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- Rangeland health determines the ability of rangeland to produce forage, protect the soil, and efficiently cycle water and nutrients in a state of biological diversity.
- Healthy rangelands can sustain a broad range of values and benefits. When range health declines, so do the values and benefits.
- Range managers use rangeland health assessments to ensure that grazing management practices are not damaging the soil, water or range resource and that management decisions are producing the expected results.
- Rangeland health assessments require a basic understanding about the plant communities and soils.
- Riparian areas provide a valuable source of forage, are critical for a healthy watershed, and provide a variety of other social and environmental benefits. Specific riparian area health assessment tools are available.
- Rangeland health assessments build on traditional range condition concepts, but add new indicators for assessment, particularly for soil and site conditions. Rangeland health assessments better address problems like irreversible changes in range condition and invasion of non-native species.
- Assessing rangeland health starts by examining the existing plant community for desirability, diversity and density. Grazing severity, soil erosion, litter residue, disturbance and noxious weeds are also taken into account in determining range health.
- Healthy range scores indicate good overall grazing management. Range assessments may still identify specific areas where changes can be made.
- Declines in range health scores alert managers to consider management changes, especially in areas that score lower in the assessment.
- Rangeland health scores should be used along with other management information including grazing days, AUM’s grazed, and residual plant height to assist in making sustainable and economic management decisions.
- Periodic photographs of specific range sites can be used along with or instead of other assessments. Photo points provide a quick, easy and inexpensive way to manage rangeland health, but do not provide a detailed assessment.
Looking at my Streambank- available in PDF format only
Looking at my Lakeshore- available in PDF format only
Beef Research School: Rangeland Health & Assessments - video format
Beef Research School: Assessing Rangeland Health - Low, Medium and High Grazing Pressure - video format
Range Monitoring with Photo Points - available in PDF format only
Rangeland Health Assessment for Native grassland and forest - available in PDF format
Rangeland Health Assessment for Grassland, Forest and Tame Pasture - 2003 version available in PDF format
Rangeland Health Assessment for Grassland, Forest and Tame Pasture - 2009 version
Let us know of good research papers for this topic.