Weather and Climate Tools for Rangeland Restoration Planning and Assessment

    Weather and Climate Tools for Rangeland Restoration Planning and Assessment

     

     

    Stuart Hardegree, Plant Physiologist, USDA-ARS, Northwest Watershed Research Center, Boise, Idaho. stuart.hardegree@ars.usda.gov

    Rangeland seeding practices in the Intermountain western United States are typically implemented in a single planting season for the purposes of Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation (ESR) after wildfire. This necessarily links restoration and rehabilitation success to the probability of a single year providing sufficiently favorable microclimatic conditions for desirable plant establishment. Field research studies in rangeland restoration are also typically of limited duration and published results may not represent the full spectrum of conditions likely to be experienced at a given site. Location-specific and temporal weather-analysis may enhance the interpretation of historical planting data, support expanded inferences from short-term field studies, and facilitate meta-analysis of diverse field studies in rangeland restoration. We describe access and use of new databases and tools that can be used for this purpose, and suggest some standard graphs and weather metrics to establish a longer-term perspective for the interpretation of rangeland-restoration field results.

    Stuart is a plant physiologist with the Agricultural Research Service in Boise Idaho. His research has focused on characterization of seedbed microclimate and modeling seed-germination and establishment response of intermountain perennial grasses in competition with introduced annual weeds. His current interests include the development of weather and climate tools for diverse agricultural and natural resource modeling applications, but with specific emphasis on rangeland restoration and management.