Grasslands

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.

  • 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. […]

  • 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. […]