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. 

Changes in the timing and availability of water resources across the Northwest are affecting rangelands. Warming winter temperatures are reducing mountain snowpack and resulting in earlier snowmelt and less available water in the summer months. Reduced water availability,…

By Joseph Knelman Though rangelands have long supported ranching and wildlife in the West, many people may better recognize these landscapes as the blurred backdrop to audiobook-fueled road trips than as dynamic ecosystems.  Recently, however, rangelands have gained visibility…

The 2020 Jornada Symposium featured short presentations highlighting our climate adaptation efforts.   Climate adaptation in the SouthwestThe USDA Southwest Climate Hub team prepared flash presentations to showcase our climate adaptation projects. The Hub has three…

By Diana Doan-Crider: Native American Rangelands Training Initiative Coordinator and Course Instructor, Director of Animo Partnership in Natural Resources There are approximately 55 million acres of Tribal rangelands within the United States boundaries that meet essential…

On August 12, 2020, we convened scientists and technical and service advisors to share preliminary climate predictions for annual forage production on rangelands of the western US over the next three decades. After short presentations on climate, forage, and rancher experiences…

Our national forests, shrublands and grasslands are composed of diverse assemblages of native forb species that support numerous pollinators. Disturbances, invasives and climate change threaten the diversity and abundance of native forbs, and therefore pollinators. Research and…

Raramuri Criollo is a Bos taurus biotype with characteristics that are showing promise for profitable and sustainable production in the arid US Southwest. On-ranch research has shown that compared with breeds commonly used in the Southwest, Raramuri Criollo travel greater…

Livestock grazing plays an important role in the tribal economies within the Great Basin states, but as the climate continues to warm and water resources decrease, innovative grazing strategies will become critical to sustain healthy rangelands and the complex social and…

Rangelands of the Northwest are complex, interconnected systems covering nearly 100 million acres that are sensitive to drought, wildfire, invasive species, and grazing. The large land extent and multiple ownerships characteristic of rangelands pose challenges to access,…