Future directions: Using ESD's for assessment, monitoring and decision making

TitleFuture directions: Using ESD's for assessment, monitoring and decision making
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsHerrick JE, Tugel A.J.
Conference NameNational Cooperative Soil Survey Conference, Committee 2 (Ecological Interpretations and Principles)
Date PublishedJune 16-20, 2003
Conference LocationPlymouth, MA
ARIS Log Number159619
AbstractSeven conclusions relevant to assessing and monitoring soil change can be drawn from developing these two protocols: (1) Emphasize properties important for ecosystem function and sensitive to a wide variety of uses, rather than those most sensitive to a particular land use. Individual land uses may no longer exist 100 or even 20 years from now and new ones will be developed. (2) Emphasize qualitative indicators for assessment and qualitative indicators for monitoring. (3) Include both current status and early warning indicators that reflect a change in the capacity of the system to resist (resistance) and recover from (resilience) degradation. (4) Use the cover, composition, condition and spatial distribution of vegetation to generate more cost-effective indicators that are potentially correlated with remote sensing indicators. (5) Generate reference data for a group of soils (ecological site) with a similar potential to conserve soil, capture and release water, and support plant communities that are resistant and resilient to degradation. (6) Use the threshold concept to help focus limited resources on those areas with the highest probability of relatively irreversible change. (7) Apply the following criteria to measurement and indicator selection: (a) clearly related to the properties and processes they are intended to reflect, (b) easy to measure repeatedly, ideally in the field, (c) minimal time is needed to complete the number of measurements required to detect a functionally significant difference at a specified level of statistical precision. Research and applied trials are clearly needed to address all three criteria. Additionally, because ecological site potential is defined as a function of climate and (relatively) static soil properties, we need to develop a better understanding of (1) the effects of spatial variability in relatively static soil properties on relatively dynamic soil properties, and (2) the effects of interactions between different soil properties (static/dynamic) and climate on ecological processes. This requires reference data for both relatively static and dynamic soil properties.