Integrating soil processes into management: From microaggregates to macrocatchments

TitleIntegrating soil processes into management: From microaggregates to macrocatchments
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsHerrick JE, Whitford WG
Conference NameVIth International Rangeland Congress Proceedings
Date PublishedJuly 17-23, 1999
Conference LocationTownsville, Australia
ARIS Log Number105789
Keywordsecosystem health, indicators, management, monitoring, soil processes

Soil properties and processes are rarely considered in range management, or in monitoring or assessment of range condition. An implicit assumption of most management programs is that soil properties are correlated with vegetation, so it is only necessary to manage and monitor the plant community. However, most range managers recognize that the plant communities which could exist at a particular site fundamentally depend on soil properties, and that many of these properties are dynamic and respond to management. A reduction in soil organic matter content, or a change in its distribution (dynamic properties), are frequently cited as indicators of land degradation (Northup & Brown 1999a,b). There are numerous reports demonstrating relationships between soil properties and processes and the capacity of rangelands to support diverse plant and animal communities (National Research Council 1994) and plant and animal production (Elkins et al. 1986; Whitford et al. 1987; Whitford & Parker 1989; Whitford & Herrick 1995), and maintain air quality (Belnap & Gillette 1998) and water quality (National Research Councill993).