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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

Use of low rise dams / artificial beaver dams to restore incised streams on a ranch in the Silvies Valley Ranch in Oregon. 


Scientists explaining research: Climate, wildfire, and erosion ensemble foretells more sediment in western USA watersheds, USGS & USU Extension


2016 Rangelands journal, a special issue on drought and rangelands-IntroductionDrought mitigationAdaptive managementNew toolsWildfiresPlanning and PracticeRangeland responses to predicted extreme droughtSMAP soil moisture for drought monitoring, Season climate outlooks to help with management

Data/Data visualization

BLM Landscape Approach Data PortalRapid Ecoregional Assessments (REAs)Fire & Invasives Assessment Tool (FIAT)Greater Sage-Grouse Planning and Implementation: geospatial data, maps, model and reports on regionally important habitats for fish, wildlife, and species of concern

Drought monitoring system-University of Washington: total moisture, soil moisture, and snow water equivalent data visualization

The Jornada: Rangeland Research Programs, data catalog

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

Plant species and climate profile predictions: current and future climate projections of plant distributions 

Western Regional Climate Center: temperature and precipitation data visualization for the Western US

WWETAC Wildland Threat Mapping (WTM) Applications: geospatial data and data visualization of vegetation, seed zones, fire risks, climate change, and forest health

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