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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321864

Research Project: MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR CONSERVATION OF WESTERN RANGELANDS

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Monitoring protocols: Options, approaches, implementation, benefits

Author
item Karl, Jason
item Herrick, Jeffrey - Jeff
item Pyke, David - Us Geological Survey (USGS)

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/25/2015
Publication Date: 4/1/2017
Citation: Karl, J.W., Herrick, J.E., Pyke, D.A. 2017. Monitoring protocols: Options, approaches, implementation, benefits. Book Chapter. In: Briske, D.D.(ed). Rangeland Systems. Springer Series on Environmental Management. p 527-567. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-46709-2_16.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-46709-2_16

Interpretive Summary: Monitoring of terrestrial, riparian and aquatic resources is a critical step in the sustainable management of rangelands. Historically this monitoring has occurred on a few, small places that were thought to be representative of the response of larger areas to land uses - typically grazing. Uses of and disturbances to rangelands, however, are increasing dramatically, and this is occurring over the backdrop of global climate change. Over the past twenty-five years, developments in rangeland ecology theory, statistics, and technology have fundamentally changed how rangeland resources are monitored. We review some of the conceptual and theoretical advancements in ecology and changes in natural resource policy and provide examples of how they have influenced rangeland monitoring. Additionally, we consider advances in sensor technologies and remote-sensing techniques have broadened the suite of rangeland attributes that can be monitored and the temporal and spatial scales at which they can be monitored. We then discuss implications of these developments for rangeland management and highlight what we see as challenges and opportunities for implementing effective rangeland monitoring. We conclude by discussing topic areas that need additional research and technological development for rangeland monitoring in the future and lay out a vision for how monitoring can contribute to sustainable rangeland management in the future.

Technical Abstract: Monitoring and adaptive management are fundamental concepts to rangeland management across land management agencies and embodied as best management practices for private landowners. Historically, rangeland monitoring was limited to determining impacts or maximizing the potential of specific land uses – typically grazing. Over the past several decades, though, the uses of and disturbances to rangelands have increased dramatically against a backdrop of global climate change that adds uncertainty to predictions of future rangeland conditions. While the multi-dimensional monitoring needs for rangeland management must be reconciled with the harsh realities of the costs to collect the requisite data, conceptual advances in rangeland ecology and management over the past 25 years, driven by developments in ecological theory, and changes in natural resource policies and societal values have facilitated new approaches to monitoring that can support rangeland management’s diverse information needs. Additionally, advances in sensor technologies and remote-sensing techniques have broadened the suite of rangeland attributes that can be monitored and the temporal and spatial scales at which they can be monitored. We review some of the conceptual and technological advancements over the past 25 years and provide examples of how they have influenced rangeland monitoring. We then discuss implications of these developments for rangeland management and highlight what we see as challenges and opportunities for implementing effective rangeland monitoring. We conclude with a vision for how monitoring can contribute to rangeland information needs in the future.