Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 2006
Publication Date: February 1, 2007
Citation: Svejcar, A.J. 2007. Climate Change and Rangelands: What are the Management Implications? [abstract]. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. Paper No. 420. Technical Abstract: Climate change is a topic that has generated a good deal of attention in recent years. We have probably all heard a forecast of what might happen in the future. I will present information suggesting that climate has been changing over the past 20 to 30 years and talk about potential effects of that change on vegetation dynamics and management decisions on rangeland. There is evidence that growing seasons are increasing in length and vegetation productivity is increasing as a result. At a global scale, mid- and high-latitude biomes have had increasing annual precipitation and warmer springs. The longer growing seasons coupled with the fertilization effect of increasing atmospheric CO2 are likely to increase productivity of rangelands, but also potentially influence plant species composition. The potential for climate change to impact grazing management, invasive species, fire frequency, wildlife habitat, rangeland health, and a host of other issues, suggests that rangeland managers would benefit from a synthesis of existing information on this topic. I think there is a tendency to assume that climate change and associated ecosystems effects will occur in the future. The changes appear to be happening now. At this point we all need a better understanding of climate change impacts on the ecosystems we manage or study.