Walt Schacht

Walt Schacht

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Grants
  • Advising
  • Courses Taught
  • Outreach

Title Grassland Ecology and Management Degree Program Coordinator
Address 312 Keim Hall
1825 North 38th Street
Lincoln NE
68583-0915
Phone 402-472-0205
FAX 402-472-7904
E-mail wschacht1@unl.edu

Research Interests

I work with an interdisciplinary team of scientists in grassland ecology and management. My principal area of research emphasizes ecosystem response to grazing and associated management practices in the Nebraska Sandhills and cool-season grass pasture. Specifically, my current studies focus on nitrogen cycling and use efficiency on grazing lands, ecology and utilization of shrubs (e.g., leadplant) and grasses (e.g., smooth bromegrass) on grazing lands, herbage production and animal performance in response to grazing systems, the effect of supplementation strategies on herbage utilization and productivity, the relationship between density and composition of upland songbirds and grazing strategies, and woody plant encroachment on grasslands. Overall, I am interested in developing management strategies that ensure the ecological and economic sustainability of grazing lands for multiple uses, including livestock grazing.

Extension Interests

Providing rangeland managers of Nebraska with the best information available on ecosystem response to grazing management practices.

Major Project Activities

My research project emphasizes the development and evaluation of grazing strategies for range and pasture in the Nebraska Sandhills and eastern Nebraska. I am a principal investigator in studies quantifying range vegetation response to season and intensity of grazing at UNL's Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory in the west central Sandhills and in a grazing systems comparison study at UNL's Barta Brothers Ranch in the northeastern Sandhills. In eastern Nebraska, we are studying nutrient cycling, particularly focusing on nitrogen, and livestock performance in mixtures of smooth bromegrass and legumes. A component of my project in eastern Nebraska also includes improvement of pasture quality with the use of fire, grazing strategies, legumes, and herbicides. Emphasis is also placed on grassland management effects on carbon sequestration, soil quality, and wildlife habitat. Graduate students are integral to my research project. I also am active in undergraduate education as I am the advisor for the Range Management Club and a faculty member of the Grassland Ecology and Management, Grazing Livestock Systems, and Plant Biology majors.

Selected Publications

Haigh, T., Schacht, W., Knutson, C., Smart, A., Volesky, J., Allen, C., Hayes, M. J., Burbach, M. (2019). Socio-ecological determinants of drought impacts and coping strategies for ranching operations in the Great Plains. Rangeland Ecology and Management. Online
Schick, B., Guretzky, J., Schacht, W., Mamo, M. (in press). Cattle Dung Quality, Decomposition, and Nutrient Movement in Soil Relative to Pasture Type and Time after Deposition. Agronomy Journal.
Sliwinski, M., Powell, L. A., Schacht, W. (2019). Grazing systems do not affect bird habitat on a Sandhills landscape. Rangeland Ecology and Management, TBA, TBA.
Nelson, S., Coon, J., Duchardt, C., Miller, J., Debinski, D., Schacht, W. (2018). Contrasting Impacts of Invasive Plants and Human-Altered Landscape Context on Nest Survival and Brood Parasatism of a Grassland Bird. Landscape Ecology, 33.
Raynor IV, E., Griffith, C., Twidwell, D., Schacht, W., Wonkka, C., Roberts, C., Bielski, C., Debinkski, D., Miller, J. (2018). The Emergence of Heterogeneity in a tall fescue-dominated prairie: a matter of scale detection. Landscape Ecology, 12.
Raynor IV, E., Powell, L. A., Schacht, W. (2018). Present and Future Thermal Environments Available to a Ground-Dwelling bird in Nebraska Sandhills grassland. PLOS ONE, 13.2 (2018):e0191233.
Raynor IV, E., Powell, L. A., Schacht, W. (2018). Present and future thermal environments available to Sharp-tailed Grouse in an intact grassland. PLOS One, 13.2 (2018): e0191233.
Sliwinski, M., Burbach, M., Powell, L. A., Schacht, W. (2018). Factors Influencing ranchers' intentions to manage for vegetation heterogeneity and promote cross-boundary management in the northern Great Plains. Ecology and Society, 23.
Sliwinski, M., Burbach, M., Powell, L. A., Schacht, W. (2018). Ranchers' Perceptions of Vegetation Heterogeneity in the Northern Great Plains. Great Plains Research, 28. Online
Sliwinski, M., Powell, L. A., Schacht, W. (2018). Grazing Systems Do Not Affect Bird Habitat on Sandhills Landscape. Rangeland Ecology and Management.
Stephenson, M., Volesky, J., Schacht, W., Lawrence, N., Soper, J., Milby, J. (2018). Influence of precipitation on plant production at different topographic positions in the Nebraska Sandhills. Rangeland Ecology and Management.
Westerhold, A., Walters, C., Brooks, K., Vandeveer, M., Volesky, J., Schacht, W. (2018). Risk Implications from the Selection of Rainfall Index Insurance Intervals. Agricultural Finance Review, 78.
Wingeyer, A., Mamo, M., Schacht, W., McCallister, D., Sutton, P. (2018). Vegetation and Soil Responses to Concrete Grinding Residue (CGR) Application on Highway Roadsides of Eastern Nebraska. Journal of Environmental Quality, 47.
Arterburn, J., Twidwell, D., Schacht, W., Wonkka, C., Wedin, D. A. (2018). Resilience of Sandhills Grassland to Wildfire During Drought. Rangeland Ecology and Management. Online
Harrison, J. O., Brown, M., Powell, L. A., Schacht, W., Smith, J. (2017). Nest site preference and nest survival of Greater Prairie-Chickens in the context of an existing wind energy facility. The Condor, 119(4). Online
Hillhouse, H., Schacht, W., Soper, J., Wienhold, C. (2017). Effects of Nitrogen and Phosphorus Fertilizer and Topsoil Amendment on Native Plant Cover in Roadside Revegetation Projects. Environmental Management. Online
Msanne, J., Awada, T. N., Bryan, N., Schacht, W., Drijber, R., Li, Y., Zhou, X., Okalebo, J., Wedin, D. A., Brandle, J. R., Hiller, J. (2017). Ecophysiological responses of native invasive woody Juniperus virginiana L. to resource availability and stand characteristics in the semi-arid grasslands of the Nebraska Sandhills. Photosynthetica, 55(2), 219-230. Online
Msanne, J., Awada, T. N., Schacht, W., Drijber, R., Okalebo, J., Wedin, D. A., Brandle, J. R. 2017. Ecophysiological control of native invasive woody Juniperus virginiana to resource availability and stand characteristics in the semi-arid grasslands of the Nebraska Sandhills. Photosynthetica, 55: 219-230. Online
Raynor IV, E., Powell, L. A., Schacht, W. (2018). Present and future thermal environments available to Sharp-tailed Grouse in an intact grassland. PLOS One, 13.2 (2018): e0191233.
Sliwinski, M., M. Burbach, L. Powell, W. Schacht. (2017). Managing for Wildlife Habitat, on Rangelands in the Great Plains. Univ of Nebraska-Lincoln. pp.6. Online
Dallmann, J. D., Raynor IV, E., Anderson, L. C., Powell, L. A., Schacht, W. 2016. iButton(c) Temperature Loggers Effectively Determine Prairie Grouse Nest Absences. Great Plains Research. 26:117-123. Online
Anderson, L., W. Schacht, L. A. Powell, J. Lusk, and W. Vodehnal. 2015. Greater Prairie-Chicken Brood Site Selection and Survival in the Nebraska Sandhills. Journal of Wildlife Management 79:559-569. Online
Giovanni, M. D., Powell, L. A., Schacht, W. 2015. Habitat selection and survival for western meadowlark fledglings in a contiguous prairie system. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 127: 200-211. Online
Joubert, D. F., Powell, L. A., Schacht, W. (2015). Visual obstruction as a method to quantify herbaceous biomass in southern African semi-arid savannas. African Journal of Range & Forage Science, 32, 225-230. Online
Sliwinski, M. L. A. Powell, N. Koper, M. Giovanni, W. Schacht. 2015. Research design considerations to ensure detection of all species in an avian community. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 7:456-462. Online
Powell, Larkin, A., Schact, Walter, H., Anderson, Lars, C., Vodehnal, William, L. 2014. Management of Sandhills Rangelands for Greater Prairie-Chickens. Online
Giovanni, M. D., M. Post van der Burg, L. C. Anderson, L. A. Powell, W. H. Schacht, and A. J. Tyre. 2011. Estimating nest density when nest detectability is incomplete: variation in nest attendance and response to disturbance by adult Western Meadowlarks. Condor 113:223-232. Online
Perry, M.E.L., W.H. Schacht, G.A. Ruark, and J.R. Brandle (2009) Tree canopy effect on grass and grass/legume mixtures in eastern Nebraska. Agroforestry Systems 77:23-35
Awada, T., Perry, M.E.L., Schacht, W.H. 2003. Ecophysiological responses of the C3 Bromus inermis and the C4 Andropagon gerardii to various canopy levels of Fraxinus pennsylvanica. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 83.
Awada, T., Perry, M.E.L., Schacht, W.H. 2003. Photosynthetic and growth responses of the C3 Bromus inermis and the C4 Andropogon gerardii to tree canopy cover. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 83: 533-540
Awada, T., L.E. Moser, W.H. Schacht and P.E. Reece 2002. Stomatal variability of native warm-season grasses from the Nebraska Sandhills. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 82:349-355 . Online

Educational Background

  • BS - Dana College, Biology and Environmental Studies (1975)
  • MS - University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Agronomy (Range Management) (1981)
  • PhD - Utah State University, Range Science (1986)

SNR Program Area(s)

  • Applied Ecology

Affiliations (index)

Areas of Interest

  • Grassland Ecosytems
  • Agriculture and Livestock
  • Insect Ecology
  • Resilience

Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant Title Prairie Corridor Phase 2 (Additional Funding)
Starting Date 7/1/2018
Principal Investigators
Dave Wedin
Co-PIs
Walt Schacht
Judy Wu-Smart
Ending Date 6/20/2019
Funding Level $86,237.00
Funding Source City of Lincoln

 
Grant Title Learning from the 2012 Niobrara Fire
Starting Date 6/5/2013
Principal Investigators
Dave Wedin
Co-PIs
Walt Schacht
Dirac Twidwell Jr.
Ending Date 8/31/2015
Funding Level $132,050.00
Funding Source Nature Conservancy

 
Grant Title Addressing Soil Property Issues
Starting Date 4/1/2014
Principal Investigators
Xu Li
Co-PIs
Tala Awada
Humberto Blanco
Martha Mamo
Walt Schacht
Ending Date 9/30/2015
Funding Level $86,034.00
Funding Source Nebraska Department of Roads

 
Grant Title Management of Private Grazing Lands in Nebraska: Do Differences in Ranch Management and Landowner Characteristics Affect Conservation Impacts
Starting Date 9/1/2013
Principal Investigators
Larkin Powell
Co-PIs
Walt Schacht
Ending Date 8/31/2017
Funding Level $174,289.00
Funding Source Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

 
Grant Title Improving Breeding Habitat for Greater-Prairie Chickens on Grazed Land in the Nebraska Sandhills (additional funding)
Starting Date 3/1/2010
Principal Investigators
Larkin Powell
Co-PIs
Dennis Bauer
Walt Schacht
Ending Date 12/31/2012
Funding Level $15,000.00
Funding Source Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

 
Grant Title Greater Prairie-Chicken Habitat SWG
Starting Date 4/1/2010
Principal Investigators
Larkin Powell
Co-PIs
Dennis Bauer
Walt Schacht
Ending Date 12/31/2012
Funding Level $64,646.00
Funding Source Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

 

Undergraduate Majors Bachelor of Science in
  • Fisheries & Wildlife
  • Grassland Ecology & Management
Graduate Program(s)

Master of Science in Natural Resource Sciences


including specializations in
  • Applied Ecology

Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resource Sciences


including specializations in
  • Applied Ecology

Courses Taught
Course Number Course Title Fall Even Years Fall Odd Years Spring Even Years Spring Odd Years Summer Session Cross Listing
NRES 245 Introduction to Grassland Ecology and Management X X AGRO/NRES 245
NRES 438 Grassland Conservation: Planning and Management X X None
NRES 838 Grassland Conservation: Planning and Management X X None