Proposed Natural Resources Protocols for Nonfederal Rangelands
Since 1995 the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has been working with other federal agencies (Agricultural Research Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Forest Service) to develop an interagency list of data elements that could be used for national level rangeland inventories. Prior to that, National Resources Inventory (NRI) activities were conducted by NRCS for over 20 years to provide scientifically credible information about status, conditions, and trends on nonfederal rangelands. During the last two decades the inventory process evolved from qualitative in the early 80s to more quantitative field methods in the 90s. Cooperation between government agencies that has occurred since 1995 has resulted in new protocols for rangeland field inventory techniques, thereby proving a quantitative foundation for assessing rangeland conditions nationwide. USGS rangeland ecologist Dave Pyke is part of the interagency group that has tested field based inventories to assess plant composition, invasive and noxious weed trends, rangeland health, conservation practices, disturbance identification, canopy and basal plant gaps for use in rangeland hydrologic and erosion models, and soil stability. Data from the proposed NRI field protocols could be used to further rangeland science and provide more information about how environmental, soil, and plant variables interact as well as more knowledge about management practices.
Spaeth, K.E., Pierson, F.B., Herrick, J.E., Shaver, P.L., Pyke, D.A., Pellant, M., Thompson, D., Dayton, B., 2003, New proposed national resources inventory protocols on nonfederal rangelands: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, v. 58, no. 1, p. 18A-21A. [Details]