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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2019, Article ID 9461513, 14 pages
Research Article

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

1National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln 68583, USA
2Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison 53706, USA
3CNRM UMR 3589, Météo-France/CNRS, Toulouse 31057, France
4School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln 68583, USA
5Conservation and Survey Division, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln 68583, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Tonya R. Haigh; ude.lnu@2hgiaht

Received 1 March 2019; Revised 15 July 2019; Accepted 25 July 2019; Published 9 October 2019

Guest Editor: Jayant K. Routray

Copyright © 2019 Tonya R. Haigh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.