Leslie Roche

Associate Cooperative Extension Specialist

Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis

Ph.D.    Ecology, University of California, Davis, 2011.

M.S.      Horticulture and Agronomy, University of California, Davis, 2006.

B.S.       Agricultural Management and Rangeland Resources, University of California, Davis, 2003.

Research interests:

Rangeland management, irrigated pasture management, ecology of grazing lands, grazing systems, drought and climate change adaptation, participatory research


I am an Associate Cooperative Extension specialist in Rangeland Science and Management in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. My research and extension program is at the intersection of agricultural, environmental, and social aspects of ranching and livestock production on California’s rangelands and pasturelands. I completed my Ph.D. in ecology at UC Davis and was a USDA-NIFA Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Plant Sciences before joining the faculty in 2015.

Brief overview:

Rangelands are biologically diverse working landscapes that include complex ecosystems ranging from arid shrublands to mesic grasslands and woodlands. These working landscapes provide multiple ecosystem goods and services, including food and fiber production, water-resource protection, and biodiversity. California’s rangelands are at the nexus of wildland, agricultural, and urban landscapes and, as a result, are at the frontier of increasing social pressures to define sustainable land management. I work with a variety of stakeholders to integrate management expertise and applied research to address key challenges on grazing lands, including managing for multiple agricultural and ecological outcomes, as well as coping with and adapting to drought.


Google Scholar Profile



Liu, H., Y. Jin, L.M. Roche, A.T. O’Geen, R.A. Dahlgren. Understanding spatial variability of forage production in California grasslands: delineating climate, topography and soil controls. Environmental Research Letters 16:014043. View this Article.

Roche, L.M. Grand challenges and transformative solutions for rangeland social-ecological Systems—emphasizing the human dimensions. Rangelands. View this Article.

Roche, L.M., T.L. Saitone, K.W. Tate. Rangeland ecosystem service markets: panacea or wicked problem? Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 5:95. View this Article.



Derose, K.L., C. Battaglia, D.J. Eastburn, L.M. Roche, T.A. Ward. D.F. Lile, K.W. Tate. Riparian Health Improves with Managerial Effort to Implement Livestock Distribution Practices. The Rangeland Journal 42:153-160. View this Article.

Derose, K.L., L.M. Roche, D.F. Lile, D.J. Eastburn, K.W. Tate. Microbial water quality conditions associated with livestock grazing, recreation, and rural residences in mixed use landscapes. Sustainability 12:5207. View this Article.

Li, Y.M., L.M. Roche, E.S. Gornish. 2020. Bridging the research-implementation gap in weed management on California rangelands. Rangeland Ecology & Management 73:348-357. View this Article.

Schohr, T.K., E.S. Gornish, G. Woodmansee J. Shaw, K.W. Tate, L.M. Roche. 2020. Practitioner insights into weed management on California’s rangelands and natural areas. Environmental Management 65:1-8. View this Article.

Shaw, J.A., L.M. Roche, E.S. Gornish. 2020. The use of spatially-patterned methods for vegetation restoration and management across systems. Restoration Ecology 28:766-775. View this Article.



Creamer, M.L., L.M. Roche, K.M. Horback, T.L. Saitone. 2019. Optimising cattle grazing distribution on rangeland: a systematic review and network analysis. The Rangeland Journal 41:441-455. View this Article.

Dechen Silva, A., L.M. Roche, E.S. Gornish. 2019. The use of strip-seeding for management of two late-season invasive plants. Heliyon 5:e01772. View this Article.

Liu, H., R.A. Dahlgren, R.E. Larsen, S.M. Devine, L.M. Roche, A.T. O'Geen, A.J.Y. Wong, S. Covello, Y. Jin. Estimating Rangeland Forage Production Using Remote Sensing Data from a Small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) and PlanetScope Satellite. Remote Sensing 11, 595. View this Article.

McPhee, M.J., M. Evered, T. Andrews, D. Pacheco, H.C. Dougherty, A.B. Ingham, S. Harden, J. Crean, L.M. Roche, D.J. Eastburn, J.W. Oltjen, V.H. Oddy, E. Kebreab, J.V. Nolan, R.S. Hegarty. Beef production simulation of nitrate and lipid supplements for pasture and rangeland fed enterprises. Agricultural Systems 1700:19-27. View this Article.



Byrnes, R., D.J. Eastburn, K.W. Tate, L.M. Roche. A global meta-analysis of grazing impacts on soil health indicators. Journal of Environmental Quality 47:758-765. View this Article.

Derner, J.D, A.J. Smart, T.P. Toombs, D. Larsen, R.L. McCulley, J. Goodwin, S. Sims, L.M. Roche. Soil health as a transformational change agent for U.S. grazing lands management. Rangeland Ecology and Management 71:403-408. View this Article.

Eastburn D.J., L.M. Roche, M. Doran, P. Blake, C. Bouril, G. Gamble, E.S. Gornish. Seeding plants for long-term multiple ecosystem service goals. Journal of Environmental Management 211:191-197. View this Article.

Gornish, E.S., D.J. Eastburn, S. Oneto, L.M. Roche. Livestock grazing and topographic site effects on grassland plant communities after long-term grazing cessation. The Rangeland Journal 40:577-582. View this Article.

Gornish, E.S., L.M. Roche. The value of Cooperative Extension for involving society in restoration and conservation. Restoration Ecology 26:1051-1054. View this Article.

Macon, D.K., R. Baldwin, D. Lile, J.W. Stackhouse, C. Koopmann Rivers, T. Saitone, T.K. Schohr, L. Snell, J. Harper, R. Ingram, K. Rodrigues, L. Macaulay, and L.M. Roche. Livestock protection tools for California ranchers. UC ANR Publication 8598. View this Article.

Munden-Dixon, K., K.W. Tate, B.B. Cutts, L.M. Roche. An uncertain future: Climate resilience of first-generation ranchers. The Rangeland Journal 41:189-196. View this Article.

Salls, W., R. Larsen, D.J. Lewis, L.M. Roche, D.J. Eastburn, A.D. Hollander, M. Walkinshaw, S.R. Kaffka, K.W. Tate, A.T. O'Geen. Modeled soil erosion potential is low across California’s Annual rangelands. California Agriculture 72:179-191. View this Article.

Wade, J., H. Waterhouse, L.M. Roche, W. Horwath. Structural equation modelling reveals iron (hydr)oxides as a strong mediator of N mineralization in California agricultural soils. Geoderma 315:120-129. View this Article.

Wilmer, H., D.J. Augustine, J.D. Derner, M.E. Fernández-Giménez, D.D. Briske, L.M. Roche, K.W. Tate, K.E. Miller. Diverse management strategies produce similar ecological outcomes in the western Great Plains: A social-ecological assessment. Rangeland Ecology & Management 71:626-636. View this Article.



Eastburn, D.J., A.T. O’Geen, K.W. Tate, L.M. Roche. 2017. Multiple ecosystem services in working landscape. PLOS ONE 12(3): e0166595. View this Article.

Gornish, E.S., L.M. Roche. Cooperative Extension is key to unlocking public engagement with science. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 15:487-488. View this Article.

Grantham, T., F. Kearns, S. Kocher, L.M. Roche, T. Pathak. Building climate change resilience in California through UC Cooperative Extension. California Agriculture 71:197-200. View this Article.

Hulvey, K.B., E. Leger, L.M. Porensky, L.M. Roche, K.E. Veblen, A. Fund, J. Shaw, E.S. Gornish. Restoration islands: a tool for efficiently restoring dryland ecosystems? Restoration Ecology 25:S124-S134. View this Article.

Oles, K., D.A. Weixelman, D.F. Lile, K.W. Tate, L.K. Snell, L.M. Roche. Riparianmeadow response to modern conservation grazing management. Environmental Management 60:383-395. View this Article.



Macon, D.K., S. Barry, T. Becchetti, J.S. Davy, M.P. Doran, J.A. Finzel, H. George, J.M. Harper, L. Huntsinger, R.S. Ingram, D.E. Lancaster, R.E. Larsen, D.J. Lewis, D.F. Lile, N.K. McDougald, F.E. Mashiri, G. Nader, S.R. Oneto, J.W. Stackhouse, and L.M. Roche. Coping with drought on California rangelands. Rangelands 38: 222–228. View this Article.

Roche, L.M. 2016. Adaptive rangeland decision-making and coping with drought. Sustainability 8:1334. View this Article.



Roche, L.M., J.F. Chang, J. Six, A.T. O’Geen, K.W. Tate. Soil organic carbon stability across a Mediterranean oak agroecosystem. Proceedings of the Seventh Symposium on Oak Woodlands: Managing Oak Woodlands in a Dynamic World. PSW-GTR 251. View this Article.

Davy, J., L.M. Roche, D. Nay, A. Robertson., K.W. Tate. Introducing cattle to anoxious weed-dominated rangeland shifts plant communities. California Agriculture 69:230-236. View this Article.

Roche, L.M., T. J.D. Derner, B.B. Cutts, M.N. Lubell, K.W. Tate. On-ranch grazing strategies: context for the rotational grazing dilemma. Rangeland Ecology and Management 68:248-256. View this Article.

Roche, L.M., T. Schohr, J.D. Derner, M.N. Lubell, B. Cutts, K.W. Tate.Sustaining working rangelands: insights from rancher decision-making. Rangeland Ecology & Management 68:383-389. View this Article.



Kachergis, K., J.D. Derner, L.M. Roche, K.W. Tate, V. Eviner, M. Lubell, B.B. Cutts. Increasing flexibility in rangeland management during drought. Ecosphere 5:art77–art77. View this Article.

Freitas, M., L.M. Roche, D.W. Weixelman, K.W. Tate. Montane Meadow Plant Community Response to Grazing. Environmental Management 54:301-308. View this Article.

Roche, L.M., A.M. Latimer, A.T. O’Geen. Montane meadow hydropedology, plant community, and herbivore dynamics. Ecosphere 5:art150. View this Article.



Roche, L.M., Kromschroeder, L., E.R. Atwill, R.A. Dahlgren, K.W. Tate. Water quality conditions associated with cattle grazing and recreation on national forest lands. PLOS ONE 8(6): e68127. View this Article.

Kachergis, E., J. Derner, L.M. Roche, K.W. Tate, M. Lubell, R. Mealor, J. Magagna. Characterizing Wyoming ranching operations: natural resource goals, management practices and information sources. Natural Resources 4:45-54. View this Article.

Wilkerson, M.L., L.M. Roche, T.P. Young. Indirect effects of domestic and wild herbivores on butterflies in an African savanna. Ecology and Evolution 3:3672-82. View this Article.

McIlroy, S.K., A. Lind, B.H. Allen-Diaz, L.M. Roche, W. Frost, R. Grasso, K.W. Tate. Determining the effects of cattle grazing treatments on Yosemite toads (Anaxyrus [=Bufo] canorus) in montane meadows. PLOS ONE 8(11):e79263. View this Article.

Lubell, M., B.B. Cutts, L.M. Roche, J.D. Derner, M. Hamilton, E. Kachergis, K.W. Tate. Conservation program participation and adaptive rangeland decision-making. Rangeland Ecology and Management 66:609-620. View this Article.



Roche, L.M., K.J. Rice, K.W. Tate. Oak conservation maintains native grass stands in an oak woodland annual grassland system. Biodiversity and Conservation 21: 2555-2568. View this Article.

Roche, L.M., A.M. Latimer, D.J. Eastburn, K.W. Tate. Cattle grazing and sensitive wildlife species conservation in Sierra Nevada mountain meadows. PLOS ONE 7(4):e35734. View this Article.

Roche, L.M., B. Allen-Diaz, D.J. Eastburn, K.W. Tate. Cattle grazing and Yosemite toad (Bufo canorus Camp) breeding habitat in Sierra Nevada meadows. Rangeland Ecology & Management 65:56-65. View this Article.