- Author: Pam Kan-Rice
Reposted from the UCANR employee news
Lynn Huntsinger, professor and Russell Rustici Chair in Rangeland Management at UC Berkeley, received the W.R. Chapline Research Award at the Society for Range Management's (SRM) 72nd Annual Meeting, Technical Training and Trade Show in Denver, Colo., Feb. 16-20, 2020.
The Chapline Research Award gives special recognition to members of the society for exceptional and sustained research accomplishments in rangeland science and associated disciplines, including the biology and ecology of plants, wildlife and domestic livestock and characteristics of the ecosystems they inhabit.
She is the first woman to receive the award, according to Mel George, UCCE specialist emeritus.
Huntsinger has made exceptional contributions to rangeland science and management through her path-breaking research on rangeland social-ecological systems, her international engagement, public communication and innovative teaching, according to Maria Fernandez-Gimenez, professor of rangeland ecology and management at Colorado State University, who nominated Huntsinger for the award.
Huntsinger pioneered the field of human dimensions of rangeland management and focused the attention of rangeland science on rangelands as integrated social-ecological systems. By the 1990s, it was clear that ecological science and technical solutions alone would not solve fundamental rangeland management challenges. Rangeland science is needed to address social and cultural values, landowner behavior, public policies and communal institutions.
Huntsinger's early work on private rangeland landowners' and public land managers' attitudes, values and management behavior was the first rangeland social science in North America to focus on social and cultural aspects of range management. Another of her papers laid the foundation for studying rangelands as linked social and ecological systems. Further work identified the interdependent fates of public and private rangelands and theorized a potential threshold in ranchers' perceptions of ranch viability in the face of urbanization, beyond which ranch sale and land conversion become inevitable.
The term “working landscape,” now widely used to express the understanding that landscapes used for grazing produce multiple benefits for people and nature, was co-introduced by Huntsinger. Her recent research advances the concept of social-ecological ecosystem services in rangelands and demonstrates how cultural landscapes and their benefits are produced and maintained by the interaction of natural processes and human management.
Huntsinger's international collaborations in China and Spain have produced influential articles, a special issue of SRM's scientific journal Rangeland Ecology and Management on Integrated Social-ecological Approaches to Sylvopastoralism, and a book on Mediterranean Oak Woodland Working Landscapes. Her mentorship of young international scholars has helped launch multiple careers, and through them, the trajectory of rangeland social-ecological research globally. She led the USDA International Delegation on Rangeland Ecology and Management to China and has addressed the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Spain, Italy and Argentina, among other examples.
To translate science into management and policy, she helped lead the public engagement process for the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Plan, and has served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee to Review the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program, the BLM and Minerals Management Science Advisory Board, the NW Great Basin Resource Advisory Council (BLM), the Malpai Borderlands Group Science Advisory Board, and the Central Coast Rangelands Advisory Board.