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The amount of available summer forage for livestock is becoming more uncertain under a changing climate.
Remote sensing estimates of herbaceous biomass production are becoming more readily available for managers and scientists, making assessments of available forage across large regions possible.
We coupled remotely sensed forage estimates with a ranch-level economic model to assess the effects of drought (short and long term) on several key economic factors in the future.
Our findings indicate forage productivity is tightly linked to mean annual temperature, vapor pressure deficit, and precipitation, and both drought scenarios resulted in significant economic effects at the ranch level (i.e., up to 32.1% losses in net income over a 40-year timespan).
Even though our established drought scenarios are hypothetical, the coupling of remote sensing data with economic models further increases the understanding of the effects of a changing climate on rangeland productivity and can ultimately improve implementation of adaptive rangeland management strategies.