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Grady Mann outline of the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). This delineation is based on a map on page 2 from Mann, G. E. 1974. The Prairie Pothole Region - a zone of environmental opportunity. Naturalist 25(4):2-7.
An increase in land conversion from grassland to cropland in the United States has attracted attention in recent years. According to Claassen et al. (2011a), grassland to cropland conversion is concentrated in the Northern Plains, including Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, which encompasses only 18% of U.S. rangeland but accounted for 57 percent of U.S. rangeland to cropland conversion during the study period of 1997 to 2007. Focusing on land cover data in the Western Corn Belt, Wright and Wimberly (2013) also pointed out that grassland conversion was mostly concentrated in the Dakotas, east of the Missouri River and between 2006 and 2011.
The purpose of this project was to estimate and map the probability that grassland converts to cropland in the northern plains and prairie region given potential climate change. This region provides critical breeding and migratory habitat for waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species, and is also a highly productive agricultural region. Generally, the regional effects projected by climate models are increasing temperatures and more variable precipitation, which could provide incentives for private landowners to convert native and managed grassland to intensive cropland. Conversion of grassland to cropland can result in habitat loss for dependent species and the degradation of a range of ecosystem services. If...