|Herrick, Jeffrey - Jeff|
|SANDERSON, MATT - Retired ARS Employee|
|FULTS, GENE - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)|
Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/9/2016
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Resilient shifts into undesirable natural States (as described in State-and-Transition models) opens up opportunities for using agronomic practices to maintain the function of rangeland ecosystems as well as maintaining the provisioning of goods and services from these areas. There is a need for a method that can be used across sites and across grazingland types to assess and optimize management of all grazinglands, including rangelands and pasturelands. We present an Integrated Grazingland Assessment methodology that uses Ecological Site Descriptions (ESD) and uses Forage Suitability Group (FSG) descriptions as the standard for such grazingland evaluations. The Integrated Grazingland Assessment methodology takes the ecological strengths of the Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health methodology (Pellant et al. 2005) and combines it with the management optimization strengths of Pasture Condition Scoring (Cosgrove et al. 2001). By combining information found in ESDs and FSGs, this approach allows evaluators to assess site conditions and to make interpretations regarding management based on a standard method and site-specific attributes that can potentially optimize the ecological potential and livestock carrying capacity of a site. Standardized grazingland assessment and monitoring protocols based on ecological and land management principles will ultimately improve National level assessments, such as the National Resources Inventory, and will provide a valuable and efficient tool for assessing, managing and monitoring grazinglands.