Climate Change Issues

  • Summers are shorter, which leads to less developed grasslands and the plants that do grow contain fewer nutrients.
  • Higher temperatures lead to increased evaporation and water loss. The stress this causes to the grasslands, results in smaller root systems and less robust plants.
  • Decreased overall rainfall but … more frequent large rain events. These are shorter in duration but more intense than in the past, which leads to increased run off and loss of water as well as an increase in erosion and soil loss.
  • Increased winds lead to increased erosion and soil loss
  • In the winter there is an increase in Dzuds (severe winter events or periods) frequency as well as the severity and duration. Dzuds are harsh peaks in winter weather that cause livestock loss and damage to vegetation. This leads herders to “hedge their bets” and keep more livestock in the hope that an economically viable number will survive until the spring.
  • Dzuds lead to severe malnutrition in livestock which, when combined with the later development of grasslands which are also low in nutrients, causes additional loss of livestock in the Spring.

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