- Synthesis of Climate Change Impacts on the Mixed/Tall-Grass Prairie Ecosystems in the Northern Great Plains:
- Synthesis of Social Science Related to Resource Management and Climate Change in the Great Plains:
- Supporting Grassland Managers to Conserve Grassland Ecosystems and Adapt to Climate Change in the North Central Region:
- Grasslands GIS:
- Examination of Large-Scale Drivers of Water Availability in the US Great Plains:
- Ecologically and/or Infrastructurally Impactful Weather and Climate Extremes in the North Central Region:
Rapid Climate Assessment Program
The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) spans ~170 million acres in the northern Great Plains. The region is characterized by mixed-grass and tallgrass prairies, composed of native cool- season (C3) and warm-season (C4) grasses, interspersed with abundant wetlands or “potholes.” To safeguard biodiversity and maintain wildlife habitat, grassland conservation is a management priority on the nearly 1 million acres of National Wildlife Refuge System lands in the region.
Mountain systems in the North Central region have experienced rising temperatures that are amplified at higher elevation, dramatic and spatially variable decreases in snowpack (including higher rates of wintertime melt), retreating glaciers and permafrost loss, and consistently earlier annual ice loss in alpine lakes. These changes in climate have occurred against a backdrop of highly variable and extreme mountain climate.
Known for its agricultural productivity and vital ecosystems, the Great Plains' vast expanse plays a significant role in supporting human livelihoods, wildlife, and natural resources. Understanding processes and their drivers is of paramount importance in the face of increasing water demands, growing environmental challenges, and the uncertainties associated with future climate change.
The goal of this RCAP is to support the grasslands synthesis project by discussing findings with grasslands managers while building relationships with individuals and agencies.
This research investigated interdisciplinary solutions and responses to climate change for grassland managers in North Central USA.
Alpine and treeline systems are very heterogeneous. A reduction of physical area at higher elevations, the sensitivity of alpine species to climate, and low connectivity make them particularly vulnerable to climate change. With climate change, we’re seeing elevation-dependent warming, loss of snowpack, and increased glacial and permafrost melt.