacks betw...
Article
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Sustainable intensification is an emerging model for agriculture designed to reconcile accelerating global demand for agricultural products with long-term environmental stewardship. Defined here as increasing agricultural production while maintaining or improving environmental quality, sustainable intensification hinges upon decision-making by agri...
Article
Semiarid grasslands contribute significantly to net terrestrial carbon flux as plant productivity and heterotrophic respiration in these moisture-limited systems are correlated with metrics related to water availability (e.g., precipitation, Actual EvapoTranspiration or AET). These variables are also correlated with remotely sensed metrics such as...
Article
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Semiarid rangelands experience substantial interannual variability in precipitation, which can determine the relative abundance of species in any given year and influence the way that fire affects plant community composition and productivity. Long-term studies are needed to examine potential interactions between fluctuating community composition an...
Article
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Increasing atmospheric [CO2] and temperature are expected to affect the productivity, species composition, biogeochemistry, and therefore the quantity and quality of forage available to herbivores in rangeland ecosystems. Both elevated CO2 (eCO2) and warming affect plant tissue chemistry through multiple direct and indirect pathways, such that the...
Article
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The states of Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming comprise the Northern Great Plains region of the USA. The soil and water resources contained in this region have historically supported highly diverse and productive agriculture enterprises that provide a significant proportion of the food, feed, and oilseed for the...
Article
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The Northern Great Plains (NGP) region of the USA—which comprises Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska—is a largely rural area that provides numerous ecosystem services, including livestock products, cultural services, and conservation of biological diversity. The region contains 25% of the Nation’s beef cattle and a...
Article
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Native and agricultural forests in the Northern Plains provide ecosystem services that benefit human society—diversified agricultural systems, forest-based products, and rural vitality. The impacts of recent trends in temperature and disturbances are impairing the delivery of these services. Climate change projections identify future stressors of g...
Chapter
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In the Northern Great Plains, the timing and quantity of both precipitation and runoff have important consequences for water supplies, agricultural activities, and energy production. Overall, climate projections suggest that the number of heavy precipitation events (events with greater than 1 inch per day of rainfall) is projected to increase. Movi...
Article
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Federal investments by U.S. agencies to enhance climate resilience at regional scales grew over the past decade (2010s). To maximize efficiency and effectiveness in serving multiple sectors and scales, it has become critical to leverage existing agency-specific research, infrastructure, and capacity while avoiding redundancy. We discuss lessons lea...
Article
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We used long-term observations of grassland aboveground net plant production (ANPP, 1939–2016), growing seasonal advanced very-high-resolution radiometer remote sensing normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data (1982–2016), and simulations of actual evapotranspiration (1912–2016) to evaluate the impact of Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)...
Article
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As grassland birds of central North America experience steep population declines with changes in land use, management of remaining tracts becomes increasingly important for population viability. The integrated use of fire and grazing may enhance vegetation heterogeneity and diversity in breeding birds, but the subsequent effects on reproduction are...
Article
Rangelands of the western Great Plains of North America are complex social-ecological systems where management objectives for livestock production, grassland bird conservation, and vegetation structure and composition converge. The Collaborative Adaptive Rangeland Management (CARM) experiment is a 10-year collaborative adaptive management (CAM) pro...
Article
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Experiments investigating grazing systems have often excluded ranch-scale decision making, which has limited our understanding of the processes and consequences of adaptive management. We conducted interviews and vegetation monitoring on 17 ranches in eastern Colorado and eastern Wyoming to investigate rancher decision-making processes and the asso...
Article
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Fetzel et al. (2017) globally mapped the gap between observed and potential grazing intensity (GI): the ratio between consumption by livestock and aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP). Fetzel et al. (2017) estimated grazing land, forage production and livestock demand at a half-degree resolution. This article is protected by copyright. All r...
Article
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•Wind erosion is a major resource concern for rangeland managers because it can impact soil health, ecosystem structure and function, hydrologic processes, agricultural production, and air quality.•Despite its significance, little is known about which landscapes are eroding, by how much, and when.•The National Wind Erosion Research Network was esta...
Poster
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As the LTAR Network designs and develops its data management systems, an LTAR “Information Ecosystem” (Nardi and O’Day, 1999) is envisioned to enable effective communication and collaboration, data sharing policies, standardization of exchange formats for data and metadata, integration of various types of data, and QAQC. We present how LTAR sites,...