The intent of this interagency monitoring guide is to provide the basis for consistent, uniform, and standard vegetation attribute sampling that is economical, repeatable, statistically reliable, and technically adequate. While this guide is not all inclusive, it does include the primary sampling methods used across the West. An omission of a particular sampling method does not mean that the method is not valid in specific locations; it simply means that it is not widely used or recognized throughout the western states.
Proper use and management of our rangeland resources has created a demand for uniformity and consistency in rangeland health measurement methods. As a result of this interest, the USDI Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and USDA Forest Service met in late 1992 and agreed to establish an interagency technical team to jointly oversee the development and publishing of vegetation sampling field guides.
The 13-member team currently includes representatives from the Forest Service, BLM, the Grazing Land Technology Institute of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Cooperative Extension Service. The interagency technical team first met in January 1994 to evaluate the existing rangeland monitoring techniques described in BLM's Trend Studies, Technical Reference TR 4400-4. The team spent 2 years reviewing, modifying, adding to, and eliminating techniques for this interagency Sampling Vegetation Attributes technical reference. Feedback from numerous reviewers, including field personnel, resulted in further refinements.