Short-term rangeland monitoring in support of collaborative management of the Valles Caldera National Preserve

TitleShort-term rangeland monitoring in support of collaborative management of the Valles Caldera National Preserve
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsGonzalez AL, Maxwell CJ, Nolen B.
Conference Name57th Annual Meeting, Society for Range Management
Date PublishedJanuary 25, 2004
Conference LocationSalt Lake City, UT
ARIS Log Number163147
AbstractThe Valles Caldera National Preserve (VCNP) was established in July 2000 by the US Congress in order to “protect and preserve” the resources encompassed within its boundaries. A Board of Trustees was appointed to administer this land and facilitate cooperative management of this 90,000-acre preserve in northern New Mexico. This management is based on a set of ten principles that deal with protecting resources, advancing science, recognizing cultural interests, providing quality experiences to those who visit the preserve, and maintaining the ecological balance of the landscape. Additionally, the VCNP provides an affordable forage base for local producers. The USDA/ARS Jornada Experimental Range was invited to participate in developing a monitoring program for the approximately 30,000 acres of grazeable rangeland within the VCNP. In 2001-2002, 41 monitoring points were established for both short- and long-term monitoring objectives. The points were set up within four ecological sites: riparian, mountain meadow, mountain valley, and grazeable woodlands. The methods of monitoring were developed with several goals in mind: to be quickly done in the field and quickly processed, to be easily taught to the public, to be repeatable and to be tied to long-term monitoring. Using a paired-caged-plot method, data on production, utilization and standing biomass were collected for the June through September grazing seasons in 2002 and 2003 and will continue into the future. Monitoring data will be used to manage these resources and, specifically, to manage grazing by livestock and elk.