On RFD-TV: Dirac Twidwell
Dirac Twidwell, Associate Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture appears live on RFD-TV, February 25, 2020. Twidwell discusses Nebraska research on invasive Eastern red cedar trees that are a threat to range land.
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[00:00:00.560]Well Midwest grasslands experience a reduction
[00:00:02.790]in the value of land for grazing
[00:00:04.500]due to the spread of eastern red cedar.
[00:00:06.890]The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is tackling the issue,
[00:00:09.490]working with landowners to try to conserve these ecosystems.
[00:00:13.240]Associate Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture,
[00:00:15.730]Dirac Twidwell, joins us now of and update from Lincoln.
[00:00:19.840]And Dirac, thanks for taking the time
[00:00:21.260]to chat with us today.
[00:00:22.440]So, first of all, give us some background
[00:00:23.960]on the spread of red cedar and its negative
[00:00:25.900]implications for the land.
[00:00:29.250]Yeah, eastern red cedar is something that
[00:00:31.360]multiple States in the Great Plains are battling.
[00:00:34.450]Nebraska is really at the front lines of the issue,
[00:00:36.680]but it's something from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas,
[00:00:40.100]something all of them are dealing with.
[00:00:41.760]And it's known as one of our greatest threats.
[00:00:44.330]It really removes a lot of the profitably
[00:00:47.376]of rancher livelihoods.
[00:00:48.890]Up to 80%, actually.
[00:00:51.140]And that's a long-term negative impact
[00:00:53.330]that lasts a long time.
[00:00:55.640]But it's not just that, it's our water resources,
[00:00:57.540]it changes how water functions.
[00:00:59.000]It changes wildfire danger.
[00:01:00.740]And we know that it risks some species
[00:01:03.200]becoming more endangered long term.
[00:01:05.630]So how are and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
[00:01:07.990]looking to address this invasion?
[00:01:11.730]We really two things.
[00:01:13.050]One is that we really look to engage
[00:01:15.260]with ranching communities
[00:01:17.010]and put science into their fingertips.
[00:01:20.270]So together we're building partnerships
[00:01:22.660]that really allow us to better prevent this issue.
[00:01:25.070]We know from working with them prevention's the key.
[00:01:28.340]That's why we're not waiting on this battle
[00:01:30.220]of woody encroachment.
[00:01:31.500]Groups that do things like manage the seed,
[00:01:34.140]which happens around a football field from a seed source.
[00:01:37.640]If ranching communities come together,
[00:01:39.460]and we put scientific technologies at their fingertips,
[00:01:42.620]we can better understand how to strike early, strike often.
[00:01:45.870]Put more of that money into their pocket
[00:01:47.440]instead of this really costly mechanical removal
[00:01:50.744]that has really been the foundation
[00:01:53.090]of how we've managed this problem in the past.
[00:01:55.400]They certainly do spread quickly
[00:01:56.790]once they make an establishment.
[00:01:58.070]So what are the next steps,
[00:01:59.560]and where can viewers go for additional information
[00:02:01.730]or get started themselves to prevent it?
[00:02:05.410]So the next step is really emphasizing
[00:02:07.510]on keeping our rangelands intact.
[00:02:09.630]Keeping rangelands that are the healthiest
[00:02:12.310]from being compromised by things like cedar
[00:02:14.670]and woody encroachment.
[00:02:16.000]So there's ranching communities that are coming together
[00:02:19.490]and building core areas, defending those cores,
[00:02:21.940]and trying to grow them.
[00:02:24.260]Those are the next steps,
[00:02:25.475]and I think a lot of things in the farm bill,
[00:02:28.620]a lot of things with USDA NRCS,
[00:02:30.670]State Wildlife Agencies in extension,
[00:02:33.060]are gonna provide new technical guidance
[00:02:35.030]for ranching groups to better deal
[00:02:36.380]with this issue going forward.
[00:02:38.320]Dirac, has there been any kind of investigation
[00:02:40.330]into how it's spreading so easily,
[00:02:41.980]or maybe cropping up in new areas
[00:02:43.610]it might have been expected?
[00:02:46.410]Yeah, it's one of those things
[00:02:47.630]that nobody expected long term.
[00:02:49.810]But the biggest one is that it's a really fire sensitive
[00:02:53.410]plant and by removing a history of fire
[00:02:56.480]from the Great Plains,
[00:02:57.880]this has allowed it to really take off and spread.
[00:03:00.450]It's the one things that allowed this species to win.
[00:03:03.210]And we've never been able to replace that tool.
[00:03:05.120]We've tried, but we've never been as successful
[00:03:07.430]as how people previously used fire.
[00:03:08.404]All right, well thank you very much
[00:03:10.700]for your insight this morning.
[00:03:12.090]Again, Dirac Twidwell,
[00:03:13.400]he's with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
[00:03:15.240]joining us of course from Lincoln this morning.
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