Ecological Site Descriptions Workshops and Presentations - 2011 to Present

February 2, 2013 Collaborative ESD Development Oklahoma City, OK
The aim of this workshop is to:
  1. Outline principles of collaboration and standards of credible and useful ESDs and STMs.
  2. Showcase a variety of collaborative projects that contribute to ESD and STM development.
  3. Outline important considerations and resources available for ESD collaboration projects.
  4. Create networking opportunities and generate discussion among ESD developers.

Lead Organizer: Jamin Johanson
Co-organizers: Joel Brown, Mark Moseley, Sarah Quistberg, Homer Sanchez, and Pat Shaver

Workshop Posters:


January 28, 2012 ESD and STM Development Technical Workshop - at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management Spokane, WA

This workshop is designed as an in-depth, technical training for those involved in the development of ecological site descriptions and state-and-transition models; particularly agency employees, contractors, and researchers with ESD/STM development responsibilities.


  1. Provide an overview of the history, concepts, and applications of ESDs and STMs.
  2. Provide examples of successful STM development using a variety of data sources.
  3. Provide training and access to tools available for accelerated ESD development.
  4. Provide examples of successful management applications of ESD and STM concepts.
  5. Create networking opportunities and generate discussion among ESD specialists.

Background: Individuals tasked with writing ecological site descriptions (ESDs) and state-and-transition models (STMs) often have difficulty obtaining and/or summarizing the information necessary to produce documents that are useful to management. This workshop seeks to review and build on the ideas presented at a previous workshop (Billings, MT 2011), with an added emphasis on the development and use of STMs for rangeland ecological sites. Part one provides details about the ecological site land classification system and new information about the ESD development process. Part two includes a brief review of the ESD development tools presented in Billings, a question and answer session, available downloads of ESD development tools, and a poster session for sharing new ESD development tools. Part three provides examples of STM development using common data sources of varying type, quality and quantity. Part four provides examples of innovative ESD and STM applications, including an introduction to riparian ESDs, user-friendly electronic ESDs, ESD-based field guides for pinyon-juniper woodlands, and an introduction to Forage Suitability Group Descriptions.

Note: This workshop is intended to facilitate communication among ESD development specialists. It is not meant to endorse certain methods, nor is it intended to set ESD development protocols. Rather, it is an opportunity to share ideas and build relationships in an effort to improve the accuracy and efficiency of ESD development. Many ESD and STM development methods are not presented at this workshop, and participants are encouraged to share their ideas and experiences with each other and with workshop organizers in a professional manner.

Workshop Organizers:  Lead Organizer: Jamin Johanson—

Workshop Advisors: Joel Brown, Linda Coates-Markle, Sarah Quistberg, Susan Andrews, Pat Shaver, and Shane Green


Part I: Ecological Site Concepts


Part II: ESD Development Tools and Methods

Poster Session

  • Sarah Quistberg, NRCS-Ogden, UT - ESD Identification Keys
  • Ryan Leary, BLM-Nevada - Ecosite Identification for BLM field staff in Nevada
  • Jack Alexander, President- Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. - Mobile Soil Survey
  • Ken Spaeth, NRCS-Fort Worth, TX - multivariate methods for STM development
  • Dave Evans & Dallas Glass, NRCS-Sonora, CA - AKVeg: strengths and limitations
  • Amber Dalke, University of Arizona - STM dichotomous keys
  • Colby Brungard, Utah State University - Ecosite predictive mapping


Part III: Available Resources for STM Development


Part IV: Alternative Applications of ESD and STM Concepts



January 30 – February 2, 2012 Using Ecological Site Descriptions as a Decision Making Tool Workshop - at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management Spokane, WA

Workshop organizers: Homer Sanchez and Pat Shaver

Purpose of the workshop: To enhance foundational knowledge, skills and understanding of ecological site concepts, classification and description; state-and-transition modeling and interpretations; and uses and application by agencies, land managers, conservation partners and consultants.

Monday Workshop:

Tuesday Workshop:

Wednesday Workshop:

Thursday Workshop:


February 10, 2011 ESD Development Workshop - at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management Billings, MT

ESD Development Workshop Information

Part I: ESD Implementation and Development

Part II: ESD Development Tools

Part III: Integrating Information to Enhance ESDs