Project

Projecting the Future Encroachment of Woody Vegetation into Grasslands of the Northern Great Plains by Simulating Climate Conditions and Possible Management Actions

Project Summary

Affiliation(s): North Central CSC, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Principal Investigator(s):
  • Amy Symstad (U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center)

Maintaining the native prairie lands of the Northern Great Plains (NGP), which provide an important habitat for declining grassland species, requires anticipating the effects of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and climate change on the region’s vegetation. Specifically, climate change threatens NGP grasslands by increasing the potential encroachment of native woody species into areas where they were previously only present in minor numbers. This project used a dynamic vegetation model to simulate vegetation type (grassland, shrubland, woodland, and forest) for the NGP for a range of projected future climates and relevant management scenarios. Comparing results of these simulations illustrates the sensitivity of woody encroachment projections to climate change factors. Improved understanding of the effects of increasing CO2, climate change, and land management practices on potential woody encroachment will be used to guide management practices to be most effective in protecting grassland habitat in the NGP into the future.

South Dakota grasslands - Tom Koerner, USFWS

Affiliation(s): North Central CSC, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Principal Investigator(s):
  • Amy Symstad (U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center)
Co-Investigator(s):
  • Dominique Bachelet (Conservation Biology Institute and Oregon State University (OSU))
  • David A King (OSU)
Cooperator(s)/Partner(s):
  • Ken Ferschweiler (Conservation Biology Institute)

Start Date: July 2012

End Date: February 2014

Project Status: Completed

Tags: Land Management, woody encroachment, Climate change, Great Plains, grasslands, Fire, grazing, CSC, North Central CSC, 2012, biota, boundaries, environment, location, Biology, Conservation, Ecology, Ecosystem, Land, Natural Resources, Conterminous United States, United States, Landscapes, Grasslands and Plains

Fiscal Year: FY 2012 Projects

Publications & Other

  • A Dynamic Vegetation Model for Estimating the Distribution of Vegetation and Associated Carbon and Nutrient Fluxes, Technical Documentation Version 1.0

      • Climate change and fire effects on a prairie-woodland ecotone: projecting species range shifts with a dynamic global vegetation model

            • Estimation of potential evapotranspiration from extraterrestrial radiation, air temperature and humidity to assess future climate change effects on the vegetation of the Northern Great Plains, USA

                  • Two Approaches for Incorporating Climate Change into Natural Resource Management Planning at Wind Cave National Park

                    • Symstad Two_Approaches_for_CC_Planning_NRTR.pdf (Download)
                      • Vegetation projections for Wind Cave National Park with three future climate scenarios: Final report in completion of Task Agreement J8W07100052

                            • Woody encroachment in northern Great Plains grasslands: Perceptions, actions, and needs

                                Data