What are Rangelands?

Rangelands affect us all. They comprise over 40% of the landmass of the world and provide valuable grazing lands for livestock and wildlife. Rangelands serve as a source of high quality water, clean air and open spaces and benefit people as a setting for recreation and economic means for agriculture, mining and communities.

What are rangelands?

Rangelands are a type of land on which the natural vegetation is dominated by grasses, forbs and shrubs and the land is managed as a natural ecosystem.

Where are rangelands?

Global extent of major rangeland cover types:

Grassland 42%

Shrubland 23%

Woodland 12%

Other (tundra, desert, forest) 23%

What goods and services are derived from rangelands?

Rangelands serve multiple purposes as:

  • a habitat for a wide array of game and non-game animal species;
  • a habitat for a diverse and wide array of native plant species;
  • a source of high quality water, clean air and open spaces;
  • a setting for recreational hiking, camping, fishing, hunting and nature experiences;
  • the foundation for low-input, fully renewable food and fiber production systems of grazing industries.

Because of the diversity of goods and services derived from rangelands, their management and health are linked closely to the economic well being of many communities.