Oklahoma City, OK, February 2, 2013

Collaborative ESD Development

The aim of this workshop is to:

  1. Outline principles of collaboration and standards of credible and useful ESDs and STMs.
  2. Showcase a variety of collaborative projects that contribute to ESD and STM development.
  3. Outline important considerations and resources available for ESD collaboration projects.
  4. 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

Workshop Posters:

Spokane, WA, January 28, 2012

ESD and STM Development Technical Workshop - at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management

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.


  1. Provide an overview of the history, concepts, and applications of ESDs and STMs.
  2. Provide examples of successful STM development using a variety of data sources.
  3. Provide training and access to tools available for accelerated ESD development.
  4. Provide examples of successful management applications of ESD and STM concepts.
  5. 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—jamin.johanson@ut.usda.gov

Workshop Advisors: Joel Brown, Linda Coates-Markle, Sarah Quistberg, Susan Andrews, Pat Shaver, and Shane Green

Part I: Ecological Site Concepts

Part II: ESD Development Tools and Methods

Poster Session

  • 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

Spokane, WA, January 30 – February 2, 2012

Using Ecological Site Descriptions as a Decision Making Tool Workshop - at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management

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.

Monday Workshop:

Tuesday Workshop:

Wednesday Workshop:

Thursday Workshop:

Billings, MT, February 10, 2011

ESD Development Workshop - at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management

ESD Development Workshop Information

Part I: ESD Implementation and Development

Part II: ESD Development Tools

Part III: Integrating Information to Enhance ESDs

Las Cruces, NM, November 16-18, 2010

Rangeland Interagency ESD Pilot Workshop

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

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

Denver, CO, February 2010

Climate Change and Potential Natural Vegetation - at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management

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.

Louisville, KY, January 28, 2008

State-and-Transition Models: Triggers, Feedbacks and Thresholds

The 2008 Joint Meeting of the Society for Range Management and the American Forage and Grassland Council

Albuquerque, NM, August 14-16, 2007

Riparian Ecological Site Description Workshop

Selected Key Terms, Stream Geomorphology - by W. Barry Southerland, Fluvial Geomorphologist

Part 654 - Stream Restoration Design - USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Park City, UT

Understanding and Improving Applications for Wildlife Habitat Management in Sagebrush Ecosystems

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

Corvallis, OR, August 28-30, 2006

State and Transition Monitoring Workshop

Las Cruces, NM, September 26-27, 2006

Integrating Soil Properties and Ecological Site Descriptions

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.

Las Cruces, NM, November 15-18, 2005

Ecological Site Description Development Workshop