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Regional Interpretation

Introduction | Regional Interpretation | Rangeland Health | Non-Native Plant Species | Native Invasive Woody Species | Bare Ground, Intercanopy Gaps, and Soil Aggregate Stability | About the Data

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The National Resources Inventory (NRI) is a statistical survey of natural resource conditions and trends on non-Federal land in the United States. Non-Federal land includes privately owned lands, tribal and trust lands, and lands controlled by state and local governments.

The NRI rangeland results presented here address current conditions. In the future, the NRI rangeland survey sample will include revisited sites. These data will allow estimates for change in rangeland resource conditions to be made. Basic interpretations of patterns recorded for each of the three attributes of rangeland health (soil and site stability, hydrologic function, and biotic integrity) throughout the United States are provided. Interpretations rely primarily on qualitative assessments that were made relative to the land’s potential to support ecosystem services. Quantitative indicators are used to help interpret qualitative assessments, and the potential implications of these assessments for management. These quantitative data will serve as a baseline for future studies establishing trends.

The emphasis of the discussion is on those areas where the status of the land differed significantly from the expected status based on the land’s potential. A moderate or greater departure from potential was set as the level of significant departure. This emphasis is intended to facilitate a further assessment of where additional management resources may lead to improvements in land status. Lands with significant departure may have crossed ecological thresholds and therefore may not be sufficiently resilient to recover naturally from degradation.

An interpretation of general patterns in these data focuses on each of four regions of the western United States (Figure 1). These regions are defined based on similarities in ecosystems and/or results within them. An additional section summarizes results for sub-tropical grasslands in Florida, and annual grasslands in California.

Figure 1. Broad Regions Described in These Interpretations.

map showing broad regions

Select a region for the associated interpretation:

Great Plains Texas and Oklahoma Southwest California and Florida Intermountain West


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