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Research Project: MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR CONSERVATION OF WESTERN RANGELANDS

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Improving the effectiveness of ecological site descriptions: General state-and-transition models and the Ecosystem Dynamics Interpretive Tool (EDIT)

Author
item Bestelmeyer, Brandon
item WILLIAMSON, JEB - New Mexico State University
item TALBOT, CURTIS - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)
item CATES, GREG - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)
item DUNIWAY, MICHAEL - Us Geological Survey (USGS)
item BROWN, JOEL - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)

Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/10/2016
Publication Date: 12/20/2016
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5695470
Citation: Bestelmeyer, B.T., Williamson, J.C., Talbot, C., Cates, G., Duniway, M., Brown, J. 2016. Improving the effectiveness of ecological site descriptions: General state-and-transition models and the Ecosystem Dynamics Interpretive Tool (EDIT). Rangelands. 38:329-335.

Interpretive Summary: State-and-transition models (STMs) are useful tools for management, but they can be difficult to use and have limited content. STMs created for groups of related ecological sites could simplify and improve their utility. The amount of information linked to models can be increased using tables that communicate management interpretations and important within-group variability. We created a new web-based information system (the Ecosystem Dynamics Interpretive Tool) to house STMs, associated tabular information, and other ecological site data and descriptors. Fewer, more informative, better organized, and easily accessible STMs should increase the accessibility of science information.

Technical Abstract: State-and-transition models (STMs) were conceived as a means to organize and communicate information about ecosystem changes and how to manage them. Information within STMs applies to ecological land classes, such as ecological sites, that possess similar vegetation states. The value of STMs for rangeland managers is in fostering a general understanding of how rangelands function and respond to management actions, thereby leading to more efficient and effective allocation of management efforts. STMs can play an important role in most steps of conservation planning.