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Range Science


Devan Allen McGranahan

Assistant Professor of Range Science

Contact information


Office: 201D Morrill Hall

Telephone: 701.231.7868


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Research Interests

I am drawn to rangeland ecosystems because they provide unique opportunities to apply ecological research to problems that affect how humans interact with land. I seek to contribute to the sustainable use and management of working landscapes, especially those relied upon for agriculture.

My research effort is primarily focused on fire and grazing ecology in grasslands. I am particularly interested in understanding factors that affect fire behavior and fire effects in fire-dependent ecosystems, including plant community composition, disturbance regimes, land-use, and environmental change.

I apply a variety of approaches, including sampling and modeling grassland fuelbeds and fire behavior, and multivariate analysis of ecological communities. I have experience in several biomes, including the North American tallgrass prairie and grassland/savanna ecosystems in Southern Africa.

Background and education

Fulbright Scholar in Grassland Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (July 2013 - March 2014).

Mellon Environmental Post-Doctoral Fellow, The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee (August 2011 - July 2013).


Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa (PhD: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 2011; MSc: Sustainable Agriculture & Animal Ecology, 2008).

Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa (BA in Biology, 2004)

Grew up on family farm in Clay County, Iowa.


Google Scholar profile

Spiess, J, DA McGranahan, C Whippo, B Poling, ALM Daigh, T Hovick. 2019. Bird and invertebrate communities appear unaffected by fracking traffic along rural roads despite dust emissions. Ambio in press

McGranahan, DA. 2019. A device for instantaneously estimating duff moisture content is also e ffective for grassland fuels. Fire 2(1):art.12.

McGranahan, DA & KP Kirkman. 2019. Local perceptions of hydraulic fracturing ahead of exploratory drilling in eastern South Africa. Environmental Management 63:338-351.

McGranahan, DA & CL Wonkka. 2018. Wildland fi re science literacy: Education, creation, and application Fire 1(3):art.52.

Anderson, SL, DA McGranahan, TJ Hovick, AR Hewitt. 2019. Passerine and secretive marsh bird responses to cattail management in temperate wetlands. Wetlands Ecology & Management 27:283-293.

Yurkonis, KA, J Dillon, DA McGranahan, D Toledo, BJ Goodwin. 2019. Seasonality of prescribed fi re weather windows and predicted fire behavior in the northern Great Plains, USA. Fire Ecology 15:7.

Menaker, BE, DA McGranahan, RD Sheptak Jr. 2019. Game day alters crime pattern in the vicinity of sport venues in Cleveland, OH. Journal of Sport Safety and Security 4(1):art.1

Larson, S, RM Timm, DA McGranahan. 2019. The Marin County Livestock Protection Program: 15 years in review. Human-Wildlife Interactions. 13(1): art.11.

Trubitt, R, TJ Hovick, E Gillam, DA McGranahan. 2019. Habitat associations of bats in a working rangeland landscape. Ecology & Evolution 9:598-608.

McGranahan, DA, S Archibald, KP Kirkman, TG O’Connor. 2018. A native C3 grass alters fuels and fire spread in montane grassland of South Africa. Plant Ecology 219:621-632.

McGranahan, DA, B Geaumont, JW Spiess. 2018. Assessment of a livestock GPS collar based on an open-source datalogger informs best practices for logging intensity. Ecology & Evolution 8:5649-5660.

McGranahan, DA, TJ Hovick, RD Elmore, DM Engle, SD Fuhlendorf. 2018. Moderate patchiness optimizes heterogeneity, stability, and beta diversity in mesic grassland. Ecology & Evolution 8:5008-5015.

McGranahan, DA and BN Poling. 2018. Trait-based responses of seven annual crops to elevated CO2 and water limitation. Renewable Agriculture & Food Systems 33:259-266.

McGranahan, DA and KL Yurkonis. 2018. Variability in grass forage quality and quantity in response to elevated CO2 and water limitation. Grass & Forage Science 73:517-521.

Hovick, TJ, DA McGranahan, RD Elmore, J Weir, SD Fuhlendorf. 2017. Pyric-carnivory: Raptor use of prescribed fires. Ecology & Evolution 7:9144–9150.

McGranahan, DA, FN Fernando, MLE Kirkwood. 2017. Reflections on a boom: Perceptions of energy development impacts in the Bakken oil patch inform environmental science & policy priorities. Science of the Total Environment 599-600:1993-2018.

Fuhlendorf, SD, R Fynn, DA McGranahan, D Twidwell. 2017. “Structural heterogeneity as the basis for rangeland management.” Chapter 5 in Rangeland Systems: Processes, Management and Challenges, D Briske (ed.) Springer Series on Environmental Management.

McGranahan, DA, R Ramaano, MJ Tedder, KP Kirkman. 2016. Variation in grassland fuel curing in South Africa. 2016. Fire Ecology 12(3):40-52

McGranahan, DA, TJ Hovick, RD Elmore, DM Engle, SD Fuhlendorf, SL Winter, JR Miller, DM Debinski. 2016. Temporal variability in aboveground plant biomass decreases as spatial variability increases. Ecology 97:555–560.

Thapa, R, A Chatterjee, D Awale, D McGranahan, A Daigh. 2016. Meta-analysis on the effect of enhanced efficiency fertilizers on nitrous oxide emissions and crop yields in major cereal systems. Soil Science Society of America Journal 80:1121–1134.

Hovick, TJ, BW Allred, DA McGranahan, M Palmer, RD Elmore, SD Fuhlendorf. 2016. Informing conservation by identifying range shift patterns across breeding habitats and migration strategies. Biodiversity & Conservation 25:345-356.

McGranahan, DA, R Burgdorf, KP Kirkman. 2015. Epichloae infection in a native South African grass, Festuca costata Nees. Plant Biology 17:914-921.

Kral, KC, RF Limb, TJ Hovick, DA McGranahan, AL Field, PL O’Brien. 2015. Simulating grassland prescribed fires using experimental approaches. Fire Ecology 11(3):34-44.

McGranahan, DA, PW Brown, LA Schulte, JC Tyndall. 2015. Associating conservation/production patterns in U.S. farm policy with agricultural land-use in three Iowa, USA townships, 1933-2002. Land Use Policy 45:76-85.

McGranahan, DA, DM Engle, JT Mulloy, JR Miller, DM Debinksi. 2014. Land-use history and an invasive grass affect tallgrass prairie sedge community composition. Applied Vegetation Science 18:209-219.

McGranahan, DA, AL Daigh, JJ Veenstra, DM Engle, JR Miller, DM Debinski. 2014. Connecting soil organic carbon and root biomass with land-use and vegetation in temperate grassland. Scientific World Journal vol. 2014, Art ID 487563, 9 pp.

McGranahan, DA. 2014. Ecologies of scale: Multifunctionality connects conservation and agriculture across fields, farms, and landscapes. Land 3:739–769.

McGranahan, DA, CB Henderson, JS Hill, GM Raicovich, WN Wilson, CK Smith. 2014. Patch-burning improves forage quality, creates grass-bank in old-field pasture: Results of a demonstration trial. Southeastern Naturalist 13(2):200-207.

McGranahan, DA, GM Raicovich, WN Wilson, CK Smith. 2013. Preliminary evidence that patch burn-grazing creates spatially-heterogeneous habitat structure in old-field grassland. Southeastern Naturalist 12:655-660.

Moranz, RA, DM Debinski, LB Winkler, J Trager,  DA McGranahan, DM Engle, JR Miller. 2013. Effects of grassland management practices on ant functional groups in central North America. Journal of Insect Conservation 17(4): 699-713.

McGranahan, DA, DM Engle, SD Fuhlendorf, JR Miller, DM Debinski. 2013. Multivariate analysis of rangeland vegetation and soil organic carbon describes degradation, informs restoration and conservation. Land 2(3):328-350.

McGranahan DA, PW Brown, LA Schulte, JC Tyndall. 2013. A historical primer on the U.S. farm bill: Supply management and conservation policy. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 68(3):68A-73A.

McGranahan, DA and KP Kirkman. 2013. Multifunctional rangeland in Southern Africa: Managing for production, conservation, and resilience with fire and grazing. Land 2(2), 176-193. Invited special issue.

McGranahan, DA, DM Engle, SD Fuhlendorf, S Winter, JR Miller, DM Debinski. 2013. Inconsistent outcomes of heterogeneity-based management underscore importance of matching evaluation to conservation objectives. Environmental Science and Policy 31:53–60.

McGranahan, DA, DM Engle, JR Miller, DM Debinksi. 2013. An invasive grass increases live fuel proportion and reduces fire spread in a simulated grassland. Ecosystems 16(1):158-169.

McGranahan, DA, DM Engle, BJ Wilsey, SD Fuhlendorf, JR Miller, DM Debinksi. 2012. Grazing and an invasive grass confound spatial pattern of exotic and native grassland plant species richness. Basic and Applied Ecology 13(8):654–662.

McGranahan, DA, DM Engle, SD Fuhlendorf, S Winter, JR Miller, DM Debinski. 2012. Spatial heterogeneity across five rangelands managed with pyric-herbivory. Journal of Applied Ecology 49:903-910.

Moranz, R, D Debinski, D McGranahan, D Engle, J Miller. 2012. Untangling the effects of fire, grazing, and land-use legacies on grassland butterfly communities. Biodiversity and Conservation 21:2719-2746.

McGranahan, DA, DM Engle, SD Fuhlendorf, JR Miller, DM Debinski. 2012. An invasive cool-season grass complicates prescribed fire management in a native warm-season grassland. Natural Areas Journal 32:208-214.

Debinski DM, RA Moranz, JT Delaney, JR Miller, DM Engle, LB Winkler, DA McGranahan, RJ Barney, JC Trager, AL Stephenson, MK Gillespie. 2011. Across-taxonomic comparison of insect responses to grassland management and land-use legacies. Ecosphere 2:art131.

McGranahan, DA. 2011. Identifying ecological sustainability assessment factors for ecotourism and trophy hunting operations on private rangeland in Namibia. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 19:115-131.

McGranahan, DA. 2008. Managing private, commercial rangelands for agricultural production and wildlife diversity in Namibia and Zambia. Biodiversity and Conservation 17:1965-1977.

McGranahan, DA, S Kuiper, J Brown. 2005. Temporal patterns in use of an Iowa woodlot during the autumn bird migration. American Midland Naturalist 153:61-70.

Lab news


Research Associate


Human dimensions of Rx fire

I seek to hire a creative, independent researcher with a strong background in the social sciences to conduct a study on human dimensions of wildland fire. Full-time and temporary -- 6-9 months, possibly more. The position will be housed in the Range Science Program at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND, and I will be the primary supervisor. The project is a collaboration between the Hettinger Research Extension Center in Hettinger, ND, and the USDA Forest Service Dakota Prairie Grasslands. 

The employee will conduct a study of human dimensions of wildland fire in the Northern Great Plains, with an emphasis on North Dakota. We are interested in gaining an in-depth understanding of perspectives on prescribed fire in rangeland management, with a particular emphasis on barriers to acceptance and adoption of prescribed fire.

Compensation begins at $16/hour; exceptional candidates can negotiate higher. The ideal candidate will have at least a Master’s degree and experience and interest in the human dimensions of prescribed fire in rangelands. Experience conducting social science interviews and in-person surveys preferred. Evidence of well-developed writing skills required. Experience with social science data is highly valuable, with experience in the R statistical environment preferred but not required. Knowledge of rangelands and prescribed fire operations will be useful.

Applications and inquiries should be sent via email to Dr. Devan McGranahan (

More information available here


  • Analysis of Ecosystems (Grad)
  • Range Plants (Undergrad/Grad)
  • Ecology of Fire-Dependent Ecosystems (Undergrad/Grad)

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Range Science Program
School of Natural Resources Science
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7582 - Fax: (701) 231-8557
Campus address: Hultz Hall 202
Mailing address: Dept 7650 PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: Diane Pennington

Last Updated: Monday, July 15, 2019 11:06:35 AM
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