Climate change models for the northern Rocky Mountains predict changes in temperature and water availability that in turn will alter vegetation. Changes include timing of plant life-history events, or phenology, such as green-up, flowering and senescence, and shifts in species composition. Moreover, climate changes may favor different species, such as nonnative, annual grasses over native species. Changes in vegetation could make forage for ungulates, sage-grouse, and livestock available earlier in the growing season, but shifts in species composition and phenology may also result in earlier senescence (die-off or dormancy) and reduced overall forage production.
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What are plants doing and when? Using plant phenology to facilitate sustainable natural resources management