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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR ARID RANGELANDS

Location: Range Management Research

Title: A field guide to pedoderm and pattern classes

Authors
item Burkett, Laura
item Bestelmeyer, Brandon
item Tugel, Arlene -

Submitted to: Agriculture Handbook
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 15, 2011
Publication Date: July 1, 2011
Citation: Burkett, L.M., Bestelmeyer, B.T., Tugel, A. 2011. A field guide to pedoderm and pattern classes. Field Guide Handbook. Version 1.1. Jornada Experimental Range, Las Cruces, NM, 59 p.

Interpretive Summary: Pedoderm and Pattern Classes (PPCs) describe the soil pedoderm (i.e., the air-soil interface), the spatial arrangement (pattern) of plants potentially influencing the soil pedoderm, and evidence of soil redistribution. We developed the PPCs to provide a simple language to describe soil surface features and plant patterns much in the same way we recognize plant communities or soil types using standardized names. The class values provide a record of soil surface features and plant patterns that affect the site's ability to respond to management actions, restoration, and natural drivers. To date, obtaining information about these types of attributes has required highly technical and/or time-intensive procedures, so soil surface and plant pattern data have not been regularly collected. We developed PPCs to help remedy this limitation. This guide provides instruction about what the PPCs are and how to apply them.

Technical Abstract: Pedoderm and Pattern Classes (PPCs) describe the soil pedoderm (i.e., the air-soil interface), the spatial arrangement (pattern) of plants potentially influencing the soil pedoderm, and evidence of soil redistribution. PPCs provide a record of soil surface features and plant patterns that influence ecosystem function; they complement observations of plant community composition and soil profiles. In essence, PPCs provide a simple language to describe soil surface features and plant patterns much in the same way we recognize plant communities or soil types using standardized names. PPCs have categorical or ordinal values and are designed to be assessed quickly within field plots during inventory, soil survey, or when characterizing site conditions of monitoring plots. The class values provide a record of soil surface features and plant patterns that affect the site's ability to respond to management actions, restoration, and natural drivers. To date, obtaining information about these types of attributes has required highly technical and/or time-intensive procedures, so soil surface and plant pattern data have not been regularly collected. We developed PPCs to help remedy this limitation. PPCs closely correspond to several of the indicators described in Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health (IIRH; Pellant et al., 2005) and Landscape Function Analysis (LFA; Tongway and Hindley 2004). Unlike IIRH, PPCs are not based on deviation from site potential, but rather describe existing conditions. Furthermore, PPCs integrate observations of multiple attributes that are dealt with individually in IIRH and LFA (such as pedestals, water flow patterns, rills and coppicing) to arrive at a single class value. Thus, a trained observer can evaluate a site quickly without rating and interpreting numerous individual indicators. PPCs are especially useful when multiple observations must be gathered quickly over extensive areas.

Last Modified: 7/27/2014
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