Grassland Management Priorities for the North Central Region
This report presents findings from the project “A Synthesis of Climate Impacts, Stakeholder Needs, and Adaptation in Northern Great Plains Grassland Ecosystems” (hereafter, the Grasslands Synthesis Project) led by the U.S. Geological Survey North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center (USGS NC CASC).
Grassland ecosystems in the NC CASC region support local economies, Tribal communities, livestock grazing, diverse plant and animal communities, and large-scale migrations of ungulates and multiple bird guilds. Understanding how climate change and variability will impact grassland ecosystems is crucial for successful management of grasslands in the 21st century. The NC CASC began the Grasslands Synthesis Project in 2020 to establish a baseline of information to best serve resource managers and help meet regional grassland management goals.
This project had two primary goals:
- To synthesize management goals and challenges for grassland managers across the region
- To assess the state-of the-science and identify knowledge gaps for addressing these goals and challenges within the context of climate change.
The findings from the Grasslands Synthesis Project are described in two volumes. This report serves several purposes, including providing:
- A synthesis of regional grassland management goals and challenges
- Identification of information needs relevant to grassland management in a changing climate
- Summaries of grassland management issues by ecoregion and management organization or agency
This synthesis of grassland management documents is an important first step in identifying where future research could be directed to best support grassland conservation in a changing climate; however, the next step is to synthesize the research literature to identify where answers to these information needs already exist and where answers are lacking. Forthcoming findings from The Climate and Ecology Working Group, along with findings presented in this report, can serve as a baseline of information to help inform future research that will be relevant to grassland manager priorities, challenges, and information needs, and necessary to address scientific gaps in our understanding of grasslands and climate change.