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Synthesis of Climate Impacts and Adaptation on Grassland Ecosystems in the Northern Great Plains

Synthesis of Climate Impacts, Stakeholder Needs, and Adaptation in Northern Great Plains Grassland Ecosystems

Dates

Start Date
2020-03-27
End Date
2022-02-28
Release Date
2019

Summary

Grasslands in the northern Great Plains are important ecosystems that support local economies, tribal communities, livestock grazing, diverse plant and animal communities, and large-scale migrations of big game ungulates, grassland birds, and waterfowl. Climate change and variability impact how people and animals live on and interact with grasslands, and can bring more frequent droughts, fires, or new plant species that make managing these landscapes challenging. Understanding how climate change and variability will impact grassland ecosystems and their management in the 21st century first requires a synthesis of what is known across all of these scales and a gap analysis to identify key areas of focus for future research. Researchers [...]

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“Grasslands - Credit: Tom Koerner, USFWS”
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Purpose

The Great Plains in the north-central United States are an important ecosystem for the people, animals, and plants living there. These grasslands support local and regional economies through agriculture and energy development and are home to many people in the cities, towns, and rural communities living in the region. These grasslands are also home to deer, antelope, big horn sheep, song birds, ducks and other waterfowl, and other diverse plant and animal communities. Climate change and variability interacts with how people and animals live on and interact with the grasslands, and can bring more frequent droughts, fires, or new plant species that make managing these grassland landscapes challenging. To be better prepared for these challenges, it is important to understand what scientists already know about the grasslands ecosystem, the way that climate change and variability might impact it, and the types of challenges that land and natural resource managers face. However, this information is often written in scientific language that may be difficult for many people to interpret, or be located in many different places. During a two-year project, the Grasslands Initiative will collect and summarize what is already known about the grassland ecosystem, and present this information in a way that is accessible to non-scientists. Working in teams, we will collect and summarize what we know about the challenges that natural resource managers are facing and the current science on how climate shapes the grasslands of the Great Plains. The teams will work closely together, and a research coordinator and an advisory committee will help the teams makes sure they are including important information from all of the different groups living and working on the Great Plains. The teams will pay particular attention to the needs of underserved communities, like Tribal Resource Managers, as well as ongoing efforts to adapt to change. The teams will then create brochures, videos, and summaries to help land and natural resource managers understand potential climate impacts.

Project Extension

projectStatusIn Progress

Grasslands - Credit: Tom Koerner, USFWS
Grasslands - Credit: Tom Koerner, USFWS

Map

Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS

Communities

  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers
  • North Central CASC

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