383-12 Pulling It All Together With Ecological Site Descriptions.
‘Ecological sites’ are a concept that has been traditionally used to segment rangelands into management units. An individual ‘ecological site’ is a specific kind of land that produces a characteristic kind and amount of vegetation and responds similarly to disturbance and management. Ecological site concepts are currently being expanded nationally into include all lands in addition to range- forests, wetlands, subaqueous soils and highly managed lands. Ecological site descriptions (ESDs) combine information about soils, geomorphology, climate, plants, and animals (ecological sites), as well as the ecological processes that occur and include state and transition models (STMs) and management guidance and implications.
Current research using ecological sites as a framework include efforts to: document change in landscapes affected by hydrocarbon development (oil/gas/fracking and the associated infrastructure), characterize outcomes in semi-arid rangelands after fire, climate change and other vegetation disturbance, elucidate management units for subaqueous soils, and organize dynamic soil property information by crop production and management regimes.