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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383637

Research Project: Science and Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Western Rangeland Systems

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Adaptive monitoring in support of adaptive management in rangelands

item McCord, Sarah
item PILLIOD, DAVID - Us Geological Survey (USGS)

Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/6/2021
Publication Date: 3/1/2022
Citation: McCord, S.E., Pilliod, D. 2022. Adaptive monitoring in support of adaptive management in rangelands. Rangelands. 44(1):1-7.

Interpretive Summary: Adaptive management provides a flexible and iterative framework for identifying and addressing rangeland management concerns. This framework defines and facilitates the crucial processes of learning about the condition of rangelands, understanding how those conditions change in response to management actions, and revising management actions while considering new information and conditions. Rangeland monitoring is a key mechanism for learning about rangelands and supporting land management through time. Over the last several decades, scientists and resource managers have encouraged agencies, community groups, and operators to reevaluate their rangeland monitoring practices and to embrace contemporary ideals of standardization, statistical rigor and inference, and data management. New technologies provide emerging opportunities for gathering, analyzing, and delivering monitoring data to rangeland communities. As a result, there is increasing investment in coordinated national monitoring programs and elevated emphasis on multi-stakeholder monitoring. In this introduction to the special issue, we introduce the many aspects of contemporary monitoring to support adaptive management. We bring together scientists and managers to take the next step in the ongoing dialogue about the value of current monitoring approaches and contemplating the future of rangeland monitoring. Our goal is to prepare the next cohort of rangeland scientists and natural resource specialists for the future of adaptive management in our nation’s rangelands through the collection, stewardship, and use of monitoring data. The special issue covers a variety of topics, including: (1) lessons from university and professional monitoring courses for teaching monitoring to the next generation; (2) sample design tools to empower spatially balanced, survey designs; (3) strategies for incorporating meaningful qualitative assessments into monitoring protocols; (4) remote sensing products for aiding management decisions; (5) perspectives on leveraging vegetation monitoring data for wildlife habitat modeling and assessments and post-fire monitoring; (6) ways to engage community-led monitoring; and (7) examples from successful place-based monitoring and national monitoring programs.

Technical Abstract: Monitoring supports iterative learning about the effectiveness of management actions, information that can help managers plan future actions, facilitate decision making, and improve outcomes. Adaptive monitoring is the evolution of a monitoring program in response to new management questions, new or changing environmental or socioeconomic conditions, improved monitoring methods, models, and tools, and experience implementing the monitoring program . In this way, adaptive monitoring is connected to research and management through the exchange of data, analytical, methodological, and technological developments, information, and understanding. Here we review recent advances in adaptive monitoring and discuss new opportunities for both the research and management communities to improve monitoring in the years ahead.