Rangeland Analysis Platform: Integrating production and economics into area-wide planning
Description: Rangelands produce ecosystem services that not only support biodiversity and wildlife, but also sustain livestock operations and rural economies. Woody encroachment is a threat to rangeland productivity, but its impact is often overlooked due to its slow pace and the positive public perception of trees. The Rangeland Analysis Platform (RAP) is an innovative online tool that combines current and historical satellite imagery with thousands of on-the-ground vegetation measurements to facilitate an exploration of trends in western vegetation over time. Using RAP’s recently developed remotely sensed products of rangeland production, we quantify the amount of forage lost to woody encroachment across western rangelands over the past three decades. Translating these losses into dollars, we demonstrate how this knowledge can be integrated into area-wide planning to stop further economic loss and prevent wholescale ecosystem transitions.
Presenters: Brady Allred (University of Montana) and Dirac Twidwell (University of Nebraska-Lincoln).