A new study concludes that nonfederal rangelands in the western U.S. are productive, but that nonnative grasses and shrubs pose a potential threat to the rangelands’ productivity. The study, published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, was the result of collaboration between the Agricultural Research Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.
The study found that less than 25% of nonfederal rangelands have significant land degradation but that nonnative plant species now occur on nearly 50% of all nonfederal rangeland. Researchers evaluated more than 10,000 field plots across Western rangelands using National Resources Inventory (NRI) data, which is a statistical survey designed to help gauge natural resource status, conditions and trends on U.S. nonfederal land. Learn more at www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/nri.