MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR ARID RANGELANDS
Location: Range Management Research
Title: Monitoring and assessing global impacts of roads and off-road vehicle traffic
Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2009
Publication Date: February 7, 2010
Citation: Herrick, J.E., Duniway, M.C., Karl, J.W., Van Zee, J.W. 2010. Monitoring and assessing global impacts of roads and off-road vehicle traffic [abstract]. 63rd Society for Range Management Annual Meeting, February 7-11, 2010, Denver, Colorado. O-166.
Rapid increases in the number of vehicles, urban sprawl, exurban development and infrastructure development for energy and water have led to dramatic increases in both the size and extent of the global road network. Anecdotal evidence suggests that off-road vehicle traffic has also increased in many areas, particularly in parts of many developing countries where the road network is non-existent or poorly maintained. The impacts of roads, road networks and off-road vehicle traffic on rangelands have received little attention. This is in part due to the complexity of monitoring and assessing their effects on rangeland health and productivity, including hydrology and wildlife populations, across multiple spatial scales. We briefly review current challenges, and present new strategies for applying new and existing tools to monitoring and assessment of road and off-road vehicle impacts at multiple spatial scales. Tools include an adaptation of Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health, LIDAR, laser rangefinders, various types of penetrometers and a checklist for describing hydrologic. We illustrate the application of these tools with examples from a several pilot studies on unpaved road networks in the United States and Mongolia. We conclude by showing how currently available online programs can be used to help design cost-effective monitoring and assessment systems to answer specific questions about road impacts at multiple spatial scales.