Guide Vegetation of the Northern Great Plains

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The vegetation types were chosen because of their importance in NGP parks, their expected sensitivity to nitrogen addition, and to span a range of natural fertility. In the experiment, we added nitrogen at rates ranging from below current atmospheric deposition 2.

Projected Changes in Very Hot Days, Cool Days, and Heavy Precipitation

We measured the response of a variety of vegetation and soil characteristics shown to be sensitive to nitrogen addition in other studies, including plant biomass production, plant tissue nitrogen concentration, plant species richness and composition, non-native species abundance, and soil inorganic nitrogen concentration. Thus, the critical loads we derived are the lowest nitrogen level that any of our data suggest has a measureable effect on any of the response variables measured. Badlands sparse vegetation, a low-productivity plant community that is an important part of the scenery at Badlands National Park and provides habitat for rare plant species, was the most sensitive of the three vegetation types.

Great Plains - Wikipedia

Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address. We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information. This article was written and prepared by U. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

Citation Larson, Gary E. Fort Collins, CO: U. Originally the region was a sea of rich grasses, watersheds and wildflowers.

Aquatic Wetland Vascular Plants Northern Great Plains

Today, demand for agricultural commodities and new, drought resistant bioengineered crops encourage the degradation of native grasslands and drain waterways and watersheds. From seasonal migrations across state or country boundaries to moving between nesting and feeding grounds, wildlife need the freedom to roam for survival. Development, roads and fences, habitat clearing and invasive plant species restrict wildlife's ability to adapt, move, find mates and food and thrive.

Energy development pressure in the Northern Great Plains comes from both traditional oil, gas, and coal and renewable sources.

Some of the nation's largest coal reserves exist in the region, and wind energy development is growing across every state in the NGP. Advances in oil and gas extraction allow industry to tap into parts of the region where resources were once too difficult and expensive to access. The oil and gas industry is taking advantage of these new technologies and breaking ground from the Dakotas to areas as far west as the Rockies. In North Dakota, the Bakken Shale Formation has produced over a million barrels per day in recent years. The incredible amount of oil underlying the Bakken has led North Dakota to become the second highest oil producing state in the country after Texas.

As technology continues to improve, oil and gas development will continue to boom in the region, fragmenting the grasslands and threatening its wildlife.

Renewable energy is growing across the Northern Great Plains. The high wind speeds in parts of the NGP have led to nicknames like the "Saudi Arabia of wind," and several states in the ecoregion have exceptional wind potential.

Canadian Journal of Plant Science

Wyoming is also in the process of developing the largest wind farm in the country and possibly the world with 1, planned turbines on public and private lands. More wind energy means less of a dependence on coal, less carbon dioxide emitted, and less water consumed. However, while increasing wind energy and other renewables means reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, wind farms can still have a significant impact on a landscape through bird and bat mortalities, habitat fragmentation, and wildlife disturbance. In the Northern Great Plains, WWF predicts erratic weather will result in more extreme levels of heat, snow and rain, severe floods and droughts.

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Land managers will need to change how they plan, implement, evaluate and carry forward their land use plans to make ends meet in the face of climate change. WWF leads innovative work with public agencies, tribal nations, ranchers and other partners to create a sustainable future for the Northern Great Plains. Our two main goals are to sustain and enhance biodiversity across the Northern Great Plains and to restore two flagship species — bison and black-footed ferrets —where possible within the region.

Achieving these goals requires a multi-pronged approach that recognizes unique challenges and opportunities from the local level all the way up to US federal policy and global initiatives.


WWF is a leading voice for grasslands, and advocates for the incredible wildlife and communities of the Northern Great Plains. Ecoregional and landscape-level progress is tracked toward our conservation goals in the Northern Great Plains. We use cutting-edge techniques to model species richness, assess future threats, and predict patterns of change across the region.

Great plains of India -- The great plains of Northern India

WWF has been a science leader, engaging a variety of partners working in this region, and we continue to hold a high standard for designing smart strategy and updating planning as the world changes. Learn more about our techniques. WWF works with the ranching community to make livestock production more sustainable for the environment while identifying and promoting new market opportunities for sustainability across the beef supply chain.

We currently work with a group of ranchers in Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota to collect baseline information to drive improvements in management of lands grazed by cattle. Our work will inform market-based efforts for sustainably produced beef nation-wide and within guidelines agreed to globally.

  • Northern Great Plains - Fourth National Climate Assessment.
  • Wildflowers of the Northern Great Plains.
  • Research Topics;