Long-term ecological monitoring

TitleLong-term ecological monitoring
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsHavstad K, Herrick JE
JournalArid Land Research and Management
Date PublishedOctober 1, 2003
ARIS Log Number148624
AbstractThe intent of long-term monitoring is to document changes in important properties of biological communities. At the least, a long-term monitoring system should be designed to detect long-term trends in three key attributes: soil and site stability, hydrologic function, and the biotic integrity of the system. There are four basic guidelines for developing integrated soil-vegetation monitoring systems for rangelands. These are (1) identifying a suite of indicators which are consistently correlated with the functional status of one or more critical ecosystem processes and/or properties, (2) selecting base indicator on site-specific objectives and resource concerns and inherent soil and site characteristics, (3) using spatial variability in developing and interpreting indicators to make them more representative of ecological processes, and (4) interpreting indicators in the context of an understanding of dynamic, nonlinear ecological processes. To the extent possible, indicators should reflect early changes in ecological processes and indicate that a more significant change is likely to occur. In addition to these guidelines, measurements included in long-term monitoring systems should be rapidly applied, simple to understand, inexpensive to use, and quantitatively repeatable.