Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Forest Ecology

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Steve Running

Commitee Members

Anna Klene, Cory Cleveland


climate change, future, net primary production, npp, rangeland, trends, united states


University of Montana


Rangelands are an important ecosystem covering nearly 24% of the earth’s terrestrial vegetation. Climate change is predicted to affect many of the factors that influence the production of rangeland vegetation. Understanding future trends and patterns in net primary production (NPP) requires projected potential NPP to better understand how rangelands will be affected by a changing climate. Here, I used climate data projected from a global climate model (GCM) to drive the biogeochemical model (Biome-BGC) in an attempt to simulate future potential NPP trends in rangelands of the contiguous United States from 2001-2100 on a 100 km2 scale. In response to the simulated climate projections, I found an overall slight increase in potential NPP throughout time. However, these increases were not spatially consistent; in some areas, NPP decreased substantially. Biome-BGC found three distinct zones that have similar potential NPP trends and primary correlating climatic factors that drove these trends. The south western portion of the United States may see a decrease in NPP driven mostly by a decrease in moisture. This simulation indicates a rise in NPP in the Great Plains mostly from c4 grasses driven primarily by an increase in temperature. Furthermore, it projects little to no change in The Great Basin driven by a combination of a slight increase in precipitation and maximum temperature.



© Copyright 2011 Adam LaSalle Moreno