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Press Release 12-026

Time of Year Important in Projections of Climate Change Effects on Ecosystems

Results of study on prairie grasslands show differences across the months

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Image of prairie grass and wildflowers.

Scientists have found that U.S. midwest drought reduced prairie grass growth most in June.

Credit: NSF Konza Prairie LTER Site


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Map showing location of NSF's 26 Long-Term Ecological Research sites.

NSF's 26 LTER sites circle the globe and stretch from pole to pole.

Credit: NSF LTER Network Office


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Image of brown prairie grass.

Drought or heat waves seemed to have less effect on grass growth as summer turned to fall.

Credit: NSF Konza Prairie LTER Site


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Image of small trees and shrubs with lilac flowers.

For some grasses, flowering is altered by drought in May, for others, drought in August.

Credit: NSF Konza Prairie LTER Site


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Image of bison on the prairie.

Bison on the prairie may gain more weight in years when droughts come in June or July.

Credit: NSF Konza Prairie LTER Site


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Image of a burning prairie.

Fire is a natural part of a prairie ecosystem, including at NSF's Konza Prairie LTER site.

Credit: NSF Konza Prairie LTER Site


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