Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Rangeland Resources & Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #335700

Title: Vulnerability of grazing and confined livestock in the Northern Great Plains to projected mid- and late- 21st century climate

item Derner, Justin
item BRISKE, DAVID - Texas A&M University
item REEVES, MATT - Forest Service (FS)
item Brown-Brandl, Tami
item MEEHAN, MIRANDA - North Dakota State University
item Blumenthal, Dana
item TRAVIS, WILLIAM - University Of Colorado
item Augustine, David
item Wilmer, Hailey
item SCASTA, J DEREK - University Of Wyoming

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/9/2016
Publication Date: 7/20/2017
Citation: Derner, J.D., Briske, D., Reeves, M., Brown-Brandl, T.M., Meehan, M., Blumenthal, D.M., Travis, W., Augustine, D.J., Wilmer, H.N., Scasta, J. 2017. Vulnerability of grazing and confined livestock in the Northern Great Plains to projected mid- and late- 21st century climate. Meeting Abstract. Pg. 111.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Northern Great Plains (NGP) region – Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska – is a largely rural area that provides important agricultural and ecological services, including biological diversity. The NGP is projected to experience rising atmospheric CO2, warming and longer growing seasons, along with enhanced climatic variability and more extreme events (e.g., greater occurrence of large precipitation events). These climatic changes, independently and in combination, may affect livestock production both directly via physiological impacts on animals and indirectly via modifications to forage, invasion of undesirable plants and the abundance of and temporal exposure to ectoparasites. This raises concerns regarding the vulnerability of livestock grazing and confined livestock operations to projected changes in mid-(2050) and late-(2085) 21st century climate. Our objectives were to: 1) describe the exposure of the NGP to temperature and precipitation trends, inter-annual variability, and extreme events, 2) evaluate the sensitivity of beef cattle production to the direct and indirect effects imposed by these climatic projections, and 3) provide a typology of adaptive capacity to optimize the beneficial and minimize the adverse consequences of projected changes. The vulnerability of NGP to projected climatic changes will be determined not only by modification of ecological responses, but also by the adaptive capacity of individual managers. Adaptive capacity in the NGP will differ from other regions because projections suggest opportunities for increased livestock production. Adaptations in both grazing and confined livestock systems will require enhanced decision-making that emphasizes integration of biophysical, social and economic components. Many adaptations for these systems have already been implemented, at least in a limited fashion in this region, providing opportunities for assessment and further development and adoption. Science-management partnerships aimed at adaptive capacity building, such as collaborative adaptive management, support context-specific decision-making for operations involving consideration of multiple production and conservation objectives.