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Climate Change, Rangelands, and Sustainability of Ranching in the Western United States

1
Department of Animal and Range Sciences, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
2
New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
3
Department of Natural Resources in Arid Lands, Prince El-Hassan bin Talal Faculty for Arid Lands, The Hashemite University, Zarqa 13133, Jordan
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4942; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124942
Received: 23 May 2020 / Revised: 12 June 2020 / Accepted: 16 June 2020 / Published: 17 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Climate Change on Sustainable Agriculture)
Accelerated climate change is a global challenge that is increasingly putting pressure on the sustainability of livestock production systems that heavily depend on rangeland ecosystems. Rangeland management practices have low potential to sequester greenhouse gases. However, mismanagement of rangelands and their conversion into ex-urban, urban, and industrial landscapes can significantly exacerbate the climate change process. Under conditions of more droughts, heat waves, and other extreme weather events, management of risks (climate, biological, financial, political) will probably be more important to the sustainability of ranching than capability to expand output of livestock products in response to rising demand due to population growth. Replacing traditional domestic livestock with a combination of highly adapted livestock and game animals valued for both hunting and meat may be the best strategy on many arid rangelands. Eventually, traditional ranching could become financially unsound across large areas if climate change is not adequately addressed. Rangeland policy, management, and research will need to be heavily focused on the climate change problem. View Full-Text
Keywords: global change; GHG emissions; livestock and ranching production systems; drought risks; adaptation; mitigation; heat waves; energy global change; GHG emissions; livestock and ranching production systems; drought risks; adaptation; mitigation; heat waves; energy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Holechek, J.L.; Geli, H.M.E.; Cibils, A.F.; Sawalhah, M.N. Climate Change, Rangelands, and Sustainability of Ranching in the Western United States. Sustainability 2020, 12, 4942. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124942

AMA Style

Holechek JL, Geli HME, Cibils AF, Sawalhah MN. Climate Change, Rangelands, and Sustainability of Ranching in the Western United States. Sustainability. 2020; 12(12):4942. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124942

Chicago/Turabian Style

Holechek, Jerry L., Hatim M.E. Geli, Andres F. Cibils, and Mohammed N. Sawalhah 2020. "Climate Change, Rangelands, and Sustainability of Ranching in the Western United States" Sustainability 12, no. 12: 4942. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124942

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