Oklahoma has a large percentage of its land area covered by rangeland; over 50%, that’s equal to about 23 million acres. These rangelands provide a variety of services to the public either directly or in a round-about way. Some of the more obvious ones would be wildlife habitat and forage for livestock, but some of the more inconspicuous benefits to the public include watershed enhancement and carbon sequestration. Both of the latter benefits are not very well known but they both help the environment out greatly.
Oklahoma has a lot of variation in its soil, topography, and climate. This variation leads to variation in the state’s rangelands. Rangelands are defined by their vegetation; each one of these rangelands has a unique vegetation because of the combinations of environmental factors that occur there. Some of the different types of rangelands that occur across the Oklahoma landscape include Crosstimbers, Shortgrass Prairie, Shinnery Oak Grassland, Tallgrass Prairie, and Mesquite Grasslands. Because of this large variety of vegetation types, Oklahoma is home to 173 families of vascular plants; that is more than any other state except for Texas and California!