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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #338468


Location: Range Management Research

Title: Using ecological site information to improve landscape management for ecosystem services

item Brown, Joel - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)
item Havstad, Kris

Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/10/2016
Publication Date: 12/20/2016
Publication URL:
Citation: Brown, J., Havstad, K.M. 2016. Using ecological site information to improve landscape management for ecosystem services. Rangelands. 38:318-321.

Interpretive Summary: Ecological sites and their component state-and-transition models are valuable tools for predicting the effects of climatic and management changes on a variety of ecosystem services. Site-specific information must be able to be both refined to finer scales to account for spatiotemporal variability within a mapped site and expanded to include interactions with other sites in the landscape to identify priorities and account for integrative disturbances and ecosystem services such as wildlife habitat, hydrology, fire, insect outbreak and invasive species. Ecological site groups, spatially contiguous and behaviorally similar, are an important level in the land hierarchy to organize and interpret information.

Technical Abstract: People and their societies, have a complicated relationship with land. The unofficial patron saint of ecologists, Aldo Leopold, in “The Sand County Almanac,” traced the modern human relationship with land from a purely economic to an ecologically based approach, culminating in his “ Land Ethic.” In this ground-breaking and influential essay, Leopold proposed that “a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it.”  The main idea embodied in this essay was that good land management was an individual and community responsibility that transcended pure economics. While Leopold focused primarily on the cooperative nature of the human relationship to land, a secondary, but just as important, part of the essay was that “The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants and animals, or collectively, the land."