Rangelands

Journal Highlight: Rangeland Ecology & Management (REM) September 2017

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(Volume 70, Issue 5, September 2017, Pages 529-539)

Read the Editor’s Choice Award: A way of thanking authors for their research.

Potential Climate Change Impacts on Four Biophysical Indicators of Cattle Production from Western US Rangelands

For each issue of REM, we chose one paper as the Editors Choice. It highlights a research manuscript that demonstrates the scientific quality our editorial board believes to be the most impactful to range ecology and management. In the September 2017, we honored Matthew Reeves, Karen Bagne and John Tanaka for their article “Potential Climate Change Impacts on Four Biophysical Indicators of Cattle Production from Western US Rangelands”.  They have advanced our understanding of the impact of climate change on cattle production in the western US. The western portion of the US is a major beef-producing region of the world. These researchers used the best spatial climate change models available to determine how livestock production might be impacted by year 2100.

Livestock production indicators were: forage quantity, change in the type of vegetation, variability of forage within the year, and the stress heat may cause animals during production. Their analysis forecasted 1) increased forage quantity in the northern regions, 2) a change from woody plant dominance to more grassy types with more variety across the landscape, 3) a lot of variation in forage quantity within a growing season for most regions of the West, and 4) an increase in the number of days cattle may be stressed by heat. Collectively, the authors believe there will be declining cattle production in the southern and western portions of the region and the increase in forage production in the other areas will be offset by increases in heat stress days. If the western US warms as suggested by these models, the need for intensive, flexible and creative cattle management will continue to grow.

History has proven that livestock managers are some of the most innovative and forward thinking businessmen in the world. They are used to tackling environmental challenges and overcoming barriers that threaten their livelihoods and families. Thanks to Drs. Reeves, Bagne, and Tanaka for giving use some idea about what to expect in the future. We will be ready.
See the entire article in Rangeland Ecology & Management, 70(5):529-539.

Roger Sheley
Editor-in-Chief, Rangeland Ecology and Management

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