State and Transition Models 101: A Fresh Look at Vegetation Change

TitleState and Transition Models 101: A Fresh Look at Vegetation Change
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsBestelmeyer BT, Brown J.
ARIS Log Number193049
Keywordsmanagement, rangelands, state-and-transition, vegetation change
AbstractState-and-transition models are part of a new framework for evaluating the condition of rangelands, anticipating vegetation change, and planning land management. Government agencies, scientists, non-governmental organizations, and ranchers are involved in developing this framework. Why should you care? First, a clear understanding of vegetation change is critical. It lies at the center of the conflict (and cooperation) with which many of us are involved. It affects our bottom line, our interactions with others, and our ways of life. If you have ever wondered why vegetation has changed the way it has, what it used to look like, or what it could look like in the future, then you could probably use a state-and-transition model (hereafter, STM). Second. it is important to realize that both new scientific and policy developments will be connected to the concepts underlying STMs. Even an Undersecretary of the Interior Department and the director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have publicly advocated the uses of STMs. The Nature Conservancy is also using STMs to prioritize conservation efforts. Alongside rangeland health, STM concepts will be part of the common language of natural resource management for years to come.