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    Author(s): Paulette Ford; Charles Jackson; Matthew Reeves; Benjamin Bird; Dave Turner
    Date: 2015
    Source: In: Sustainable use of grassland resources for forage production, biodiversity and environmental protection; proceedings, XXIII International Grassland Congress; 2015 November 20-24; New Delhi, India. 3 p.
    Publication Series: Paper (invited, offered, keynote)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (286.0 KB)

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    RMRS-2016-247
    Rangeland Drought: Effects and Adaptation Strategies

    Description

    We examine 31 years (1982-2012) of temperature, precipitation and natural wildfire occurrence data for Federal and Tribal lands to determine landscape-scale patterns of drought and fire on the southern and central High Plains of the western United States. The High Plains states of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming have been in the midst of ongoing extreme drought, experiencing below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures for the past several years. Climate change is predicted to have multiple effects on fire regimes. Longer periods of drought conditions, coupled with hot, dry and windy weather, provide the conditions for wildfire (Ford et al., 2012), and megafires, or large-scale fires that significantly exceed those of recent decades are now occurring in grassland, shrubland and desert ecosystems (Chambers and Pellant, 2008). Our objective is to relate the frequency and size of wildfires to precipitation, temperature and latitudinal gradients to increase understanding of wildfire and drought interactions on the Great Plains in a changing climate.

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    Citation

    Ford, Paulette; Jackson, Charles; Reeves, Matthew; Bird, Benjamin; Turner, Dave. 2015. Landscape-scale patterns of fire and drought on the high plains, USA. In: Sustainable use of grassland resources for forage production, biodiversity and environmental protection; proceedings, XXIII International Grassland Congress; 2015 November 20-24; New Delhi, India. 3 p.

    Keywords

    climate, drought, fire, Great Plains

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