Drought Early Warning and the Timing of Range Managers' Drought Response

Tonya R. Haigh, Jason A. Otkin, Anthony Mucia, Michael Hayes, Mark E. Burbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The connection between drought early warning information and the timing of rangeland managers' response actions is not well understood. This study investigates U.S. Northern Plains range and livestock managers' decision-making in response to the 2016 flash drought, by means of a postdrought survey of agricultural landowners and using the Protective Action Decision Model theoretical framework. The study found that managers acted in response to environmental cues, but that their responses were significantly delayed compared to when drought conditions emerged. External warnings did not influence the timing of their decisions, though on-farm monitoring and assessment of conditions did. Though this case focused only on a one-year flash drought characterized by rapid drought intensification, waiting to destock pastures was associated with greater losses to range productivity and health and diversity. This study finds evidence of unrealized potential for drought early warning information to support proactive response and improved outcomes for rangeland management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9461513
JournalAdvances in Meteorology
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Pollution
  • Atmospheric Science


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