As skeletal components of an animal diminish, the relative mass of the animal decreases. This has major implications for bison meat production. In this project, we use one of the predicted scenarios from IPCC-AR4 to consider average global temperature. This scenario (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 = RCP 8.5) predicts an increase of 1˚C by year 2025 and an increase of 4˚C by year 2100. For each increased degree of temperature, bison can be expected to lose 6% of their mass. Assuming a continued linear relationship, bison will continue to diminish its body size as the temperature continues to increase; therefore, meat production per animal will decrease. This relationship is illustrated in the figures below.
The following figure shows the percent of mass loss due to warming at both the 1˚C and 4˚C milestone. The baseline of 2,000 pounds is used to illustrate the maximum potential growth based on average breeder bulls today. The percentage rate (~6%/˚C) may still be applied to cows and feeder animals.
Furthermore, we can extrapolate the individual animal adaptation to the larger industry community. Below, the left most columns show the bison industry worth (green) and the pounds of bison meat produced (yellow). With a 1˚C temperature rise to a global average of 59˚F, which is predicted to occur by year 2025, the pounds of bison meat produced will decrease by 7.2 million pounds. This assumes that the bison population remains constant and that no action is taken on the industry's part. Moreover, the 4˚C temperature rise predicts a complete collapse of the industry if no action is taken to adapt.
A table of references can be found here.