Dr. Smeins' research focuses on understanding the structure and dynamics of rangeland (grassland, wetland, savannah) ecosystems as influenced by herbivory, soil, fire and weather. Factors that control the pattern and rate of plant succession and retrogression are primary objects of study. Primary production, plant competition, woody/herbaceous plant interactions, soil seed banks, species diversity patterns and endangered species are investigated. Research is conducted in tallgrass prairies, Edwards Plateau savannahs, longleaf pine savannahs and coastal marshes. He has conducted research and development work in Kenya, Somalia, Morocco, Venezuela and Italy. Over 85 technical papers, book chapters and bulletins have been published. Current research includes life history and successional studies of Ash juniper, life history studies of Olney bulrush, impact of snow geese on coastal marsh plant communities, habitat features of Golden Cheeked Warblers, influence of summer burning on Edwards Plateau rangelands and Blackland Prairie Restoration.
- Wang, H. H., Wonkka, C. L., Treglia, M. L., Grant, W. E., Smeins, F. E., & Rogers, W. E. (2018). Incorporating local-scale variables into distribution models enhances predictability for rare plant species with biological dependencies. Biodiversity and Conservation. 28(1), 171-182.
- Rho, P., Wu, X. B., Smeins, F. E., Silvy, N. J., & Peterson, M. J. (2015). Regional land cover patterns, changes and potential relationships with scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) abundance. Journal of Ecology and Environment. 38(2), 185-193.
- Wang, H. H., Wonkka, C. L., Treglia, M. L., Grant, W. E., Smeins, F. E., & Rogers, W. E. (2015). Species distribution modelling for conservation of an endangered endemic orchid. AOB PLANTS. 7(1), plv039-plv039.
- Wilcox, B. P., Fox, W. E., Prcin, L. J., McAlister, J., Wolfe, J., Thomas, D. M., ... Smeins, F. E. (2012). Contour ripping is more beneficial than composted manure for restoring degraded rangelands in Central Texas. JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT. 111, 87-95.
- Allred, B. W., Fuhlendorf, S. D., Smeins, F. E., & Taylor, C. A. (2012). Herbivore species and grazing intensity regulate community composition and an encroaching woody plant in semi-arid rangeland. BASIC AND APPLIED ECOLOGY. 13(2), 149-158.
- Wagner, M., Smeins, F., & Hays, B. (2005). Pastures for upland birds: Landowner incentive program restores native species in Bermudagrass pastures (Texas). Ecological Restoration. 23(3), 209-210.