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Assessing ecological integrity using multiscale information from Bureau of Land Management Assessment and Monitoring Programs [Chapter 4]Author(s): Sarah K. Carter; Natasha B. Carr; Curtis H. Flather; Erica Fleishman; Matthias Leu; Barry R. Noon; David J. A. Wood
Source: In: Carter, Sarah K.; Carr, Natasha B.; Miller, Kevin H.; Wood, David J. A., eds. Multiscale Guidance and Tools for Implementing a Landscape Approach to Resource Management in the Bureau of Land Management. Open-File Report 2016-1207. Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey. p. 39-53.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
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DescriptionThe Bureau of Land Management manages 246 million surface acres (100 million hectares) across the United States for multiple uses and sustained yield. Ensuring protection of ecological systems in the context of multiple, and often conflicting, resource uses and values is a challenge. Ecological integrity and land health are terms used by the Bureau of Land Management to describe the condition of ecological systems. Ecological integrity refers to the ability of ecological systems to support and maintain a community of organisms that is similar in composition, structure, and function to natural habitats within the region. We present a framework and process for assessing ecological integrity in terrestrial systems that accommodates the multiple-use mission of the Bureau of Land Management and is designed to inform future management actions. The nine steps in the assessment process are specifying the management question, identifying target resources and key stressors, defining spatial and temporal scales of analysis, selecting and evaluating indicators, defining the natural and acceptable range of variation for indicators, collecting and analyzing data, reporting results, using the results to inform and evaluate management actions, and repeating the assessment. We illustrate the process through a conceptual example outlining how the ecological integrity of rangelands across the western United States could be quantified. We propose a suite of six field-based indicators and six complementary broadscale indicators to provide multiscale information on the composition, structure, and function of rangelands. Data on 11 of the 12 proposed indicators are already being collected through the agency’s Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring program. The framework and process presented here can help the BLM quantify ecological integrity to inform future planning and management actions in multiple-use landscapes.
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CitationCarter, Sarah K.; Carr, Natasha B.; Flather, Curtis H.; Fleishman, Erica; Leu, Matthias; Noon, Barry R.; Wood, David J. A. 2017. Assessing ecological integrity using multiscale information from Bureau of Land Management Assessment and Monitoring Programs [Chapter 4]. In: Carter, Sarah K.; Carr, Natasha B.; Miller, Kevin H.; Wood, David J. A., eds. Multiscale Guidance and Tools for Implementing a Landscape Approach to Resource Management in the Bureau of Land Management. Open-File Report 2016-1207. Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey. p. 39-53.
Keywordsecological systems, ecological integrity, rangelands, multiple-use landscapes, complementary broadscale indicators, multiscale information, planning, management
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