A cost-effective soil and vegetation monitoring protocol for adaptive management

TitleA cost-effective soil and vegetation monitoring protocol for adaptive management
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsHerrick JE, Rango A., Havstad K
Conference NameProceedings of the VIIth International Range Congress
Date PublishedJuly 26-August 1
Conference LocationDurban, South Africa
ARIS Log Number153194
Keywordsadaptive management, cost-effective, monitoring protocol, soil, vegetation
AbstractRangeland monitoring is frequently limited by high costs and low relevance to management. Furthermore, most protocols continue to focus on the average status of a single ecosystem property, such as forage production, while our evolving understanding of nonequilibrium dynamics and local threshold responses require information on how complex ecosystem processes vary across the landscape over time (National Research Council 1994; Society for Range Management 1995). We describe a simple, quantitative monitoring protocol designed to be used in conjunction with state and transition models to increase management effectiveness at multiple spatial and temporal scales (Herrick et al. 2003). The protocol integrates ground-based soil and vegetation measurements with simple remote sensing technologies (e.g., aerial photographs). This approach allows relatively large areas to be monitored while focusing most of the effort on those areas with the highest probability of change. The protocol also clearly distinguishes between long-term and short-term indicators. Long-term indicators are used to monitor relatively persistent management effects, while short-term indicators are used to adjust management on a daily to seasonal basis.