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Range Science


Devan Allen McGranahan, PhD

Assistant Professor of Range Science

Contact information


Office: 201D Morrill Hall

Telephone: 701.231.7868


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.



McGranahan, DA, R Burgdorf, KP Kirkman. 2015. Epichloae infection in a native South African grass, Festuca costata Nees. Plant Biology in press.

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 in press.

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 in press.

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


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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: Tuesday, January 20, 2015 7:53:17 PM