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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #285850

Title: Ecosystem stewardship: good idea, but how?

item Bestelmeyer, Brandon

Submitted to: Wildland Shrub Symposium Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/12/2012
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Ecosystem stewardship and resilience-based management are admirable concepts that remain largely conceptual. Beyond a suite of general ideas, including linkages among ecological models, monitoring, stakeholder engagement, and social learning, there is not a replicable method to use the ideas in the management of real-world landscapes, including those in shrub-dominated western US. Shrublands face numerous challenges, including regional aridification, invasive species, energy development, and land use policies, so implementation of stewardship approaches is needed now if they are to do any good. We are working to develop a general approach for stewardship in shrublands and other rangelands, linked to existing, durable soil mapping databases already employed by federal land management and assistance agencies. The approach includes 1) definition of the focal landscapes and critical natural resource problems within them, 2) development of state-and-transition models and ecological site concepts for focal landscapes, 3) production of maps or site-level classifications of ecological states (land units that differ in management responses) using remote sensing and indicators, 4) design of management practices for individual or multiple combined land units, 5) implementation of a structured monitoring program using scientifically sound protocols, 6) cooperative interpretation of the evidence, and 7) updating the state-and-transition models and ecological site classifications within publically accessible databases. I discuss an example of this approach and argue that ecological site-based information alongside a suite of interlinked tools can serve as a basis for real-world ecosystem stewardship.