Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Tucson, Arizona » SWRC » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #393112

Research Project: Understanding Water-Driven Ecohydrologic and Erosion Processes in the Semiarid Southwest to Improve Watershed Management

Location: Southwest Watershed Research Center

Title: Subpart G - Rangeland Ecohydrology. In: National Range and Pasture Handbook, Handbook

item SPAETH, K.E. - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)
item WELTZ, M.A. - Retired ARS Employee
item Williams, Christopher - Jason
item Pierson Jr, Frederick

Submitted to: Agriculture Handbook
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2022
Publication Date: 9/22/2022
Citation: Spaeth, K.E., Weltz, M.A., Williams, J., and Pierson, F. 2022. Subpart G - Rangeland Ecohydrology. In: National Range and Pasture Handbook, Handbook Number 645, US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 645-G.1-645-G-R.29.

Interpretive Summary: Rangeland ecosystems provide many ecosystem services including conservation of water and soil resource. Sound management of rangelands requires understanding of key relations between vegetation, soils, climate, and hydrologic processes. This text reviews foundational principles for understanding these relationships as related to rangeland conservation/restoration planning and management. Concepts presented herein thereby provide private and public land managers a basis for understanding and discussing rangeland hydrologic responses to management.

Technical Abstract: Rangeland hydrology is founded on basic biological and physical principles and is a specialized branch of science, which studies land use effects on infiltration, runoff, and sedimentation in natural and reconstructed rangeland ecosystems. Water is the main driving and limiting factor on rangelands. Hydrology is an important element of consideration and discussion with rangeland producers and landowners during planning and implementation of rangeland management practices. The term “Ecohydrology” is a relatively new term, which integrates ecology with hydrology and focuses on the water cycle as influenced by biotic and other environmental factors. Ecohydrology considers the complex interactions between climate, soils, vegetation, disturbance, and management. By developing a basic understanding of how hydrologic processes are affected by vegetation, soil properties, climatic events, management practices, and disturbances such as grazing and fire, one can integrate biophysical processes in discussions on rangeland conservation issues with land users and address key environmental and management questions. This publication reviews concepts in rangeland ecohydrology and thereby provides the reader a basis for understanding and discussing hydrologic responses to rangeland use, management, and disturbances.