Rangelands affected by three climate thresholds

Climate threshold is a critical limit where a climate system responds drastically when exposed to an external forcing, resulting in the system changing into a different stable state (e.g., melt of Greenland ice-sheet, Sahara greening, instability of West Antarctic ice-sheet, tundra lost, etc). This map shows how rangelands will be affected by several climate change thresholds that are expected to change by 2050. Three threshold flips are mapped; the 20% loss of LGP (length of growing period) and maximum temperature over 30 degrees will have negative effects on production and productivity in those areas of the rangelands that are so affected, while the third (annual temperature over 8 degrees) may have positive effects via the extension of growing season and/or an increase in the land areas suitable for rangeland vegetation.

Key facts

1. It is predicted that 27.74% (22,053,984 km2) of all rangelands (79,509,421 km2) will be affected by climate change as per the three thresholds listed above.

2. It is predicted that more than half – 56.45% or 6,547,681 km2 – of tundra (total of 11,598,465 km2 globally) will be affected by climate change (see three thresholds above).

3. According to climate simulations, 39.21% (10,973,597 km2) of deserts and xeric shrublands will be affected by climate change; 22.54% (247,034 km2) of flooded grasslands and savannahs; 25.98% (838,377 km2); 13.17% (685,299 km2); of mediterranean forests, woodlands and scrub; 6.78% (685,299 km2) of temperate grasslands, savannahs and shrublands; 10.23% (2,076,697 km2) of tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannahs and shrublands; and 56.45% (6,547,681 km2) of tundra will be affected by climate change as per the thresholds above.

Rangelands affected by three climate thresholds




Area km2


Deserts and Xeric Shrublands



Flooded Grasslands and Savannas



Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and Scrub



Montane Grasslands and Shrublands



Temperate Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands



Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands










Source 1: Terrestial ecoregions of the World. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Downloaded in 2021: https://globil-panda.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/terrestrial-ecoregion…. Original source: Olson, D. M., Dinerstein, E., Wikramanayake, E. D., Burgess, N. D., Powell, G. V. N., Underwood, E. C., D'Amico, J. A., Itoua, I., Strand, H. E., Morrison, J. C., Loucks, C. J., Allnutt, T. F., Ricketts, T. H., Kura, Y., Lamoreux, J. F., Wettengel, W. W., Hedao, P., Kassem, K. R. 2001. Terrestrial ecoregions of the world: a new map of life on Earth. Bioscience 51(11):933-938.

Source 2:Projections to 2050 using a high-emissions scenario (RCP8.5) developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and data from an ensemble of 17 climate models taken from the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) of the World Climate Research Programme.

Reference paper: Herrero M., Addison J., Bedelian C., Carabine E., Havlík P., Henderson B., van de Steeg J. & Thornton P.K. – Climate change and pastoralism: impacts, consequences and adaptation. Rev. Sci. Tech. Off. Int. Epiz., 2016, 35 (2), 417–433.