Rangelands and Global Change

TitleRangelands and Global Change
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsBrown J., Blake R.R., McPherson G.R., Tate K.W.
Conference NameAn issue paper created by the Society for Range Management
Date PublishedJuly 1, 2005
PublisherSociety for Range Management
Conference LocationLakewood, CO
ARIS Log Number183361
Keywordsatmospheric, change, chemistry, global, issue paper, land use, management, producivity, range, society
AbstractGLOBAL CHANGE is any change in the global environment that may alter the capacity of the Earth to sustain life. Included are changes in changes in LAND USE and PRODUCTIVITY, ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY, CLIMATE, WATER RESOURCES and ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS (U.S. Global Change Research Act 1990). These changes can be attributed primarily to the growth in human population (>6 billion in 1999) and their use of natural resources. There are two forms of responding to global change: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation are actions taken to reduce the amount of change that occurs, while adaptation refers to actions that are taken to reduce the impact of change. RANGELANDS are lands on which the indigenous vegetation is predominantly grasses, grass-like plants, forbs or shrubs and is managed as a natural ecosystem and include grasslands, savannas, shrublands, deserts, tundras, marshes and meadows (Forage and Grazing Terminology Committee 1991). In the United States, over one-third (770 million acres) of the land area is classified as rangeland. Over half of rangelands are privately owned. In general, rangelands west of the Rocky Mountains are dominated by federal ownership, while those east of the Rockies are predominately privately-owned. There are notable exceptions, particularly along the west coast, where productivity is high enough to warrant private ownership. The significance of ownership is not in how rangelands should be treated in response to global change, but in the policies and programs that must be crafted and implemented to achieve those treatments. (http://www.rangelands.org/pdf/Global_Issue_Paper.pdf)