New proposed National Resource Inventory protocols on nonfederal rangelands

TitleNew proposed National Resource Inventory protocols on nonfederal rangelands
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsSpaeth K.E., Pierson F.B., Herrick JE, Shaver P., Pyke D.A., Pellant M., Thompson D., Dayton R.
JournalJournal of Soil and Water Conservation
Date PublishedJanuary 1, 2003
ARIS Log Number141772
AbstractRangeland NRI activities in NRCS have provided scientifically credible information about status, conditions, and trends on nonfederal rangelands. The inventory process was largely qualitative in 1982, but evolved and included more quantitative field methods in 1992. Interagency efforts since 1995 have developed protocols for rangeland field inventory techniques that have been the quantitative foundation of rangeland science studies. The new proposed NRI protocols are designed to detect long-term (years to decades) changes in the condition on rangeland ecosystems, and monitor short-term impacts which may be of immediate concern. After establishing a sound field based dataset for rangeland PSUs, remote sensing and other quick assessment techniques could be used in interim periods for some indicators. The proposed NRI protocols contain a carefully planned mixture of quantitative and qualitative variables which the interagency group (NRCS, ARS, BLM, USFS, and USGS) have identified as being important ¿state of the art¿ measures of overall rangeland conditions. Field based inventories to assess plant composition, invasive and noxious weed trends, rangeland health, conservation practices applied and needed, identification of disturbances, and measures of canopy and basal plant gaps have been tested by the interagency group. Traditional NRI components such as percent similarity, apparent rangeland trend, and conservation treatment needs have been retained. In addition to the NRI objectives listed at the beginning of the paper, data from the proposed NRI field protocols could be used to further range science and provide more knowledge about interactions among environmental, soil, and plant variables, and management practices.