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Challenges Facing Grasslands inthe Northern Great Plains and North Central Region

Hendrickson, John R., Sedivec, Kevin K., Toledo, David, Printz, Jeffrey
Rangelands 2019 v.41 no.1 pp. 23-29
biodiversity, cool season grasses, crop production, endangered species, forage quality, grasslands, habitats, invasive species, land use change, landscapes, pollinators, profitability, ranchers, rangelands, Great Plains region
Grasslands in the Northern Great Plains and North Central Region are diverse, highly productive, and remarkably resilient. Despite these advantages, these grasslands are being threatened by land use change, invasive species, and loss of biodiversity, as well as being presented with new challenges in how to manage for threatened and endangered species. Between 2008 and 2012, approximately 2.3 million hectares of grasslands were converted to crop production, while on the remaining grasslands, invasions of perennial cool-season grasses have altered the forage cycle, reduced diversity, and negatively impacted pollinator habitat. However, the high forage quality and productivity of the grasslands in the area suggest that there are opportunities to address these challenges. Maintaining ranchers on the landscape to keep grasslands intact is a critical component in realizing these opportunities; therefore, efforts to maintain grasslands in the region need to focus on producer profitability.