Jones, M.O., D.E. Naugle, D. Twidwell, D.R.
Uden, J.D. Maestas, and B.W. Allred. 2020.
Beyond inventories: Emergence of a new era in
rangeland monitoring. Rangeland Ecology andManagement 73:577–583.
In the absence of technology-driven monitoring platforms, US policies, management practices, and outcome assessments have been primarily informed by the extrapolation of local information from national-scale rangeland inventories. A persistent monitoring gap between plot-level inventories and the scale at which rangeland assessments are conducted has required decision makers to fill data gaps with statistical extrapolations or assumptions of homogeneity and equilibrium. This gap is now being bridged with spatially comprehensive, annual, rangeland monitoring data across all western US rangelands to assess vegetation conditions at a resolution appropriate to inform cross-scale assessments and decisions. In this paper, 20-yr trends in plant functional type cover are presented, confirming two widespread national rangeland resource concerns: widespread increases in annual grass cover and tree cover. Rangeland vegetation monitoring is now available to inform national to regional policies and provide essential data at the scales at which decisions are made and implemented.