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Rangeland Assessment and Management Tools

This page provides information about tools for assessment and management of sagebrush rangelands. Over the past several years, there has been a proliferation of rangeland datasets and decision support tools, which provides new opportunities to use a wealth of powerful new data sources in decision-making. However, it also poses challenges in keeping up with an ever changing list of products, understanding their uses and strengths/weaknesses, and determining how they can efficiently generate actionable information to improve management outcomes.


Overview of Tools and Resources

  • The Rangeland Tools Diagram provides a simple visual depiction of selected commonly used and emerging tools for assessment and management of rangelands based on their management application and scale of use.
  • The SageCon Tools Navigator links to the primary decision support tools for rangeland planning in Oregon, including three tools for data delivery, development monitoring and mitigation siting in Oregon. The Navigator also links to other tools and resources available across the western US for decision support in sagebrush rangelands.
  • Example: A short Rangeland Pre-Assessment Workflow provides a suggested set of steps prior to conducting a rangeland condition assesessment. The four-page document walks readers through a set leading questions at multiple scales with the goal of improving the efficiency of the assessment process and effectively leveraging remotely sensed maps and other data sources.

Using Remotely Sensed Maps in Rangelands

collage of screenshots from vegetation mapsRemotely sensed maps have the potential to revolutionize rangeland management due to the large volume of spatially-continuous data depicting rangeland vegetation. In addition, many newer products map vegetation each year over multiple decades, opening new doors to efficiently evaluate trends over time across large landscapes. The links below provide practical resources to help users find, understand, evaluate and use maps in rangeland management applications.

  • A list of rangeland vegetation map products provides basic information about the various map products depicting rangeland vegetation cover. This list includes maps available in Oregon and throughout the Great Basin.
  • Guiding principles for using satellite-derived maps in rangeland management (Allred et al in review, Rangelands) outlines four guiding principles as a practical guide for how to integrate maps into rangeland decision-making.
  • See the short guidance document for evaluating and summarizing map products. More detailed guidance is forthcoming.
  • Example: The SageCon Invasives Initiative Geographic Strategy aids in planning proactive, landscape level management of invasive annual grasses. From the Invasives Initiative webpage, access the data and documentation, including a short Overview Document and a Management Guide describing uses by local managers and collaborative groups.

Threat-Based Land Management

Threat-based land management (also called threat models) provides a framework for land managers to efficiently identify, communicate and address the landscape-level threats of invasive annual grasses, wildfire and juniper encroachment in sagebrush rangelands. New technology has enabled mapping of threat-based ecostates across southeastern Oregon.


More Tools for Simplifying Complex Rangeland Landscapes

  • Ecological sites provide important information on site potential based on soil and climatic properties, but can be difficult to apply across large landscapes because they often occur at scales too small for landscape scale management. Disturbance response groups provide an efficient way of simplifying ecological sites based on their responses to natural or human-caused disturbances, allowing managers to simplify complex landscapes.

These resources were compiled by Megan Creutzburg, Institute for Natural Resources, for the Oregon SageCon Partnership. It was last updated in February 2021. Contact Megan at megan.creutzburg@oregonstate.edu with questions or feedback.

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