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. 

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,…

  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…

Increased climate variability, including more frequent and intense drought, is projected for the  southwestern region of the United States. Increased temperatures and reduced precipitation lower soil water availability resulting in decreased plant productivity and altering…