Did you know that 22.4 million tons of rangeland production are lost annually in the Great Plains to woody encroachment? Or that The Great Plains accounts for approximately 95% of the nation’s lost rangeland production to woody encroachment?
Woody encroachment is one of the largest threats driving grassland collapse in the Great Plains. With the collapse of grassland, rangeland production is reduced. Recent innovations in rangeland monitoring have given rangeland experts the ability to track woody encroachment and the associated losses that occur at county, state, and national scales.
The current approach of reactive management that targets mature trees and patches of trees is unable to prevent rangeland production losses due to the fact that the problem is not dealt with until impacts occur.
A new approach prioritizes integrated management across all stages of woody encroachment. This approach focuses on removing seed sources and following up to deplete the seedbank.
If risk-reduction strategies are not implemented, woody encroachment will continue to reduce rangeland production and erode goods and services provided by grasslands across the Great Plains.
Fogarty, Dillion., C. Baldwin, P. Bauman, J. Beaver, R. Bruegger, D. Cram, L. Goodman, T. Hovick, A. Overlin, J. Scasta, C. Spackman, A. Thompson, M. Treadwell, D. Twidwell. Rangeland Production Lost to Woody Encroachment in Great Plains Grasslands. https://agrilife.org/westtexasrangelands/files/2023/07/GPGEP_UNL_01_Production-Losses.pdf. 2023.