Northwest Rangelands Research and Data Overview

Some of the most productive and diverse rangelands are found in shrub steppe areas of the Northwest that are dependent on rainfall for productivity and sustainability. These lands support livestock uses in addition to a wide diversity of plant and animal species. Locally, large amounts of bare ground contribute to the relative fragility of these ecosystems, making them especially sensitive to local rainfall events, drought, extreme heat, and lack of snow pack. Rangeland restoration can improve the resilience of rangeland ecosystems under potential climate change scenarios.

  • Manage grazing intensity to reduce fire risk by lowering fuel loads while avoiding erosion and loss of biological soil function.
  • Protect streams to maintain cool stream temperatures and retain water by restoring stream vegetation.
  • Plant native species that are adapted to the local environment to improve rangeland restoration and ecosystem function.

Case Study


Scientists explaining research: , USGS & USU Extension


2016 Rangelands journal, a special issue on drought and rangelands-,

Data/Data visualization

: geospatial data, maps, model and reports on regionally important habitats for fish, wildlife, and species of concern

: total moisture, soil moisture, and snow water equivalent data visualization

: temperature data and climate scenarios for streams and rivers across Western US 

: current and future climate projections of plant distributions 

: temperature and precipitation data visualization for the Western US

: geospatial data and data visualization of vegetation, seed zones, fire risks, climate change, and forest health

: GIS and Google maps of seed zones to aid in restoration of lands using genetically appropriate locally adapted plant materials