Rangelands

Rangelands support multiple ecosystem services including grazing, wildlife habitat, watershed health and recreational opportunities. Livestock grazing is the most common economic use of rangelands, and also the principal management tool. Maintaining forage production and soil health is key to meeting ecological and economic objectives under changing climate conditions, and will be essential for sustaining livestock grazing in the future. Conservative stocking rates, varied season of grazing, optimizing herd size and composition, identifying reserve forage, strategic distribution of water, proactive vegetation and soil management and changes in enterprise structure are examples of sustainable rangeland management practices that can help livestock producers adapt to the negative impacts of climate change. More information on these practices is contained in the resources below. 

  Project Area R&G Miller & Sons Inc. operates an organic dairy in the Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois Drift Plain region. This area is characterized by gently sloping ground moraines, lake plains, out-wash plains, drumlin fields, end moraines, flood plains,…

Growing Season Length Warmer temperatures have resulted in a longer freeze-free season and longer growing season across the region (Frumhoff et al. 2007, Kunkel et al. 2013). The freeze-free season, which is the period between the last occurrence of 32 °F in the spring and the…

The USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub (NPCH) contributed, as coauthors, to three articles in as special issue of the journal of Climatic Change on the "Vulnerability Assessment of US Agriculture and Forests developed by the USDA Climate Hubs" (January 2018, Volume 146, Issue…

California rangelands provide millions of acres of forage supporting the state’s multi-billion-dollar animal agriculture sector, as well as providing numerous additional ecosystem services. Declines in forage quantity and overall rangeland health critically impact the livestock…

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…