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ARS Home » Plains Area » Mandan, North Dakota » Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #352103

Research Project: Sustainable Agricultural Systems for the Northern Great Plains

Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory

Title: Interpreting indicators of rangeland health, version 5

Author
item PELLANT, MIKE - Bureau Of Land Management
item SHAVER, PATRICK - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)
item PYKE, DAVID - Geological Survey, Ohio
item Herrick, Jeffrey - Jeff
item BUSBY, FRANK - Utah State University
item RIEGEL, GREGG - Forest Service (FS)
item LEPAK, NIKA - Bureau Of Land Management
item KACHERGIS, EMILY - Bureau Of Land Management
item Newingham, Beth
item Toledo, David

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/16/2020
Publication Date: 8/1/2020
Citation: Pellant, M., Shaver, P.L., Pyke, D.A., Herrick, J.E., Busby, F.E., Riegel, G., Lepak, N., Kachergis, E., Newingham, B.A., Toledo, D.N. 2020. Interpreting indicators of rangeland health. Technical reference 1734-6, Version 5. Colorado: BLM National Operations Center’s Information and Publishing Services. 202 p.

Interpretive Summary: Rangeland Health refers to the degree to which the integrity of the soil, vegetation, water, and air as well as the ecological processes of rangeland ecosystems are balanced and sustained. The most commonly used rangeland health assessment protocol on US rangelands is the Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health (IIRH) assessment. Version 5 represents a continuing effort by an interagency cadre to improve the use of and consistency of results when using this protocol. Version 5 features a series of improvements that include: •Improved usability & layout •Clarifies that the Reference Sheet is based on the historic disturbance regime in a reference state •Includes a “Checklist” to assist in developing or revising the Reference Sheet •Minor modifications to existing indicators •Revised Evaluation Matrix descriptors •Functional/Structural Groups Worksheet is improved and use is strongly recommended

Technical Abstract: Rangeland Health refers to the degree to which the integrity of the soil, vegetation, water, and air as well as the ecological processes of rangeland ecosystems are balanced and sustained. The most commonly used rangeland health assessment protocol on US rangelands is the Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health (IIRH) assessment. Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health was initiated in 1994 as a qualitative, rapid assessment technique to evaluate rangeland health. Seventeen field indicators are used to rate three attributes of rangeland health: 1) soil/site stability, 2) hydrologic function, and 3) biotic integrity. The published versions of this protocol are version 3 (2000) and version 4 (2005). Version 5 represents a continuing effort by an interagency cadre to improve the use of and consistency of results when using this protocol. The revision improves the development or modification of reference sheets and clarifies that the reference for conducting evaluations is the natural range of variability within the natural disturbance regime of the reference state. More emphasis is also placed on the functional/structural worksheet in conducting evaluations. This revision also supports linking qualitative and quantitative measurements, where quantitative measurements may also be used for baseline monitoring.