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Ecological Sites - Progress


In June 2018, all existing ecological site information was successfully migrated into EDIT and it became the official repository for new information.  The new database allows users to access information in a variety of ways and it allows developers to enter and manage new data much more efficiently.  The database currently houses more than 4200 ecological sites representing more than 60% of the U.S. land area.  In August 2018, there were more than 6000 visits to the database site.

Major Land Resource Areas with Ecological Site information available.



In 2017, on a pilot project basis, we began including all common land uses (crop, range, pasture, forest) in Ecological Site Descriptions, organizing interpretations for all major uses of land to allow users to compare changes in ecosystem services as land use changes and to provide a common basis for selecting appropriate conservation practices and evaluating impacts of management.

ESD land use decision tree.


2016Cover of Rangelands journal.

In December 2016, a special issue of the journal RANGELANDS introduced new ideas for organizing spatial and temporal information in an ecological site format.  This new approach demonstrates how ecological sites can be applied to improve landscape and regional management for a variety of ecosystem services like wildlife habitat, water quality, ecological restoration and carbon sequestration. 




In 2015, a Provisional Ecological Site (PES) initiative was established to organize, by 2020, all existing soil survey information across the continental U.S. into provisional ecological sites suitable to guide conservation planning decisions. Regional and field office soil and resource staff, working with traditional soil survey partners, organize existing information and ensure consistency in both descriptions and interpretations, and link to conservation planning software and training.