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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR ARID RANGELANDS Title: A strategy for rangeland management based on best available knowledge and information

Authors
item Karl, Jason
item Herrick, Jeffrey
item Browning, Dawn

Submitted to: Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 14, 2012
Publication Date: November 1, 2012
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/57183
Citation: Karl, J.W., Herrick, J.E., Browning, D.M. 2012. A strategy for rangeland management based on best available knowledge and information. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 65:638-646.

Interpretive Summary: The knowledge that we have gathered over decades of rangeland research is tied to a specific set of climatic conditions and land uses and is in danger of becoming obsolete unless we adapt science to novel circumstances. Changes to rangeland systems are happening at spatial and temporal scales beyond the capability of our current knowledge and information systems. The modus operandi for creating, storing, communicating, and finding information for rangeland ecology and management is based on a centuries-old model of the scientific study – a discrete unit of research that consists of data, analyses, and published results. Contrast the existing rangeland information and knowledge paradigm with the development of so-called “Web 2.0” tools that promote participation, information sharing, interoperability, and collaboration via the internet. In this paper we address three issues. First, we look at how Web 2.0 tools such as wikis and crowd-sourcing and new technologies including mobile devices and massive online databases are currently being used in rangeland management. We consider the potential of these tools for furthering understanding of rangeland ecosystems and improving management decision making in the future. Second, we discuss some potential problems and barriers associated with implementing Web 2.0 tools to support a new rangeland knowledge and information management paradigm. We conclude with a proposed roadmap for moving the discipline of rangeland ecology and management forward toward a more robust and effective use of information.

Technical Abstract: Changes to rangeland systems are happening at spatial and temporal scales beyond the capability of our current knowledge and information systems. In this paper we look at how Web 2.0 tools such as wikis and crowd-sourcing and new technologies including mobile devices and massive online databases are currently being used in rangeland management and consider the potential of these tools for furthering understanding of rangeland ecosystems and improving management decision making in the future. Some potential problems and barriers associated with implementing Web 2.0 tools to support a new rangeland knowledge and information management paradigm are discussed. We conclude with a proposed roadmap for moving the discipline of rangeland ecology and management forward toward a more robust and effective use of information. This roadmap focuses on interoperability of data and systems, improving data consistency and documentation, geographic referencing of information, the use of structured and unstructured information, and targeted learning and teaching. Our proposal is an incremental step on top of our current ways of collecting, using, and disseminating information that moves us toward the kinds of knowledge systems we need to address the management problems of today and tomorrow.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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