Rangeland Ecology & Management

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Lessard, Veronica C.
Society for Range Management
Publication Year

The US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) conducts the National Resources Inventory (NRI) to inventory and monitor the conditions and trends of soil, water, and related resources. Since 2003, the NRI program has collected annual on-site data on a subset of its monitoring sites located on non-Federal rangeland to obtain more detailed information on those lands, using standard indicators and methods consistent with the BLM AIM strategy. The NRI Rangeland Resource Assessment, released in June 2014, is the second major report based on these data. Among the key findings, this report shows over 80% of the Nation's 409 million acres of non-Federal rangeland in the 48 contiguous states is in a relatively healthy condition and has no significant soil, hydrologic or biotic integrity problems based on rangeland health attributes. Non-native species are present on over half (53.8% ±1.0%) of the Nation's non-Federal rangeland. Invasive annual bromes are present on 30.1 (±1.0) percent of the Nation's non-Federal rangeland, cover at least 50 percent of the soil surface on 3.0 (±0.3) percent of these lands and make up at least 50 percent of the relative plant canopy cover on 1.7 (±0.2) percent of these lands. While mesquite species are present on 15.2 (±0.8) percent of the nation's non-Federal rangeland, they are present on only 4.5 (±0.4) percent in areas where they have not been part of reference conditions. Estimates for other quantitative data are reported for bare ground, inter-canopy gap size, and soil aggregate stability data primarily to establish a baseline for long-term monitoring. NRI grazing land on-site data provide a rich source of information for a wide range of uses. They are used as input and to refine the Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model (RHEM) and the Wind Erosion Model (WEMO), and are made available for use in developing and updating Ecological Site Descriptions.

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Conference Proceedings
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SRM Sacramento, CA