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. 

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…

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…

Drought has economic, social, cultural, and ecological costs and in the Pacific Northwest droughts are expected to occur more often and for prolonged periods due to changes in climate. As drought becomes more prevalent changes to natural resources are expected. To promote…