Rangeland Ecology Student Info

Is Rangeland Ecology Right for You?

Students will acquire a strong background in basic sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, and mathematics) and in courses addressing critical issues in vegetation ecology and management, sustainability and restoration of rangeland resources, watershed integrity, wildlife habitat, forage use, , and conservation of natural ecosystems. This major is designed for those students interested in pursuing skills and careers focused on the ecology, use, restoration, and management of rangeland ecosystems and natural resources.

Rangeland Management

Rangeland management is a unique discipline that blends science and management for the purpose of sustaining this valuable land. The primary goal of rangeland management is to protect and enhance a sustainable ecosystem that provides forage for wildlife and livestock, clean water and recreation on public and private land.  Professional rangeland management specialists are needed to integrate information about plant communities, soils, wildlife species, livestock use, watershed functions, geographical information systems and land use policy to conserve and restore these wildland ecosystems.


Graduating seniors are prepared for graduate study or may enter employment with state and federal agencies, private landowners or other firms, and non-profit organizations that own, study, restore, use and manage rangelands. Students should qualify under the federal US Office of Personnel Management and should consult the website.

The ecological assessment, restoration, conservation and sustainable management of rangeland resources are growing areas of state, regional, national, and international priority. Hence, the employment outlook is extremely promising for students interested in working for state and federal agencies, private or consulting firms and non-profit organizations that address these issues or own and manage rangelands.

To become a Range Technician you need at least 1 year of study that includes at least 6 semester hours of courses such as range management or conservation, agriculture, forestry, wildlife management, engineering, biology, mathematics, or other natural or physical sciences.

To become a Rangeland Management Specialist you need a degree in range management or related discipline with at least 42 semester hours in a combination of the plant, animal, and soil sciences, and natural resources management, as follows:

  • 18 semester hours of Range Management
  • 15 semester hours of directly related Plant, Animal, and Soil Sciences
  • 9 semester hours of Related Resource Management Studies

The Rangeland Ecology and Management bachelor of science at UNR fulfills these requirements and provides the opportunity to secure a career with a variety of private individuals or organizations and government agencies. This coursework is also designed for those who want to continue study in graduate school.
Potential Career Areas:

  • Soil science
  • Plant Science
  • Ranch/preserve management
  • Resource management
  • Restoration planning
  • Education
  • Agricultural advising

Sample Employers:

  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Agriculture Research Service
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • National Park Service
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • State land departments
  • State wildlife departments
  • Ranches and farms
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Department of Defense
  • Land trust agencies


What kind of salary do rangeland ecology and management grads earn?
In 2012, the median annual income nationwide for conservation scientists was $63,330 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
What kind of classes should I be taking in high school?
High School students interested in the ecology and management of rangeland resources should take at least one year each of biology and chemistry, and mathematics through second year algebra and trigonometry. English courses that emphasize writing skills are strongly recommended. Any deficiencies in preparatory classes must be remedied during the first year at University of Nevada, Reno.

Job TitleMedian Wages
Conservation Scientist $ 63,330.00
Soil and Plant Scientist $ 62,830.00
Rancher and other Agricultural Manager $ 69,300.00
Environmental Scientists and Specialists $ 63,570.00
Research technician $ 41,240.00

Sources of Information: Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012)