Quantitative monitoring to detect trends in achieving resource management objectives is the foundation for the adaptive management process. Trend is the direction of change in an attribute as observed over time (SRM 1998) so by definition requires repeated measures over time. Kenneth Parker recognized that ecologic knowledge has been useful to the range manager in the estimation of resource trends to evaluate management practices (Parker 1954). Parker developed the Parker 3-step method to provide a means for obtaining and interpreting data records of vegetation and soil factors on designated grazing allotments within National Forest system lands. These are the longest term monitoring data sets recording plant and soil dynamics on rangelands in the Southwestern Region of the Forest Service. The challenge today is how to reconcile current ecological monitoring and concepts with those of the past to maintain the value of historical data sets. This paper discusses the Parker 3-step Method and suggests potential application for interpretation and analysis in conjunction with current rangeland ecological analyses. It will briefly present the historical development of the method, an overview and perspectives on the use of the data, and discuss current applications for the data.
Rangeland Monitoring and the Parker 3-Step Method: Overview, Perspectives and Current Applications
The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arizona Cooperative Extension