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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


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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

Larson, S, RM Timm, DA McGranahan. 2019. The Marin County Livestock Protection Program: 15 years in review. Human-Wildlife Interactions. in press.

Trubitt, R, TJ Hovick, E Gillam, DA McGranahan. 2019. Habitat associations of bats in a working rangeland landscape. Ecology & Evolution in press.

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


Graduate Student Opportunity:


Funding is available for a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) at either the MSc or PhD levels in the Range Science Program at North Dakota State University. The GRA will study spatial-temporal patterns of forage quality and livestock use at a rangeland research station in North Dakota, using forage quality data and GPS collars to study livestock behavior under grazing management schemes. The primary mentor will by Dr. Devan McGranahan, although the GRA will work closely with Dr. Kevin Sedivec and other researchers at the Central Grassland Research Extension Center near Streeter, ND and other faculty and graduate students on the NDSU main campus in Fargo.

The project will involve both field and lab components. In the field, the GRA will clip vegetation and measure vegetation structure. In the lab, the GRA will grind forage samples, conduct Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIR) analysis, and build, maintain, and program DIY, Arduino-based GPS units. The GRA must either be already familiar with soldering and programming in C++ and the R statistical environment, or be willing to gain proficiency in these skills quickly.

Ideally the GRA will be able to move to Fargo, North Dakota to enroll at NDSU by 7 January 2019 for the spring semester, ahead of the summer field season. Outstanding candidates unable to start until May 2019 will also be considered. Compensation includes a full 12-month stipend and tuition waiver.

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: Tuesday, December 04, 2018 2:47:58 PM
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