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18 May 2023 Evaluating Multimodel Ensemble Seasonal Climate Forecasts on Rangeland Plant Production in the California Annual Grassland
Merilynn C. Schantz, Stuart P. Hardegree, Jeremy J. James, Theresa Becchetti, John T. Abatzoglou, Katherine C. Hegewisch, Roger L. Sheley
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Abstract

Seasonal precipitation and temperature directly affect total plant production in the California Annual Grassland (CAG). Technological advances have resulted in skillful seasonal climate forecasts (i.e., significant correlations between actual and forecasted climate), which could be input into plant production models to inform stocking and other rangeland management decisions. This study presents a procedure for forecasting plant production in the CAG ecosystem to predict annual plant production for grazing, restoration, or other rangeland management practices using a combination of historical gridMET climate data and seasonal hindcasts (i.e., retrospective forecasts, from the North American Multi-Model Ensemble program). The results of this study first confirmed high forecast skill, throughout the growing season at all sites. We also identified skillful plant production forecasts across most of the growing season at two sites and in three of the seven forecasting months at one study site. Forecasting climate and end-of-year plant production across the growing season at three CAG sites allowed us to identify the places and times in the growing season when forecasting might be most helpful in informing management decisions. Integrating plant production forecasting into rangeland management practices could significantly improve rangeland management outcomes. These procedures provide a user guide for creating plant production forecasts for any given area of interest and may be applicable across a wide range of other agricultural and rangeland management systems.

Merilynn C. Schantz, Stuart P. Hardegree, Jeremy J. James, Theresa Becchetti, John T. Abatzoglou, Katherine C. Hegewisch, and Roger L. Sheley "Evaluating Multimodel Ensemble Seasonal Climate Forecasts on Rangeland Plant Production in the California Annual Grassland," Rangeland Ecology and Management 88(1), 135-142, (18 May 2023). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2023.02.013
Received: 15 November 2022; Accepted: 27 February 2023; Published: 18 May 2023
KEYWORDS
Annual net primary production
drought
forage
rangeland management
stocking rate
weather
wildfire
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