Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 515–526 | Cite as

Impacts of climate change on land-use and wetland productivity in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America

  • Benjamin S. RashfordEmail author
  • Richard M. Adams
  • JunJie Wu
  • Richard A. Voldseth
  • Glenn R. Guntenspergen
  • Brett Werner
  • W. Carter Johnson
Original Article


Wetland productivity in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North America is closely linked to climate. A warmer and drier climate, as predicted, will negatively affect the productivity of PPR wetlands and the services they provide. The effect of climate change on wetland productivity, however, will not only depend on natural processes (e.g., evapotranspiration), but also on human responses. Agricultural land use, the predominant use in the PPR, is unlikely to remain static as climate change affects crop yields and prices. Land use in uplands surrounding wetlands will further affect wetland water budgets and hence wetland productivity. The net impact of climate change on wetland productivity will therefore depend on both the direct effects of climate change on wetlands and the indirect effects on upland land use. We examine the effect of climate change and land-use response on semipermanent wetland productivity by combining an economic model of agricultural land-use change with an ecological model of wetland dynamics. Our results suggest that the climate change scenarios evaluated are likely to have profound effects on land use in the North and South Dakota PPR, with wheat displacing other crops and pasture. The combined pressure of land-use and climate change significantly reduces wetland productivity. In a climate scenario with a +4 °C increase in temperature, our model predicts that almost the entire region may lack the wetland productivity necessary to support wetland-dependent species.


Climate change Wetland modeling Cover cycle Hydroperiod Land-use change 



This research was funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Science to Achieve Results Program (Grant Number R833016), and the US Geological Survey Climate and Land Use Research and Development program. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. We thank Eric Cropper for assistance with data collection.

Supplementary material

10113_2015_768_MOESM1_ESM.docx (309 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 309 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA)  2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin S. Rashford
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard M. Adams
    • 2
  • JunJie Wu
    • 2
  • Richard A. Voldseth
    • 3
  • Glenn R. Guntenspergen
    • 4
  • Brett Werner
    • 5
  • W. Carter Johnson
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Applied EconomicsUniversity of Wyoming, Dept. 3354LaramieUSA
  2. 2.Department of Applied EconomicsOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  3. 3.School of Natural Resource SciencesNorth Dakota State University, Dept. 7680FargoUSA
  4. 4.US Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research CenterLaurelUSA
  5. 5.Environmental Studies ProgramCentre CollegeDanvilleUSA
  6. 6.Department of Natural Resource ManagementSouth Dakota State UniversityBrookingsUSA

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