Rangelands are vast natural landscapes in the form of grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, and deserts. Rangelands are the "Wild Open Spaces" that cover about half of the earth's land surface and half of western North America.
Detailed Definitions:
"Land on which the vegetation is predominantly grasses, grass-like plants, forbs, or shrubs. Rangelands include natural grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, savannahs, tundra, most deserts, and riparian and wetland plant communities including marshes and wet meadows. Includes lands revegetated naturally or artificially that are managed like native vegetation.
" Western Rangelands Partnership 2007)

"Areas dominated by self-propagating vegetation comprised predominantly of grasses, grass-likes, forbs, shrubs, and dispersed trees." (Sustainable Rangeland Roundtable)

What Kinds of Land are Rangeland?
Rangelands are called by many different names around the world.  These diverse and complex landscapes are recognized as several distinctive biomes including Grasslands, Shrublands, Woodlands, and Deserts.
Grasslands are ecosystems that are dominated by grasses.  In the world, grassland biomass go by many names including prairie, steppe, pampas, swards, meadows and velds. In North America, grassland biomes include the Tallgrass Prairie, Shortgrass Prairie, Alpine Meadows, California Annual Grasslands, Palouse Prairie, Southern Mixed Prairie, Marshes, Wet Meadows, Tundra Grasslands, and Desert Grasslands
Shrublands are lands with abundant stands of shrubs with an understory of grasses and herbaceous plants, but shrubs dominate these ecosystems. Shrublands across the world are called chaparral, cerrados, shrub-steppe, maquis, and scrublands. In North America, shrubland biomes include Chaparral, Sagebrush-steppe, Salt-desert Shrublands,Tundra Shrublands, and Mountain Browse.
Woodlands and Savannas are dominated by widely-spaced trees including junipers, oaks, mesquite and pines with an understory of grasses and forbs.  Woodland ecosystems across the world take the names of the trees that dominate the landscape. In North America, the largest woodland biome is the Pinyon-Juniper Woodland.  Other woodland and savanna ecosystems include Oak Woodlands, Aspen Savannas, and Mesquite Woodlands.
Deserts are the driest rangelands and they experience extreme water shortage and unpredictable precipitation. These ecosystems are dominated by shrubs and succulent cactus plants. Deserts and arid lands in the world cover massive areas and include the Saharan, Namib, Arabian, Atacama, Australian Outback, and Kalahari deserts. The Hot desert biomes in the North America are found in the southwest and include the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan deserts.
Rangeland Are.....
...grasslands, woodlands,  steppes, savannas, shrublands, meadows, prairies, and most deserts are not.. forests, ice, snow, or shifting sand
...wild and natural are not.. urban or suburban areas farm fields
...areas with a climate that favors grasses, forbs, shrubs, and a few trees are not.. barren deserts or dense forests
...used for recreation, wildlife habitat, livestock production, watersheds, and wind & solar power are not.. cultivated to grow crops or harvested for timber
...forage resources harvested by wildlife and livestock are not.. harvested with machines
...managed by ecological principles are not.. managed by agronomic or forestry principles
...“wild open spaces” for all to enjoy

are not.. busy, noisy, crowded, or boring

What are Rangelands Used For?

  Rangelands produce a wide variety of goods and services desired by society, including livestock forage, wildlife habitat, water, mineral resources, wood products, wildland recreation, open space and natural beauty. The geographic extent and many important resources of rangelands make their proper use and management vitally important to people everywhere.

How Much Rangeland is There?

46% of the Earth's land surface is Rangeland

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 and larger image.

36% of the United Sates
is Rangeland

53% of the 19 Western States
 is Rangeland

Who Manages Rangeland?

Rangelands are varied and complex systems that produce a myriad of valuable goods and services.  Many different types of natural resources managers and  practitioners work together, using techniques based on ecological principles, to assure that these areas are managed sustainably. 

People involved in managing these lands include range managers, plant ecologists, wildlife and livestock managers, soil scientists, and recreation specialists.

Range managers themselves are often wear many hats, uniting the different disciplines and interacting with many users and stakeholders to ensure that sound environmental stewardship is practiced.  Managing these ‘wild open spaces’ is challenging but rewarding work in some of the most beautiful offices’ in the world. 

Rangelands ... worth writing about.

 "I would be converted to a religion of grass.  Sleep the winter away and rise headlong each spring.  Sink deep roots.  Conserve water.  Respect and nourish your neighbors and never let trees gain the upper hand…Bow beneath the arm of fire.  Connect underground.  Provide.  Provide.  Be lovely and do no harm." --Louise Erdrich,  "Big Grass", Heart of the Land

 "[C]rossing...the 98th meridian...the air became humid...and the landscape turned distressingly green.  The Eastern United States...was badly infested by plants." -- Patricia Nelson Limerick, Something in the Soil

…for that wind that made one a boy again...that lightness, that dry aromatic odor...one could breathe that only on the bright edges of the world, on the great grass plains or the sagebrush desert.”  -- Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop