Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 10, 2012
Publication Date: December 1, 2012
Citation: Hardegree, S.P., Schneider, J.M., Moffet, C.A. 2012. Weather variability and adaptive management for rangeland restoration. Rangelands. 34(6):53-56. Interpretive Summary: Weather is a primary driver of rangeland restoration success. Restoration management plans, however, are usually prescriptive in that they are developed without considering the impact of weather. In this paper, we describe how weather information can be used to enhance rangeland restoration planning through adaptive management. This involves longer-term goal setting, collection and interpretation of site-specific weather data, and active response to partial success to maintain a positive trajectory toward a more desirable rangeland plant community. Adaptive management planning can be used to account for weather variability and develop longer term goals and strategies that will result in higher levels of restoration success. Restoration-specific weather information and management guidance are now available for access through the Ecologically Based Invasive Plant Management website at www.ebipm.org.
Technical Abstract: Inherent weather variability in upland rangeland systems requires relatively long-term goal setting, and contingency planning for partial success or failure in any given year. Rangeland plant communities are dynamic systems and successional planning is essential for achieving and maintaining systems that are resistant to weed invasion and resilient in the face of landscape-scale disturbance. Pro-active adaptive management may have to be implemented at the beginning of a given planning cycle in order to accommodate NEPA requirements for prior approval of potential management activities. Pro-active planning for weather variability is possible by anticipating management contingencies for alternative weather impacts on seedbed preparation, seeding, weed control, and other management alternatives. Success and failure must be weighed in the context of weather variability, and monitoring programs must be adjusted to accommodate weather-induced limitations to specific inferences about treatment effectiveness. Weather data is increasingly available and should be utilized whenever possible both in the planning and evaluation stage of Ecologically Based Invasive Plant Management. Links to weather data sources, gridded weather datasets, and other planning and management tools are available from the EBIPM website at www.ebipm.org.