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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: An Integrated Framework for Science-Based Arid Land Management

Authors
item Herrick, Jeffrey
item Bestelmeyer, Brandon
item Archer, S - UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
item Tugel, Arlene - USDA-NRCS
item Brown, Joel - USDA-NRCS

Submitted to: Journal of Arid Environments
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 31, 2005
Publication Date: April 1, 2006
Citation: Herrick, J.E., Bestelmeyer, B.T., Archer, S., Tugel, A.J., Brown, J.R. 2006. An integrated framework for science-based arid land management. Journal of Arid Environments. 65:319-335.

Interpretive Summary: Science is frequently touted as the solution to dryland management problems, yet most management decisions are based primarily on expert knowledge and experience. This paper describes an integrated framework for organizing, synthesizing, and applying ecological knowledge using a flexible, multi-objective approach. The framework has two purposes: (1) to coordinate the use of existing tools, resources, and knowledge, and (2) to facilitate the integration and application of new knowledge as it is developed. The framework includes five elements: (1) an ecological, site-based approach for categorizing land based on soils and climate; (2) a repository for organizing existing data and knowledge about each ecological site; (3) conceptual models that organize information on the impacts of management and climate variability; and, protocols for (4) assessing and (5) monitoring key ecosystem attributes fundamental to a variety of management objectives.

Technical Abstract: Our objective is to develop a science-based management framework for arid and semiarid ecosystems. This framework must facilitate the integration of new knowledge about linkages among landscape units across scales. Science is frequently touted as the solution to dryland management problems, yet most management decisions are, of necessity, based primarily on expert knowledge and experience. This paper describes an integrated framework for organizing, synthesizing, and applying our growing understanding of dryland ecosystems using a flexible, multi-objective assessment, monitoring, and management approach. The framework is dual-purpose: (1) to coordinate the use of existing tools, resources, and diffuse knowledge, and (2) to facilitate the integration and application of new knowledge as it is developed. The framework includes five elements: (1) an ecological, site-based approach for categorizing land based on soils and climate; (2) a repository for organizing existing data and knowledge about each ecological site; (3) conceptual models that organize information on the impacts of management and climate variability; and, protocols for (4) assessing and (5) monitoring key ecosystem attributes fundamental to a variety of management objectives. Within this framework, basic and applied research are explicitly linked to management of arid and semiarid ecosystems to more effectively articulate research questions and set research priorities.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014