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 industry and the ability of California’s ranchers to maintain viability. In recent years, revenues and net incomes have declined across the sector, a trend exacerbated by recent, historically severe drought.
In this context, the USDA California Climate Hub developed the Climate Vulnerability Assessment of California Rangelands for the state’s ranchers, rural residents, and resource and range managers who depend on and support the livestock industry. This assessment was created to highlight vulnerabilities specific to California rangelands’ unique geography and ecology and to provide a foundation for developing tools and practices that increase rancher and rangeland resilience to climate change.
Topics covered in the assessment include
- An overview of rangelands and ranching in California
- Mid-century projections of water stress on rangeland plants
- Anticipated biophysical changes to rangelands
- Socioeconomic and policy factors affecting rangeland sustainability
- Adaptation options for rangeland managers
- Future research needs
Contact the USDA California Climate Hub for more information.