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.

  • Species-rich forests store twice as much carbon as monocultures
    on October 4, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Species-rich subtropical forests can take up on average twice as much carbon as monocultures. An international research team has evaluated data from forests grown specifically for this purpose in China with a total of over 150,000 trees. The results speak in favor of using many different tree species during reforestation. […]

  • Finding middle ground on the range
    on October 1, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Cattle ranching and conservation may seem an unusual pair in the American West, but new research reveals a clear link between the economic health of ranches and the ability to maintain habitat for an iconic wild bird that for years has been at the center of public land policy debate: the greater sage grouse. […]

  • Ancient African herders had lasting ecological impact on grazed lands
    on August 29, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    Ancient animal herders added to the ecological richness and diversity of the African savanna thousands of years ago -- an effect that persists to the present day, a new study finds. The herders' practice of penning their cattle, goats and sheep at night created nutrient-rich grassy glades that still attract wildlife and have increased habitat diversity in the region, researchers report. […]

  • How does agriculture affect vulnerable insect-eating birds?
    on August 29, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Aerial insectivores -- birds that hunt for insect prey on the wing -- are declining across North America as agricultural intensification leads to diminishing insect abundance and diversity in many areas. A new study looks at how tree swallows' diets are affected by agriculture and finds that while birds living in cropland can still find their preferred prey, they may be working harder to get it. […]

  • Color vision makes birds of prey successful hunters
    on August 29, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    In many cases it is the color of the prey that helps predatory birds to detect, pursue and capture them. In a new study, biologists show that the Harris's hawk has the best color vision of all animals investigated to date -- and in certain situations, even better than humans. The findings may help to protect threatened birds of prey against hazards such as wind turbines and power lines. […]

  • Multiple facets of biodiversity reduce variability of grassland biomass production
    on August 28, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    A new study shows that plant evolutionary history plays a critical role in regulating year-to-year variation of biomass production in grasslands. In the face of climate change, understanding causes of variability in key ecosystem services such as biomass production is essential. […]

  • Does rain follow the plow?
    on August 10, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    There are many factors that play a role in whether or not it rains, and new research shows that human activity may be one of them. […]

  • Mojave Desert birds crashed over the last century due to climate change
    on August 7, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    More than 100 years ago, biologists conducted a thorough survey of birds in the Mojave Desert. A recent resurvey shows that the species richness of the desert habitat has dropped by 43 percent over the past century, on average, at the sites revisited. The main environmental change correlated with bird decline was a decrease in rainfall caused by climate change, which suggests that temporary sources of water might help prevent further decline. […]

  • Abandoned farmlands enrich bird communities
    on August 3, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Abandoned farmlands hold potential for the preservation of wetland and grassland birds as rehabilitation zones. […]

  • Heatwave and climate change having negative impact on our soil say experts
    on August 2, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    The recent heatwave and drought could be having a deeper, more negative effect on soil than we first realized say scientists. That's because organisms in soil are highly diverse and are responsible not only for producing the soil we need to grow crops, but also provide humans with many other benefits, such as cleaning water and regulating greenhouse gas emissions. […]

  • Monsoon rains found to be beneficial to underground aquifers
    on August 1, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Using a combination of field instrumentation, unmanned aerial vehicles and a hydrologic model, a team of researchers has been studying the fate of monsoon rainfall and its impact on groundwater recharge in the Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico. […]

  • If you build it, the birds will come -- if it meets their criteria
    on July 11, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    A new study presents a case study on how bird surveys can better inform conservation and vegetation restoration efforts. Previous conservation methods have emphasized plants as the key to recreating habitat preferred by a sensitive animal. However, this study shows that there's more to the coastal sagebrush habitat of California gnatcatchers than just having the right plants present. […]

  • Plants in Africa 'green up' ahead of rainy season
    on July 2, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    A study has shown the greening up of vegetation prior to the rainy season in Africa is more widespread than previously understood. […]

  • Palm oil: The carbon cost of deforestation
    on June 19, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Palm oil has become part of our daily lives, but a recent study serves as a reminder that intensive farming of this crop has a major impact on the environment. Both short- and long-term solutions exist, however. The article analyzed the carbon costs and benefits of converting rainforests into oil palm plantations. […]

  • New method makes weather forecasts right as rain
    on June 15, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    Meteorologists have known for some time that rainfall forecasts have flaws, as failure to take into account factors such as evaporation can affect their accuracy. Now, researchers have developed a system that improves the precision of forecasts by accounting for evaporation in rainfall estimates, particularly for locations 30 miles or more from the nearest National Weather Service radar. […]

  • Explaining the history of Australia's vegetation
    on May 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    New research has uncovered the history of when and why the native vegetation that today dominates much of Australia first expanded across the continent. […]

  • Less water, same Texas cotton
    on May 16, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    In Texas, the Southern High Plains uses water from an aquifer to water cotton fields. However, the aquifer is running low. Scientists from the area are working to find the best irrigation method for cotton that uses the least water. […]

  • Beavers do 'dam' good work cleaning water
    on May 9, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Beavers could help clean up polluted rivers and stem the loss of valuable soils from farms, new research shows. […]

  • Leafcutter ants' success due to more than crop selection
    on May 9, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    A complex genetic analysis has biologists re-evaluating some long-held beliefs about the way societies evolved following the invention of agriculture -- by six-legged farmers. […]

  • Novel ecosystems provide use for some native birds
    on April 26, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Ecosystems that have been altered by human activities can provide suitable habitat for native birds, according to scientists in the United States and Australia. […]

  • Grassland plants react unexpectedly to high levels of carbon dioxide
    on April 20, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Plants are responding in unexpected ways to increased carbon dioxide in the air, according to a 20-year study. […]

  • How well does the greater sage grouse habitat protects other species?
    on April 18, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Protected areas for sage grouse don't necessarily serve the needs of other species that depend on sagebrush habitat, showing that the bird might not be as much of an umbrella species as had been assumed. […]

  • Honeybees are struggling to get enough good bacteria
    on April 17, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Modern monoculture farming, commercial forestry and even well-intentioned gardeners could be making it harder for honeybees to store food and fight off diseases, a new study suggests. […]

  • Droughts mean fewer flowers for bees
    on April 12, 2018 at 2:08 am

    Bees could be at risk from climate change because more frequent droughts could cause plants to produce fewer flowers, new research shows. […]

  • 100th meridian: East-west divide between moist and arid parts of U.S. may be shifting
    on April 11, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Nearly a century and a half after explorer John Wesley Powell zeroed in on the 100th meridian west as the dividing line between the humid east and arid west of the United States, researchers say he was right -- but that climate change is now moving the line eastward, into the traditionally fertile Midwest. The effects on U.S. farming and other pursuits could be huge. […]

  • Faba fix for corn's nitrogen need
    on April 11, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Researchers have good news for growers. Farmers raising a nitrogen-hungry crop like sweet corn may save up to half of their nitrogen fertilizer cost. The key: using a faba bean cover crop. […]

  • The Sahara Desert is expanding
    on March 29, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    The Sahara Desert has expanded by about 10 percent since 1920, according to a new study. The research is the first to assess century-scale changes to the boundaries of the world's largest desert and suggests that other deserts could be expanding as well. […]

  • First IVF bison calf joins wild herd
    on March 26, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Eight bison -- four calves and their mothers -- were released in mid-March on public lands in northern Colorado. A 10-month-old calf known as IVF 1 was among the newcomers. […]

  • Alberta's boreal forest could be dramatically altered by 2100 due to climate change
    on March 26, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Half of Alberta's upland boreal forest is likely to disappear over the next century due to climate change, a new study shows. The upland forest will be replaced after wildfire by open woodland or grassland, according to research from biologists. […]

  • 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. […]