Introduction to Rangelands

Introduction to Rangelands

Rangeland Definitions and Terms

Utah's Rangelands

What is Rangeland?

When the term "Rangeland" first came into use in the 1800's, it was used to describe the extensive, unforested lands dominating the western half of the United States. Today, "Rangeland" has a much broader meaning. Lands labeled as "rangeland" include:

  • Prairies
  • Plains
  • Savanna
  • Steppe
  • Grassland
  • Shrubland
  • Desert
  • Forests (under the trees)
  • Tundra
  • Wetlands
  • Alpine Communities

Native vegetation in these areas is normally grasses, broad-leaved plants (forbs), and shrubs.

Where do you find Rangeland?

Rangelands are everywhere. They form the largest part of the earth's land surface - about 45%. About 36% of the land in the US is rangeland, and they cover over 80% of Utah. In Utah, rangelands cover a diverse topography - from desert canyons to spectacular mountains with numerous lakes and streams. We find rangelands on the National Forest and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lands. It is the major land type of our state and national parks, monuments, and recreation areas as well as the Indian Reservations within the state. It is also found on the outskirts of many Utah cities and towns.

How do we use Rangelands?

In the past, rangelands in Utah only has a few uses - Mining, grazing, hunting, and a few others. Today, Utah has become well known for its rangeland and the opportunities that abound there. Some of the recreational uses we find today on Utah Rangelands include:

  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Camping and hiking
  • Cross-country and downhill skiing
  • Driving and Sightseeing
  • Fishing and hunting
  • Four wheeling (ATV's), jeeping and snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Mountain Biking
  • Rafting, canoeing, and kayaking
  • Rock Climbing

Non-recreational uses of Utah Rangeland include:

  • Firewood
  • Grazing
  • Mining
  • Wildlife Habitat