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Potential Climate Change Impacts on Four Biophysical Indicators of Cattle Production from Western US Rangelands
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.
Editor-in-Chief, Rangeland Ecology and Management