Ecological science infrastructure for sustainability transformations in rangelands

TitleEcological science infrastructure for sustainability transformations in rangelands
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsBestelmeyer BT, Herrick JE, Brown JR, Browning DM, Densambuu B, Elias EH, McCord S, H. Peinetti R, Spiegal SA, Webb N, Williamson JC
Conference NameThe XXIV International Grassland Congress / XI International Rangeland Congress (Sustainable Use of Grassland and Rangeland Resources for Improved Livelihoods)
Date Published1/28/2022
ARIS Log Number397606

Sustainability transformations—deliberate and radical shifts in values, governance, and management regimes to achieve sustainability—are needed in rangelands as in other components of the Earth system. We review four concepts comprising an ecological science infrastructure to support such transformations. The foundation is standard measurement of rangeland conditions in the field, especially vegetation and soil properties that underpin the environmental aspects of sustainability. Big data resources, especially gridded spatial datasets produced by models and remote sensing, can be combined with field data and computational approaches to upscale information about rangeland conditions and produce additional indicators of ecosystem functions and services. State and transition models (STMs) linked to land types provide a means to interpret indicators and link interpretations to sustainable land management practices to manage change. Technologies for climate adaptation in rangelands also need to be linked to STM databases. Web and mobile technologies can put multifaceted science knowledge into the hands of pastoralists worldwide to support transformational changes in how rangelands are managed.