About CEAP Grazing Land Assessments
Grazing land is a collective term for rangeland, pastureland, grazed forestland, native and naturalized pasture, hayland, and grazed cropland. Through CEAP, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) quantifies trends in voluntary conservation practices across the nation’s private grazing land.
CEAP assessments inform management decisions for a diversity of land managers and partners by highlighting the effects of conservation practices – and identifying where they are needed – with respect to factors such as plant productivity, soil erosion, and water quality. CEAP also provides tools, interpreted data layers, and other products for conservation planners, ranchers, and partners to use when considering the best solutions for healthy, productive grazing land. Details on the methods for CEAP grazing land assessments are available on the CEAP Frequently Asked Questions page.
CEAP Grazing Land Publications and Relevant Tools
Bibliographies, Articles, and Reports
- Conservation Outcomes for Pastureland and Hayland Practices: Assessment, Recommendations, and Knowledge Gaps, 2012 (40.9 MB)
- Conservation Benefits of Rangeland Practices: Assessment, Recommendations, and Knowledge Gaps, 2011 (25 MB)
Articles and Reports
- Multi-Temporal LiDAR and Hyperspectral Data Fusion for Classification of Semi-Arid Woody Cover Species, 2022, Remote Sensing
- Quantifying Watershed Scale Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) Evapotranspiration Effects on Streamflow Using the Long-term Water Balance, 2021 (6.4 MB)
- Accounting for Nature's Value with USDA-NRCS Conservation Practices in the Central Great Plain 2020 (26.8 MB)
- Simulating Spatial Complexity in Dry Conifer Forest Restoration: Implications for Conservation Prioritization and Scenario Evaluation, 2020, Landscape Ecology
- Grazing Lands: Progress & Impacts of Efforts Toward a Grazing Lands National Assessment, 2019, Rangelands
- An Effects Assessment Framework for Dry Forest Conservation, 2019
- Assessing Conservation Practice Effects on Grazing Lands, 2019
- CEAP Quantifies Conservation Outcomes for Wildlife and People on Western Grazing Lands, 2019
- Collaborative Approaches to Strengthen the Role of Science in Rangeland Conservation, 2019
- Evaluation of Ecological Site Classes and Community Classes for Regional Scale Modeling of Conservation Effects on Grazing Lands:
- Process-based Simulation of Prairie Growth, 2017, Ecological Modelling
- Incorporating Hydrologic Data and Ecohydrologic Relationships into Ecological Site Descriptions, 2016, Rangeland Ecology & Management
- The National Wind Erosion Research Network: Building a Standardized Long-term Data Resource for Aeolian Research, Modeling and Land Management, 2016, Aeolian Research
- Development of an Integrated Multiplatform Approach for Assessing Brush Management Conservation Efforts in Semiarid Rangelands, 2015, Journal of Applied Remote Sensing
- Rangeland CEAP: An Assessment of Natural Resources Conservation Service Practices, 2013, Rangelands
- A Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model, 2011, Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
- AGWA: The Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment Tool to Inform Rangeland Management, 2011, Society for Range Management
- Pastureland Conservation Effects Assessment Project: Status and Expected Outcomes, 2011, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
- Techniques for Assessing the Environmental Outcomes of Conservation Practices Applied to Rangeland Watersheds, 2011, Journal of soil and Water Conservation
- Wildfire and Invasive Plants in American Deserts, 2011, Rangeland Ecology and Management
- National Ecosystem Assessments Supported by Scientific and Local Knowledge, 2010, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
- A New Splash and Sheet Erosion Equation for Rangeland, 2009, Soil Science Society of America Journal
- Pasture Monitoring at a Farm Scale with the USDA NRCS Pasture Condition Score System, 2009, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
- Assessing the Benefits of Grazing Land Conservation Practices, 2008, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
- Responses of Plant Communities to Grazing in the Southwestern United States, 2006 (1.7 MB)
- Sustainable Rangeland Roundtable Core Indicators, 2006 (0.6 MB)
- Grazing Lands Assessment Fact Sheet, 2006 (1.5 MB)
Fact Sheets: Conservation Insights and Science Notes
- Rotational vs. Continuous Stocking Comparisons: Environmental and Wildlife Responses, 2015, (0.5 MB)
- Modern Sustainable Production Needs for Pasture and Forage Systems, 2014, (0.6 MB)
- National Trends and Resource Concerns in Managing Grazing Land Ecosystem Services, 2014, (0.1 MB)
- Livestock Concentration Areas on Intensively Managed Pastures, 2014, (0.2 MB)
- Water Quality Effects and Placement of Pasture Best Management Practices in the Spring Creek Watershed (Centre County, PA), 2014, (0.3 MB)
- Simulating the Effects of Brush Management on Runoff and Erosion on the ARS Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed, 2012, (0.4 MB)
- Simulating the Effects of Fire on the ARS Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed, 2012, (0.3 MB)
- February 23, 2023 – Sustaining Southeastern Forests: The Economic and Water Use Impacts of Privately-Owned Pine Woodlands and Restored Longleaf Pine Forests: Webinar Recording (Captions Available), Presentation Slides, and Additional Resources One-Pager
- December 8, 2022 – Reducing Woody Encroachment to Conserve Rangeland Production in the Great Plains: Webinar Recording (Captions Available), Presentation Slides, and Additional Resources One-Pager
- February 25, 2021 – Rangeland Analysis Platform: Integrating Production and Economics into Area-Wide Planning: Webinar Recording
- November 12, 2020 – Linking Ecosystem Service Values to Rangeland Practices in the Central Great Plains: Webinar Recording
- July 23, 2020 – Quantifying Restoration Outcomes in Frequent-Fire Forests: Webinar Recording
- April 23, 2020 – Conservation Outcomes on America’s Western Grazing Lands with NRCS’s Working Lands for Wildlife: Webinar Recording
The Rangeland Soil Vulnerability Index for Water Erosion Web Tool (rSVI-Water Web Tool) is an interactive, map-based tool developed by CEAP to support rangeland conservation. This tool may be used to assess the relative risk of water erosion for specific rangeland locations under dry, unvegetated soil conditions.
The rSVI-Water Web Tool provides map-based displays for rangeland in four geographic locations – the contiguous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. The rSVI-Water User Guide covers all geographic areas of focus and provides relevant soil data for each soil component rated with a soil erosion risk class.
Users may leverage this tool to identify rangeland areas that are susceptible to water erosion and implement proactive conservation actions before potential issues – such as rangeland health, soil stability, water infiltration, plant productivity, and invasive species – become problematic. The rSVI-Water Web Tool may also help assess if current erosion control practices are successfully targeting areas of concern.
Please note, access for this tool is being expanded. A new access link will be provided once available.
The Vegetation GIS Data System (VGS) provides a suite of software applications that allow users to record, manage, analyze, and report on natural resources data across multiple land types including rangeland, cropland, and forests. VGS was developed by the University of Arizona in partnership with USDA’s Forest Service and NRCS, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the Public Lands Council.
Users including field data collectors, data managers, and researchers may use VGS to collect and assess a range of vegetation-related metrics, including those affecting rangeland health and pasture conditions. VGS manages both qualitative and quantitative inputs, photos, geocoordinates, and support documents and performs background calculations to instantly display results. This resource leverages the entire NRCS Plants Database, and users may create their own unique species lists for locations of interest across the United States. VGS includes pre-loaded standard field protocols supported by NRCS, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and U.S. Forest Service, and others.
Visit the VGS website to learn more and directly access this resource with supporting materials.
CEAP Grazing Land Highlights
The below highlights represent recent resources and key findings released by CEAP on grazing land conservation efforts and outcomes. Visit this webpage frequently to see what's new, or browse the above publications to access a range of published resources from CEAP grazing land assessments.
Sustaining Southeastern Forests: The Economic and Water Use Impacts of Privately-Owned Pine Woodlands and Restored Longleaf Pine Forests
This Conservation Outcomes Webinar highlights the economic barriers and water use impacts of multiple management regimes in southeastern forests, including native longleaf pine compared to loblolly pine. The presenter is Chambers English, University of Georgia.
Conservation Effects Assessment Project – Grazing Lands: Progress & Impacts of Efforts Toward a Grazing Lands National Assessment
This special issue from the journal Rangelands was published in 2019 and features a suite of discussions and research articles related to the CEAP Grazing Land portfolio, with emphasis placed on progress towards a grazing land national assessment.
This tool provides a suite of software applications that allow users to record, manage, analyze, and report on natural resources data across multiple land types. VGS was developed by the University of Arizona with partner support, including from NRCS via CEAP.