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

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Measuring the effects of management on soil carbon and its bedfellows on ranches of the Americas

item Spiegal, Sheri
item MCINTOSH, MATTHEW - New Mexico State University
item HURST, ZACH - Texas A&M University
item Macon, Lara
item Browning, Dawn
item BROWN, JOEL - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)

Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2022
Publication Date: 12/1/2022
Citation: Spiegal, S.A., McIntosh, M.M., Hurst, Z., Macon, L.K., Browning, D.M., Brown, J. 2022. Measuring the effects of management on soil carbon and its bedfellows on ranches of the Americas. Symposium Proceedings. Abstract.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Ranching innovations designed to improve sustainability and climate resilience are multiplying, but comprehensive evaluations of their performance in all domains of sustainability are lagging behind. Given the lack of “silver bullets” in range management, stakeholder perceptions of what sustainability actually is, and which innovations help support it, are key for achieving sustainability goals for the long term. The Long-Term Agroecosystem Research Network (LTAR) is working with ranchers and their agrifood networks in North and South America to define core sustainability indicators while co-developing a web-based “peer-to-peer” database system for users to track how well their management systems are meeting their own benchmarks. Soil carbon and its many environmental, economic, and social co-benefits are a sustainability priority for many, but an ongoing challenge is measuring it reliably on the extensive, highly variable rangelands of American deserts. We will describe LTAR's stakeholder-driven indicator framework, the participatory LTAR Ranch Sustainability Performance Monitoring System, and cutting-edge science on estimating aboveground C and soil C using remote sensing techniques on arid rangelands. We look forward to discussing tradeoffs of management approaches among sustainability domains with experts across disciplinary borders at SRM.