Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 12, 2010
Publication Date: October 13, 2010
Citation: Herrick, J.E., Bestelmeyer, B.T., Brown, J.R., Karl, J.W. 2010. Land health and ecological sites: application to land use planning and management. In: Memorias de I Congeso Internacional de Pastizales Chiapas. Tustla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico, October 13-15, 2010. pp. 48-57. Technical Abstract: Land health is a powerful tool for land use planning and management of croplands, forests, and rangelands. It is difficult, expensive and often impossible to assess and monitor the status of land relative to its potential to support each of these ecosystem services. However, there are three attributes of the land that reflect its capacity to support all of these services. These attributes include: Soil and Site Stability, Hydrologic Function, and Biotic Integrity. Applying the land health concept to land use planning begins with defining the land's potential using a land classification system (Step 1), assessing the land (Step 2), developing the plan (Step 3), developing early warning systems (Step 4), and adapting land use, often at different temporal scales (Step 5). Land use planning and management based on land health and ecological sites can improve the usefulness of land use planning. This approach requires farmers and technical specialists to work together to determine the land's potential and its current status relative to potential.