The Fort Collins Coloradoan reports that rising CO2 levels may threaten grassland, thus cutting into the bottom line of ranchers.
Rising carbon dioxide levels could mean higher feed costs for ranchers and fewer wild ruminants such as antelope and deer, suggest studies by a U.S. Department of Agriculture research team in Fort Collins.
“This has huge implications for grasslands all around the world,” said Jack Morgan, a research leader and plant physiologist with the Agricultural Research Service in Fort Collins.
For ranchers, diluted nitrogen would mean lower-quality forage for livestock and more reliance on feed supplements like hay and alfalfa. But the issue, which could take decades to develop, isn’t on the radar of most ranchers.
Poor forage quality could lead to impacts similar to those that ranchers faced during the drought, when some sold off their herds or turned to hay as pastures deteriorated.
Left leaning blogs in the west have been making the point for some time now that growing environmental concerns in the red-state west should give Democrats a handhold in coming years.