Large areas of shrublands or rangelands, which are not suitable for crop production, are used as pastures. Although these areas are sometimes called “marginal”, they can be very important for local food and nutrition security. Approximately 800 million people depend on livestock grazing on natural vegetation. However, forage production on this grazing land depends on climate and climate change thus threatens the livelihoods of people depending on grazing livestock.
A new study looked at the importance of precipitation variability on livestock grazing lands. The article entitled "Increasing importance of precipitation variability on global livestock grazing lands" by Lindsey Sloat and co-authors was just published in Nature Climate Change.
The study found that precipitation variability is increasing on global pastures. Using measures of within- and between-year precipitation variability can help identify regions that have undergone large precipitation changes but have managed to maintain productivity in a sustainable way. These examples can inform policy and management of pasturelands.
Read the full article in Nature Climate Change.
The University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment published a complementing interactive Food Matters report entitled "Is Climate Change a Risk to Global Grazing Lands?", highlighting the key findings of the study. The Food Matters report includes graphs, info graphics, and other data visualizations.
Read the full report on Food Matters.