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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Transitions in Rangeland Evaluations

Authors
item Pyke, David - US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
item Herrick, Jeffrey

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2004
Publication Date: January 25, 2004
Citation: PYKE, D.A., HERRICK, J.E. TRANSITIONS IN RANGELAND EVALUATIONS. 57TH ANNUAL MEETING, SOCIETY FOR RANGE MANAGEMENT. 2004. ABSTRACT NO. 296.

Technical Abstract: Historically, rangeland evaluations have been concerned with conducting inventory of and monitoring upland physical and biological characteristics. Vascular plant composition was a critical measure for determining rangeland condition and trend. Managers used key areas and key forage species to determine if livestock and wildlife adequately used the available land area and its forage. Over the years, the principle reasons for evaluating rangelands have remained the same: to determine the current status and trend of the natural resources on rangelands. However, we began to recognize that the traditional rangeland condition classification system and the successional model on which it was based had severe limitations when applied to many semiarid and arid rangelands. We reevaluated our views of succession and the relationship between those views and the status of rangelands. We broadened our areas of concern from only uplands to include wetlands and riparian areas. In addition, we looked beyond the impacts of only our primary use of an individually fenced unit, which was often livestock grazing, to multiple uses and units within a watershed or multiple watersheds within a basin. New assessment techniques are attempting to link abiotic with biotic factors and to integrate them into evaluations of ecosystem status on rangelands. Remote sensing tools now provide a means to evaluate larger areas. Future evaluations will examine the sustainability of rangelands, but they will need to develop acceptable measures of not just biological and physical factors, but also social and economic factors relating to rangelands.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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