Home Promo Climate Change Alters Prairie Grass

Climate Change Alters Prairie Grass

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The economically important big bluestem grass, a dominant prairie grass and a major forage grass for cattle, is predicted to reduce its growth and stature by up to 60 percent percent in the next 75 years because of climate change, according to a study involving Kansas State University researchers.  The group of scientists, which included collaborators at Missouri Botanical Garden and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, has published the study in the peer-reviewed journal Global Change Biology. The paper is a culmination of several years of close collaboration and interdisciplinary studies, including species modeling, plant growth studies and climatology.  Big bluestem, or Andropogon gerardii, is a common grass in natural and restored prairies across the central Midwestern region that includes Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri and Iowa. The grass species is an important component of forage for the region’s livestock industry. It also is commonly used in grassland restoration of prairies across several million acres in the Great Plains region.

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