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:

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Grass-Cast: Grassland Productivity Forecast

Photo by Matt Mortenson. Steers drinking out of water trough.

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...

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Adapting for the Future

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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...

Drought and Rangelands: Effects and Management Responses

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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. Why should I adapt? Heavy rain events have increased dramatically in the Northeastern United States. These downpours...

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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...

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Cover image to Adaptation Resources for Agricultire

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...

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From a Dec. 8, 2017, International Space Station flyover of Southern California, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik photographed the plumes of smoke rising from wildfires

CALFIRE-statewide map of California fires.  By following the link on the CAL FIRE home page one can obtain up-to-date and useful  information related to specific incidents in the state – information includes approximate wildfire locations, road closures, general precautionary...

California Wildfires Information

The economic, social, and environmental costs of drought can be significant, and vulnerability to drought in arid and semi-arid regions will likely increase in the future with a warming climate. To promote stronger drought resilience on federal lands, the National Drought...

Responding to Ecological Drought in the Intermountain Region

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