R. Douglas Ramsey
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Sagebrush Steppe Ecological Site Classification
R. Douglas Ramsey, Katherine Peterson, Alexander Hernandez, Neil E. West, Lisa Stoner, John Lowry, and Samuel Rivera, Utah State University, Logan UT
An Ecological Site is a distinctive kind of land, with specific physical characteristics, which differs from other kinds of land in its ability to produce distinctive kinds and amounts of vegetation and in its response to management. Ecological Site Descriptions developed for rangeland and forestland are basic components of conservation planning on wildlands. Proper management of natural Soil, Water, Air, Plants, and Animal (SWAPA) resources requires a knowledge and understanding of these ecological subdivisions and their dynamic interrelationship to each other on the landscape.
This project focuses on the improvement of ecological site descriptions (ESD) for Rich County, Utah and the comparison of ESD’s to current land cover conditions in Box Elder County, Utah. The improvement of ESD’s in Rich County uses a combination of potential land cover models coupled with field investigations and “paper correlations” to assign the proper ESD to soil map units as defined by the Rich County soil survey. The comparison of ESD’s correlated to soil map units in Box Elder County to current land cover conditions employs the current SWReGap land cover map as well as modeled distributions of current percent canopy cover of sagebrush, bare ground, juniper, and herbaceous vegetation.