Linking ecosystem services with state-and-transition models to evaluate rangeland management decisions

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/314685
Title:
Linking ecosystem services with state-and-transition models to evaluate rangeland management decisions
Author:
Lohani, Sapana
Issue Date:
2013
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Rangelands are a major type of land found on all continents. Though they comprise around 70% of the world's land area, knowledge of rangelands is limited and immature. Rangelands supply humans with food and fiber at very low energy costs compared to cultivated lands. They are inherently heterogeneous, highly variable in time and space. Rangeland management needs to consider the impacts of long-term vegetation transition. It needs a conceptual framework defining potential vegetation communities, describing the management induced transition of one vegetation community to another, and documenting the expected benefits provided by the various potential vegetation communities. The most widely used conceptual unit in the rangeland discipline is the "ecological site". Ecological sites can be an effective unit that should respond to management consistently and can help managers understand the site's potential to meet human needs. A state and transition model (STM) brings ecological sites and their potential vegetative states together to build a conceptual framework showing the major causes of transitions between states of an ecological site and thus helping make adaptive management decisions. Within the STM there is a need for an indicator of ecosystem health. Ecosystem services can be important to evaluate alternative states. Ecosystem services do not pass through a market for valuation, though often the cost would be very high if, through mismanagement, the ecosystem is no longer capable of providing those services. Vegetation communities are constantly facing reversible or irreversible transitions triggered by natural events and/or management actions. The framework generated in this study is significant in using remote sensing to generate state and transition models for a large area and in using ecosystem services to evaluate natural and/or management induced transitions as described in the STM. This dissertation addresses the improvement of public rangelands management in the West. It applies geospatial technologies to map ecological sites and states on those sites, characterizes transitions between states and selects a desired state to manage towards based on a systematic assessment of the value of flows of environmental services. The results from this study are an evaluation of improved draft ecological site maps for a larger area using remote sensing images, a simplified state-and-transition model adapted to remote sensing capabilities to study transitions due to climatic events and management practices, and a constrained optimization model that incorporates ecosystem services and the simplified STM to evaluate management costs and conservation benefits. The study showed that brush treatment is the most effective management practice to cause state transitions. The highest increase in the high cover state was by 24%. Areas under grazing and drought show slow transitions from brush to grass and also after prescribed fire vegetation take at least two years to recover.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
ecosystem services; geospatial; management; rangeland; state-and-transition; Natural Resources; ecological site
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Natural Resources
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Guertin, David Phillip

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleLinking ecosystem services with state-and-transition models to evaluate rangeland management decisionsen_US
dc.creatorLohani, Sapanaen_US
dc.contributor.authorLohani, Sapanaen_US
dc.date.issued2013en
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractRangelands are a major type of land found on all continents. Though they comprise around 70% of the world's land area, knowledge of rangelands is limited and immature. Rangelands supply humans with food and fiber at very low energy costs compared to cultivated lands. They are inherently heterogeneous, highly variable in time and space. Rangeland management needs to consider the impacts of long-term vegetation transition. It needs a conceptual framework defining potential vegetation communities, describing the management induced transition of one vegetation community to another, and documenting the expected benefits provided by the various potential vegetation communities. The most widely used conceptual unit in the rangeland discipline is the "ecological site". Ecological sites can be an effective unit that should respond to management consistently and can help managers understand the site's potential to meet human needs. A state and transition model (STM) brings ecological sites and their potential vegetative states together to build a conceptual framework showing the major causes of transitions between states of an ecological site and thus helping make adaptive management decisions. Within the STM there is a need for an indicator of ecosystem health. Ecosystem services can be important to evaluate alternative states. Ecosystem services do not pass through a market for valuation, though often the cost would be very high if, through mismanagement, the ecosystem is no longer capable of providing those services. Vegetation communities are constantly facing reversible or irreversible transitions triggered by natural events and/or management actions. The framework generated in this study is significant in using remote sensing to generate state and transition models for a large area and in using ecosystem services to evaluate natural and/or management induced transitions as described in the STM. This dissertation addresses the improvement of public rangelands management in the West. It applies geospatial technologies to map ecological sites and states on those sites, characterizes transitions between states and selects a desired state to manage towards based on a systematic assessment of the value of flows of environmental services. The results from this study are an evaluation of improved draft ecological site maps for a larger area using remote sensing images, a simplified state-and-transition model adapted to remote sensing capabilities to study transitions due to climatic events and management practices, and a constrained optimization model that incorporates ecosystem services and the simplified STM to evaluate management costs and conservation benefits. The study showed that brush treatment is the most effective management practice to cause state transitions. The highest increase in the high cover state was by 24%. Areas under grazing and drought show slow transitions from brush to grass and also after prescribed fire vegetation take at least two years to recover.en_US
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen
dc.subjectecosystem servicesen_US
dc.subjectgeospatialen_US
dc.subjectmanagementen_US
dc.subjectrangelanden_US
dc.subjectstate-and-transitionen_US
dc.subjectNatural Resourcesen_US
dc.subjectecological siteen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineNatural Resourcesen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorGuertin, David Phillipen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGuertin, David Phillipen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHeilman, Philipen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberdeSteiguer, Joseph Edwarden_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWissler, Craigen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMcClaran, Mitchel P.en_US
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