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Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health

Intended Applications:
This was the weirdest Dont Try This at Home Message ever. It basically said these are just theoretical ideas and that you shouldnt do interpret indicators of rangeland health if youre not an experienced expert. There goes my weekend

The science of assessing rangeland health has been advanced as an alternative to assessing rangeland condition, but the term health has become controversial. (Ecologists dont like the h word because it has varying definitions) The National Research Council defined it as The degree to which the integrity of the soil and ecological processes of rangeland ecosystems are maintained The Society for Range Management said the assessments should focus on the maintenance of soil at the site. Their definition is The degree to which the integrity of the soil, vegetation, water, and air, as well as the ecological processes of the rangeland are balanced and sustained. And then if you dont know what integrity means in this context, they define it as maintenance of the functional attributes characteristic of a locale, including normal variability. This document provides the protocol to Asses the health of rangelands. Sometimes they use quantitative factors (numbers) and sometimes they use qualitative (descriptions)

Attributes of Rangeland Health

Ecological processes include the water cycle, energy flow (conversion of sunlight to plant and then animals) and nutrient cycle (cycle of nutrients through the physical and biotic processes and site integrity.

The product of this qualitative assessment is not a single rating of rangeland health but an assessment of three components called attributes. o Site/Soil Stability: The capacity of an area to limit redistribution and loss of soil resources (including nutrients and organic matter) by wind and water o Hydrologic Function: The capacity of an area to capture, store, and safely release water from rainfall, run-on and snowmelt to resist a reduction in this capacity and to recover this capacity when a reduction does occur. o Biotic Integrity: The capacity of the biotic community to support ecological processes within the normal range of variability expected for the site to resist a loss in the capacity to support these processes and to recover this capacity when losses do occur. The biotic community includes plants, animals and microorganisms occurring both above and below ground.

Things you have to look for: o Landscape Relations o Spatial Extrapolation o Natural Range of Variability o Resistance and Resilience o Indicators o States, Transitions, and Disturbances,