Monitoring data must be interpreted and used to track progress toward objectives. This interpretation should be conducted by those directly involved in planning and implementing management. This includes the landowner or management agency and the on-the-ground people doing the management. For livestock grazing management, this includes the permittee or the cow-boss. Monitoring data can help identify linkages among conditions, objectives and management within the management unit. It can be used as evidence to support decisions to continue or modify existing management. Monitoring data can also be used to validate goals and objectives. To summarize, monitoring data are used to:

  1. Consider the effects of management actions on resource and economic conditions and values.
  2. Consider the effectiveness of management actions in achieving objectives within the planned timeframes.
  3. Support management actions, or if necessary their modification.
  4. Periodically review the validity of objectives.
  5. Inform and educate resource managers for ongoing adaptive management.

Monitoring is an integral component of adaptive resource management and is not an end in itself. If monitoring data are not used for these purposes, rangeland managers are not managing properly. Successful management requires collection of high-quality monitoring data and appropriate interpretation of all data, including ancillary information (notes, photos, observations, etc.) within the context of the management unit.

Monitoring is an integral component of adaptive resource management
A curved measureing tape laying our the thalweg of possible water flow between hummocks in a meadow impacted by wild horse of livestock grazing.
Figure 43. For adaptive management to work, long-term monitoring must address risks, opportunities and objectives, while short-term monitoring must address strategies for management.
Swanson, S., Schultz, B., Novak-Echenique, P., Dyer, K., McCuin, G., Linebaugh, J., Perryman, P., Tueller, P., Jenkins, R., Scherrer, B., Vogel, T., Voth, D., Freese, M., Shane, R., McGowan, K. 2018, Nevada Rangeland Monitoring Handbook (3rd) | Chapter 12 - Interpretation and Use of Monitoring Data, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, SP-18-03

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A Change in the Ecological Understanding of Rangelands in the Great Basin and Intermountain West and Implications for Management: Revisiting Mack and Thompson (1982) Perryman, P., Schultz, B., Meiman, P. 2021, Rangeland Ecology & Management Vol 76, Pages 1-11
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Informational publication on various strategies for grazing management, such as targeted grazing, for fuel management, or with multiple grazing species.
Swanson, S., Voth, D. 2019, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, IP-19-02
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Andrews, A. 2019, Nevada Today