The aim of this workshop is to:
- Outline principles of collaboration and standards of credible and useful ESDs and STMs.
- Showcase a variety of collaborative projects that contribute to ESD and STM development.
- Outline important considerations and resources available for ESD collaboration projects.
- Create networking opportunities and generate discussion among ESD developers.
Lead Organizer: Jamin Johanson
Co-organizers: Joel Brown, Mark Moseley, Sarah Quistberg, Homer Sanchez, and Pat Shaver
- Introduction - Joel Brown, Rangeland Ecologist, NRCS-Las Cruces, NM
- Acceleration of ESD Development - Mike Golden, Deputy Chief for SSRA, NRCS-Washington, D.C.
- Standards and Principles of ESD Development - Cameron Loerch, Soil Standards National Leader, NRCS-Lincoln, NE and Curtis Talbot, Range Management Specialist, NRCS-Lincoln, NE
- The Power of Collaboration - Jamin Johanson, Ecological Site Specialist, NRCS-Richfield, UT
- A Good Old-fashioned ESD Workgroup - Scott Woodall, Ecological Site Specialist, NRCS-Santa Fe, NM and Steve Daly, Range Management Specialist, BLM-Santa Fe, NM
- Getting More Bang for Your Buck: A Multiagency Approach to ESD Development in Missouri - Fred Young, Soil Scientist, NRCS-Columbia, MO, and Tim Nigh, Terrestrial Ecologist, Missouri Department of Conservation
- Military Ranching: The Value of Ecological Site Descriptions to Training Land Management - Mark Moseley- Ecological Site Specialist, NRCS-Boerne, TX and Lucas Cooksey, Senior Wildlife Biologists, DOD-Fort Sam Houston/Camp Bullis, TX
- North Dakota Riparian Ecological Site Description Development Project - Miranda Meehan, Natural Resource Specialist, Carlson McCain Inc.-Bismark, ND and Jeff Printz, Range Management Specialist, NRCS-Bismark, ND
- Evaluating the Outcomes of Prescribed Grazing on Wyoming Ranches: An ESD-based Approach - Emily Kachergis, Research Ecologist, ARS-Cheyenne, WY
- Montana Interagency ESD Work Group—an Example of Successful Collaboration - Mary Manning, Regional Vegetation Ecologist, USFS-Missoula, MT and Jeff Dibenedetto, Landscape and Vegetation Ecologist, USFS- Billings, MT
- Linking USFS Data and Classification Concepts to ESD Development - Brandon Bestelmeyer, Research Ecologist, ARS-Las Cruces, NM and Jeb Williamson, GIS Specialist, ARS-Las Cruces, NM
- STM Development: A Systematic Approach Focused on Quality Control - Tamzen Stringham, Research Professor, University of Nevada - Reno, NV
- Funding ESD Development - Ryan Leary, Range Management Specialist, BLM-Carson City, NV
- NRCS Operating Procedures and Resources for ESD Development - Susan Andrews, Soil Quality and Ecosystems National Leader, NRCS-Lincoln, NE and George Peacock, Grazing Lands Team Leader, NRCS-Fort Worth, TX
- Synopsis of Collaborative ESD Projects - Maria Fernandez-Gimenez, Colorado State University and Jamin Johanson, Ecological Site Specialist, NRCS-Richfield, UT
- Analyzing Agency Datasets Using the ESD Framework - Michael Duniway, Seth Munson, Jamin Johanson
- Working Together to Create Ecological Site Descriptions in Far West Texas: A Two Phase Approach - Michael R. Margo, Lynn E. Loomis
- Utility of Ecological Site Descriptions for the Management and Conservation of Endangered Species - Michael E. Marshall
- Spatial Modeling of Seedbed Microclimate and the Utility of Ecological Site Descriptions for Rangeland Restoration Planning - Alex R. Boehm, Stuart P. Hardegree, Nancy F. Glenn, Gerald N. Flerchinger
- Distributed Weather Tools for Interpretation of State‐Transition Probabilities in Disturbed Systems - Stuart P. Hardegree, Alex R. Boehm
- Riparian Complex ESD Development for BLM Allotment Management - Sarah Quistberg, Jamin Johanson, Mellissa Rosenhan
- Using Long Term Vegetation Data and Ecological Sites: A Strategy for Wildlife Management - Kevin Gunnell, Danny Summers, Jamin Johanson, Thomas Monaco
- An ESD Development Journey in the Elkhorn Mountains - Kirt Walstad, David Marr
This workshop is designed as an in-depth, technical training for those involved in the development of ecological site descriptions and state-and-transition models; particularly agency employees, contractors, and researchers with ESD/STM development responsibilities.
- Provide an overview of the history, concepts, and applications of ESDs and STMs.
- Provide examples of successful STM development using a variety of data sources.
- Provide training and access to tools available for accelerated ESD development.
- Provide examples of successful management applications of ESD and STM concepts.
- Create networking opportunities and generate discussion among ESD specialists.
Background: Individuals tasked with writing ecological site descriptions (ESDs) and state-and-transition models (STMs) often have difficulty obtaining and/or summarizing the information necessary to produce documents that are useful to management. This workshop seeks to review and build on the ideas presented at a previous workshop (Billings, MT 2011), with an added emphasis on the development and use of STMs for rangeland ecological sites. Part one provides details about the ecological site land classification system and new information about the ESD development process. Part two includes a brief review of the ESD development tools presented in Billings, a question and answer session, available downloads of ESD development tools, and a poster session for sharing new ESD development tools. Part three provides examples of STM development using common data sources of varying type, quality and quantity. Part four provides examples of innovative ESD and STM applications, including an introduction to riparian ESDs, user-friendly electronic ESDs, ESD-based field guides for pinyon-juniper woodlands, and an introduction to Forage Suitability Group Descriptions.
Note: This workshop is intended to facilitate communication among ESD development specialists. It is not meant to endorse certain methods, nor is it intended to set ESD development protocols. Rather, it is an opportunity to share ideas and build relationships in an effort to improve the accuracy and efficiency of ESD development. Many ESD and STM development methods are not presented at this workshop, and participants are encouraged to share their ideas and experiences with each other and with workshop organizers in a professional manner.
Workshop Organizers: Lead Organizer: Jamin Johanson—email@example.com
Workshop Advisors: Joel Brown, Linda Coates-Markle, Sarah Quistberg, Susan Andrews, Pat Shaver, and Shane Green
Part I: Ecological Site Concepts
- ESD interagency efforts - Dennis Thompson, NRCS-Washington, DC (with Dave Cleland, USFS and Bob Bolton, BLM)
- Assumptions underlying range sites and ecological sites - Joel Brown, NRCS-Las Cruces, NM
- Overview: assembling information to develop ecological site and STM concepts - Brandon Bestelmeyer, ARS-Las Cruces, NM
- Overview of the ESD development workflow - Curtis Talbot, NRCS-Lincoln, NE
Part II: ESD Development Tools and Methods
- Sarah Quistberg, NRCS-Ogden, UT - ESD Identification Keys
- Ryan Leary, BLM-Nevada - Ecosite Identification for BLM field staff in Nevada
- Jack Alexander, President- Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. - Mobile Soil Survey
- Ken Spaeth, NRCS-Fort Worth, TX - multivariate methods for STM development
- Dave Evans & Dallas Glass, NRCS-Sonora, CA - AKVeg: strengths and limitations
- Amber Dalke, University of Arizona - STM dichotomous keys
- Colby Brungard, Utah State University - Ecosite predictive mapping
Part III: Available Resources for STM Development
Part IV: Alternative Applications of ESD and STM Concepts
Workshop organizers: Homer Sanchez and Pat Shaver
Purpose of the workshop: To enhance foundational knowledge, skills and understanding of ecological site concepts, classification and description; state-and-transition modeling and interpretations; and uses and application by agencies, land managers, conservation partners and consultants.
ESD Development Workshop Information
Part I: ESD Implementation and Development
- Welcome and Introduction—Joel Brown, USDA-NRCS, Las Cruces, New Mexico
- National Implementation of Ecological Site Descriptions—Terrell Erickson, Director, Ecological Science Division—USDA-NRCS, Washington, D.C.
- Coordinating an ESD Development Effort—Homer Sanchez, USDA-NRCS, Fort Worth, Texas
- Interstate Correlations of Ecological Sites—Pat Shaver, USDA-NRCS, Portland, Oregon
Part II: ESD Development Tools
Part III: Integrating Information to Enhance ESDs
- Plant Growth Curve Simulation Tool—Jamin Johanson for Gale Dunn, NRCS-Utah for ARS-Fort Collins, CO
- Organizing and Interpreting Plant Community Data—Kendra Moseley, NRCS- Oregon
- Considerations and Development of the Hydrologic Function Section in Rangeland ESDs- Ken Spaeth, NRCS- Fort Worth, Texas
- Developing Ecological Site Keys—Kirt Walstad, NRCS- Bozeman, Montana
- Modeling Potential Distribution of Common Plant Species—Doug Ramsey, Utah State University- Logan, Utah
- Using landscape-level assessments of similarity to improve state-and-transition model development—Alex Hernandez, Utah State University- Logan, Utah
Link to Rangelands website with ESD meeting information and agendas - https://www. rangelands.org/ESD/
Tuesday - Workshop Day 1 - Target Audience: WO Leadership, Regional and State Technical Leadership, Point-of-contact Field-Level Employees
Agency Leadership - Significance of the Workshop
- NRCS - Michael Hubbs, Director of Ecological Sciences Division
- USFS - James Peña, Associate Deputy Chief (video link)
- BLM - Mike Pool, Deputy Director (video link)
A Collaborative Approach: The Value, Use and Applicability of ESDs to the Agency Mission
Agency Implementation and Needs -
What is an Ecological Site Description? Historical Development and Emerging Science (Brandon Bestelmeyer, ARS, NM)
The Science behind Ecological Sites. How can the current research and science contribute to the development of ecological sites and what are some emerging trends? The intent is to respond to morning presentations (above) by agency leaders
- Hydrology (Fred Pierson, ARS, ID)
- Modeling State Attributes (Mark Weltz, ARS, NV)
- Vegetation Dynamics (Justin Derner, ARS, WY)
- Invasive Species (Roger Sheley, ARS, OR)
- Opportunities for developing an interagency hierarchical approach to defining ESD's and addressing cross-scale interactions (Dave Cleland, USFS, WO)
Wednesday - Workshop Day 2 - Target Audience: Regional and State Technical Leadership, Point-of-contact Field-Level Employees
Principles of ES Development (broad overview of principles and approaches) - developing ESD concepts at the regional scale, grouping soil properties into functional units, developing State and Transition Models, testing, refining and correlating Ecological Sites (Brandon Bestelmeyer, ARS and Pat Shaver, NRCS)
Delivering the information - Case Examples of Success in the Field - Using Case examples……..identify utility and success of ESDs
Leticia Lister, BLM, NM; Judith Dyess, USFS, NM; Kenneth Alcon, NRCS, NM
Land managers, federal agencies, and international aid organizations often recognize management targets and degradation based on ecological potential, historical range of variation, or potential natural vegetation. This relationship has been codified in U.S. rangeland management via ecological site descriptions (ESDs). Climate change may dramatically alter potential natural vegetation in many rangelands. Unless ESDs can be developed to anticipate and accommodate climate change effects, they could rapidly become obsolete. On the other hand, ESDs could serve as valuable tools for understanding how climate change effects are mediated by soil-geomorphic properties and existing vegetation condition.
The 2008 Joint Meeting of the Society for Range Management and the American Forage and Grassland Council
- Current Status of the State-and-Transition Framework - Tamzen Stringham, David D. Briske, Brandon T. Bestelmeyer, Pat L. Shaver
- Variation in Ecological Resilience: A Fundamental Concept for Rangeland Ecology - Brandon T. Bestelmeyer, David D. Briske, Joel Brown, Kris M. Havstad, Rhonda K. Skaggs
- Resilience-Based Application of State-and-Transition Models - David D. Briske, Brandon T. Bestelmeyer, Tamzen K. Stringham, Pat L. Shaver
- Soils, Resilience, and State and Transition Models - Jeffrey E. Herrick, Skye Wills, Debra Peters, Arlene Tugel, Brandon Bestelmeyer
- Rangeland Health Indicators: Can they provide early warning signals? - David A. Pyke
- Resilience, Triggers, Feedbacks and Thresholds: A Western Juniper Model - Steven L. Petersen, Tamzen K. Stringham
- Winterfat in the Catlow Valley: Ecological Resilience and State-and-Transition Modeling - Casey A. Matney
- Vulnerability and Triggers in Threshold Development: Models from the Chihuahuan Desert - Brandon T. Bestelmeyer, Jeffrey E. Herrick, Caiti M. Steele
- Plant Community Dynamics in the Northern Great Plains - Recognizing the Impacts of Invasive Species - Jeffrey L. Printz, Stan Boltz
- Resilience and Feedbacks within A Deep Sand Savannah Ecological Site - Pat L. Shaver
- Geomorphic Stream Classification - W. Barry Southerland, Fluvial Geomorphologist, NRCS
- Riparian Workshop I, Geomorphic Components of Riparian Ecosystems - W. Barry Southerland
- Riparian Workshop II, Stream Classification Level II and Departure Analysis - W. Barry Southerland
- Riparian Workshop III, Departure and Potential - W. Barry Southerland
- Soils in the Riparian Complex, Incorporating Soil Dynamics into Ecological Site Descriptions - Kenneth F. Scheffe, NRCS
- Riparian Complex and Vegetation - Tamzen Stringham, OSU
- Channel Succession Riparian Plant Community Dynamics - Tamzen Stringham
- Vegetation Succession and Geomorphic Thresholds - Tamzen Stringham
- Ecological Sites in Riparian Areas - Bob Leinard, NRCS, Retired
- Issues With Riparian Ecological Site Descriptions - Brandon Bestelmeyer, ARS Jornada Experimental Range
Selected Key Terms, Stream Geomorphology - by W. Barry Southerland, Fluvial Geomorphologist
Part 654 - Stream Restoration Design - USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Following the workshop, there were many requests for opportunities to view the high quality presentations provided at the workshop. As a result, speaker presentations are now availbable at: https://rangelands.org/esd_presentations.shtml
We thank the speakers for their efforts at the workshop and their willingness to share their informative presentations.
Workshop organizers have also produced a "Synthesis of the Comments From the Breakout Sessions". This document can be viewed at: https://www.rangelands.org/pdf/esd_summary_recommendation.pdf
This was a meeting of the Interagency Ecological Site Manual Team and included participants from Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, ARS-Jornada Experimental Range, National Park Service, and Natural Resources Conservation Service. This meeting was hosted by Agricultural Research Service-Jornada Experimental Range, Las Cruces, New Mexico.
- Introduction to ESD Development Workshop - Brandon Bestelmeyer
- Overview, Organization, Components of ESDs - George Peacock, Dan Caudle - ESD: Contents and Data Requirements and Interagency Ecological Site Description Manual
- Steps in Producing ESDs: A Perspective from Arizona - Dan Robinett
- Step 1: Climate, Geomorphology, and Soil Development in Landscapes - Curtis Monger
- Paleoclimate - Curtis Monger
- Step 2: Integrated Map Unit Design: Defining MLRAs, LRUs/CRAs, Soil Map Units, and Ecological Site Development - Arlene Tugel - Ag Handbook 296 Land Resource Regions and Major Land Resource Areas of the US and Soil Survey and Ecological Sites: Integrated Map Unit Design and Interpretation
- The Relationship of Ecological Site Descriptions to the Terrestrial Ecological Unit Inventory (TEUI) of the Forest Service - Wayne Robbie
- Step 3: Vegetation Dynamics In State and Transition Models (STMs): History, Concepts and Examples - Joel Brown
- Beyond Plants: Indicators and Soil Surface Properties in STMs - Arlene Tugel
- Measurements, Calculations, and Database Storage and Retrieval - Laura Burkett, Brandon Bestelmeyer
- Vegetation and Soil Sampling for STM Development - Brandon Bestelmeyer, Dan Robinett
- Mock State-And-Transition Model Workshop: How to Probe Their Minds - George Chavez, Homer Sanchez, Brandon Bestelmeyer
- Developing and Using Ecological Reference Sheets Based on Rangeland Health Indicators - Arlene Tugel, Phil Smith, Homer Sanchez
- Resources and Strategies for ESD Development - Brandon Bestelmeyer