Document Type


Publication Date



Grasslands play a key role in providing wildlife habitat and recreation, as well as in range and pasture livestock production systems by producing high quality animal protein for human consumption. Croplands provide high quality grains for human consumption, coarse grains for ethanol production, and along with forages, feed for confined livestock production systems. These livestock systems also produce high quality animal protein for human consumption. Both land use systems play important roles in a wide range of societal issues facing South Dakota including economic productivity and development, water quality and quantity, health of rural communities, urban development, and additional aspects of quality-of-life long associated with the state. The purpose of this study was to estimate land use changes in South Dakota from 2006 to 2012. Estimates of land use changes were calculated based on proportions of visually observed land use using high resolution imagery (< 2-m resolution) at the same 14,400 sampling points in the years 2006 and 2012. Between 2006 and 2012, the estimated grassland losses were 1,837,100 acres (±21,100). Grassland losses resulted in increased acres devoted to cropland (1,439,500 acres ±15,600), roads + buildings (nonagricultural purposes, 27,400 acres ±110), wetlands + forest (habitat, 126,800 acres ±690), and open water (243,300 acres ±860). The consequences of changes in land use in South Dakota may impact a wide range of stakeholder and interest groups, as well as society in general.

Publication Title

iGrow Agronomy


This is a publication of iGrow, a service of SDSU Extension.