Grassland News -- ScienceDaily Grassland biome. Read all the latest scientific research on the grassland biome, including articles on grassland animals and the effect of global warming on the grasslands.

  • Natural enemies reduce pesticide use
    on March 20, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Crop variety in agriculture has a positive impact on the natural enemies of aphids. Farmers can use this insight to keep aphids at bay and cut down on pesticides. […]

  • Amazon deforestation is close to tipping point
    on March 19, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Scientists considered climate change and indiscriminate use of fire to calculate that deforestation rates ranging from 20 percent to 25 percent could turn Amazon's hydrological cycle unable to support its ecosystem. […]

  • Environmentally friendly cattle production (really)
    on March 19, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    When cattle congregate, they're often cast as the poster animals for overgrazing, water pollution and an unsustainable industry. While some of the criticism is warranted, cattle production -- even allowing herds to roam through grasslands and orchards -- can be beneficial to the environment as well as sustainable. […]

  • Once degraded, Brazilian savanna does not regenerate naturally
    on March 8, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    According to study, after being converted to pastures, areas of the so-called 'Cerrado' become closed forest with poor biodiversity if not appropriately managed. This biome works as the source for much of Brazil's main river basins, and boasts biodiversity levels higher than tropical forests at the microscale. […]

  • Maize fields entice geese to winter in Denmark
    on February 28, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    More and more geese remain in Denmark for the winter. They forage in the growing number of maize fields all over the country. Researchers warn that, in the long term, the many geese may cause problems for agriculture. […]

  • Theory suggests root efficiency, independence drove global spread of flora
    on February 21, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Researchers suggest that plants spread worldwide thanks to root adaptations that allowed them to become more efficient and independent. As plant species spread, roots became thinner so they could more efficiently explore poor soils for nutrients, and they shed their reliance on symbiotic fungi. The researchers report that root diameter and reliance on fungi most consistently characterize the plant communities across entire biomes such as deserts, savannas and temperate forests. […]

  • Global grazing lands increasingly vulnerable to a changing climate
    on February 19, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    A new study shows precipitation variability has increased significantly on 49 percent of the world's grazing lands. […]

  • Carefully managed fire can promote rare savanna species
    on February 14, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    In the first continent-wide study of the effects of fire on bird and mammal diversity in the African savanna environment, researchers have found that increasing 'pyrodiversity' boosts the variety of species of mammals by around 20 percent and of birds by 30 percent in savannas with high rainfall. […]

  • Agroforestry systems may play vital role in mitigating climate change
    on February 1, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Agroforestry could play an important role in mitigating climate change because it sequesters more atmospheric carbon in plant parts and soil than conventional farming, according to researchers. […]

  • New study shows producers where and how to grow cellulosic biofuel crops
    on January 16, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    A new report provides practical agronomic data for five cellulosic feedstocks, which could improve adoption and increase production across the country. […]

  • Optimal amount of rainfall for plants
    on December 6, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Researchers have determined what could be considered a 'Goldilocks' climate for rainfall use by plants: not too wet and not too dry. But those landscapes are likely to shrink and become less productive in the future through climate change. […]

  • Slight climate shifts can affect optimum water use in plant communities
    on November 20, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    A new discovery is providing scientists a better understanding of how rainfall is shared beneficially by the plant community and the human population, in addition to the effects of climate change. […]

  • Additional hurdle to widespread planting of bioenergy crops identified
    on November 2, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    A study examining how certain decisions impact what farmers plant and harvest identified one crucial factor that researchers believe needs to be added to the list of decision variables when considering bioenergy crops: the option value. […]

  • Cover crops provide bed and breakfast layover for migrating birds
    on October 30, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    After harvesting a corn or soybean crop, farmers may plant a cover crop for a variety of reasons -- to reduce soil erosion and nutrient runoff, increase organic matter in the soil, and improve water quality. Now there's another reason. New research shows that migratory birds prefer to rest and refuel in fields with cover crops. […]

  • Shallow soils promote savannas in South America
    on October 23, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    The boundary between South American tropical rainforests and savannas is influenced by the depth to which plants can root, research indicates. Shallow rooting depth promotes the establishment of savannas. Previous research has shown that precipitation and fire mediate tropical forest and savanna distributions. The study shows that below ground conditions need to be considered to understand the distribution of terrestrial vegetation both historically and in the face of future climate change. The study is based on computer vegetation models. […]

  • Livestock grazing management compatible with nesting greater sage-grouse
    on October 12, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    A new study looks at whether management of livestock grazing may help protect sagebrush and birds that depend on it. […]

  • Climate change predicted to reduce size, stature of dominant Midwest plant, study finds
    on October 11, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Researchers are involved in a study that found climate change may reduce the growth and stature of big bluestem -- a dominant prairie grass and a major forage grass for cattle. […]

  • Grassland sparrows constantly searching for a nicer home
    on October 11, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Some birds regularly move to new territories between years, depending on factors including habitat quality and the presence of predators, but what about within a single breeding season? Grassland ecosystems are particularly dynamic, continuously shaped by fire and grazing, and a new study confirms that one particular grassland bird moves frequently each summer in search of the best territories. For grasshopper sparrows, the grass really does look greener on the other side. […]

  • Grazing horses on better pastures
    on October 11, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Horses in less temperate zones may get some extra grazing. A new study shows warm-season annual grasses have good potential for use in horse pastures. […]

  • Forest grazing counteracts the effectiveness of trees to reduce flood risk
    on October 10, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Planting trees can reduce flood risk, but a high intensity forest land use, such as grazing, can counteract the positive effect of the trees, a recently published study suggests. The study investigated the rate that water infiltrated the soil under trees at an experimental agroforestry site in Scotland. […]

  • Study finds no-tillage not sufficient alone to prevent water pollution from nitrate
    on September 22, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    A new study answers a long-debated agricultural question: whether no-tillage alone is sufficient to prevent water pollution from nitrate. The answer is no. […]

  • Ozark grasslands experience major increase in trees and shrubs
    on September 21, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Woody vegetation, such as trees and shrubs, has increased dramatically in Ozark grasslands over the past 75 years, according to a study. If these ecosystems continue to favor woody vegetation, will it be possible to maintain open grasslands for the foreseeable future? […]

  • A study switches from genetic to metabolic analysis to reconstitute evolutionary process
    on September 19, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    A new method for analyzing a living being chemical compositions is tested in Andean plants and attest the genesis of species by means of geographic isolation. Scientists analyzed chemical compounds which express specific biogeographic trends in the evolutionary process, validating a Smithsonian hypothesis on the evolution of the genus Espeletia in the process. […]

  • Some birds better than others at adjusting to habitat degradation
    on August 30, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Before habitat degradation begins to cause population declines, the first response by wildlife usually comes in the form of behavioral changes -- for example, switching their diets in response to changes in food availability. A new study looks at the diets of seed-eating birds in a South American desert and finds that while some can switch between seed types when grazing alters local plant communities, others continue to stick to old favorites, limiting their options. […]

  • The key to drought-tolerant crops may be in the leaves
    on August 15, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Scientists are exploring how to generate plants that are more drought-resistant as the water supplies decline in major agricultural states. […]

  • Prairie-chicken nests appear unaffected by wind energy facility
    on August 9, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Wind energy development in the Great Plains is increasing, spurring concern about its potential effects on grassland birds, the most rapidly declining avian group in North America. However, a new study suggests that for one grassland bird species of concern -- the greater prairie-chicken -- wind energy infrastructure has little to no effect on nesting. Instead, roads and livestock grazing remain the most significant threats to its successful reproduction. […]

  • Climate change may confuse plant dormancy cycles
    on August 8, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Perennial plants in the Midwest are well attuned to their surroundings. They hunker down all winter in a dormant state, just waiting for a sign that it’s safe to unfurl their first tender leaves or flower buds. For many plants, the cue is a sustained warming trend, but day length also factors into the dormancy equation. […]

  • Afforestation with non-native trees alters island soils
    on August 7, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    A healthy global debate has occurred concerning the benefits of using non-native trees for restoring some aspects of ecosystem function in degraded habitats. In many cases, the stresses associated with establishing seedlings disallow most native tree species from becoming successfully established in harsh planting sites. The tolerant non-native trees enable successes that would otherwise be unachievable. […]

  • Greatest threat to Eastern forest birds is habitat loss on wintering grounds
    on July 24, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    Human-caused habitat loss looms as the greatest threat to some North American breeding birds. The problem will be most severe on their wintering grounds, according to a new study. […]

  • Unlocking the secrets of the Sahara
    on July 7, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    A peat bog in Romania provides a new insight into our knowledge of when the Sahara began to transform from grassland into the desert we know today, and the impact this had on dust deposition within Eastern Europe. […]