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California’s Rangeland Could Take a Hit from Climate Change

Craig Miller / KQED

A bull stares down the photographer in California's Panoche Valley.

California’s ranchers could face a tougher economic future under climate change. The grasslands they depend on to feed their cattle could shrink by almost 40% by the end of the century, according to a study from Duke University and the Environmental Defense Fund.

The researchers modeled two different climate futures for California: a warmer, wetter scenario and a warmer, drier one. The study showed that by the end of the century, California’s shrublands could increase as much as 70% under the worst-case dry scenario, taking over historic grasslands and other ecosystems. Continue reading