Regional summaries: Great Plains RegionThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The Great Plains, here encompassing the States of Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming (Fig. A5.1), is a diverse landscape consisting of a complex matrix of native, seminative, and nonnative grasslands intermixed with riparian and prairie woodlands, shrublands, forests, and intensively cultivated agricultural lands. The composition and abundance of the native vegetation is strongly correlated with a north-south temperature gradient and an east-west precipitation gradient. Increasing pressure for intensive urban, agricultural, and energy development coupled with climate change is threatening maintenance of goods and services in the region. Because of the widespread and complex juxtaposition of privately owned lands with intensive agricultural use intermixed with native vegetation on public lands, invasive plants pose a unique challenge to both private and public land managers. Climate change is likely to enhance pathways for invasive species (see Chap. 4) which increases the risk of some species becoming locally adapted under a changing climate and then dispersed into adjacent lands dominated by native vegetation.