Estimating climate change effects on net primary production of rangelands in the United States

Matthew C. Reeves, Adam L. Moreno, Karen E. Bagne, Steven W. Running

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


The potential effects of climate change on net primary productivity (NPP) of U.S. rangelands were evaluated using estimated climate regimes from the A1B, A2 and B2 global change scenarios imposed on the biogeochemical cycling model, Biome-BGC from 2001 to 2100. Temperature, precipitation, vapor pressure deficit, day length, solar radiation, CO2 enrichment and nitrogen deposition were evaluated as drivers of NPP. Across all three scenarios, rangeland NPP increased by 0.26 % year−1 (7 kg C ha−1 year−1) but increases were not apparent until after 2030 and significant regional variation in NPP was revealed. The Desert Southwest and Southwest assessment regions exhibited declines in NPP of about 7 % by 2100, while the Northern and Southern Great Plains, Interior West and Eastern Prairies all experienced increases over 25 %. Grasslands dominated by warm season (C4 photosynthetic pathway) species showed the greatest response to temperature while cool season (C3 photosynthetic pathway) dominated regions responded most strongly to CO2 enrichment. Modeled NPP responses compared favorably with experimental results from CO2 manipulation experiments and to NPP estimates from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Collectively, these results indicate significant and asymmetric changes in NPP for U.S. rangelands may be expected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-442
Number of pages14
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


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