Grazing Lands

The impacts of climate change on grazing lands and the livestock operations that depend on them will vary by region, type of grazing land, vegetation community, and the type of livestock. These impacts are superimposed upon other factors such as land ownership, historical and current management, demographic changes and access to USDA programs.

Rangelands cover an area of 405.8 million acres or 21% of the U.S. surface area. In the Western states, rangelands are predominantly Federally-owned lands, whereas over the Great Plains, rangelands are privately-owned. Pasturelands are also privately owned and cover 121.1 million acres (6% of the U.S. surface area); pasturelands are more common in the wetter half of the US, to the east of the 97th meridian. Rangelands and pasturelands are both used for grazing but the difference between the two is that rangelands support natural (and usually native) ecosystems while pasturelands are highly managed, cultivated systems.

Continue to the full text Grazing Lands in a Changing Climate or browse related content:

<p>Every spring, ranchers face the same difficult challenge – trying to guess how much grass will be available for livestock to graze during the upcoming summer. An innovative <a href="http://grasscast.agsci.colostate.edu"><strong>Grassland…

Sensitivities A. There will be increased opportunity for invasive species establishment with increased disturbance and shifting plant species composition under changing climate. B. Climate change may lead to loss of climatically suitable habitat for persistent pinyon-juniper…

09/19/17 Flexible Stocking Summit Report The Flexible Stocking Summit brought ranchers together from eastern Wyoming and Colorado, alongside USDA researchers and University Extension professionals. The summit was held at the Semiarid Grasslands Research Center near Nunn, CO, on…

Researchers in the Northern Plains have been studying how changes in the atmosphere might impact rangelands throughout the region. With this research under our belt, we can begin strategizing how to adapt our rangeland and grazing management practices to future conditions. The…

Sustainable Agriculture and Research for Understanding, or SARE, has released the following resource: Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches. This document outlines the new challenges that changing weather patterns pose in agriculture throughout the United…

The following content is from a publication from the Forest Service Office of Sustainability and Climate, the full content can be viewed/downloaded in PDF Drought Effects Droughts can result in reduced growth rates, defoliation, and increased stress on vegetation, with…

A rotational stocking system controls the timing and intensity of grazing by rotating animals among paddocks, and gives the pastures time for rest and regrowth. Heavy rain events have increased dramatically in the Northeastern United States. These downpours are causing more…

Agroforestry, the intentional integration of trees and shrubs into crop and animal production systems, is being deployed to enhance productivity, profitability, and environmental stewardship of agricultural operations and lands across the United States. This assessment provides…

Changes in climate and extreme weather are already increasing challenges for agriculture. This technical bulletin was developed specifically to meet the unique needs of agricultural producers, and provide educators and service providers in the Midwest and Northeast regions of…