Actual Use - Documentation of livestock use and management in a pasture, or a use area within a pasture, through each year and through the years. It contains dates; and numbers of livestock put into each pasture, gathered, or moved; notes about partial removals, and death losses. It may also include information about grazing problems involving water or livestock distribution, salting records, forage conditions or other important matters. Actual use concepts can be tracked and applied to wild horses and other large herbivores.

Adaptive management - The continual process of adjusting management based on a changing management situation and learning from experiences as tracked through monitoring and research. It often involves management for the purpose of learning to improve future management. (See Appendix D.)

AIM — Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring - A strategy, method, and set of data collected by BLM learning about rangeland vegetation and soils conditions.

ANOVA — Analysis of variance - A statistical analysis tool for understanding sampling data and interpreting the probability of  treatment(s) effects, random error, etc.

Anthesis - The period of opening of a flower, e.g., when anthers are visible on some grasses.

Apparent trend - An interpretation of trend based on observation and professional judgment at a single point in time (Bedell 1998).

Assessment - The systematic collection of resource and condition data and its interpretation so that managers can learn about resource potentials, important problems, and the resource attributes in play for making changes to address issues (BLM Handbook  4180-1).

BLM — Bureau or Land Management

Climate - How the atmosphere behaves (e.g. averages and record highs, lows, and durations) over relatively long periods of time (many years).

Colonizer - A plant adapted to begin growth on recently deposited sediments or on recently disturbed areas (Winward 2000). Syn. pioneering/colonizing riparian vegetation (Dickard et al. 2015).

Community - A general term for an assemblage of plants and/or animals living together and interacting among themselves in a specified location; no particular successional status is implied (Bedell 1998).

Community type - A group of species that characteristically occur together and become recognizable as a known entity. A community type may represent any stage in succession.

Composition - The proportions (percentages) of various plant species in relation to the total on a given area. It may be expressed in terms of cover, density, weight, etc. Syn. species composition

Cover - The proportion of the soil surface covered by a vertical projection of the cover class of interest, regardless of what is above or below the object: plant parts (foliar cover), plant bases (basal cover), litter (litter cover), lichens, mosses, duff, etc. The opposite of bare ground (Herrick et al. 2005b)

Cover - basal - The area or percent of the ground surface occupied by the root crown part of live vegetation.

Cover - canopy or crown - The percentage of ground covered by a vertical projection of the outermost perimeter of the natural spread of foliage of plants. Small openings within the canopy are included. It may exceed 100% (because the canopies of different species may overlap). (Bedell 1998)

Cover - foliar - The percentage of ground covered by the vertical projection of the aerial part of plants. Small openings in the canopy and intra-specific overlap are excluded. Foliar cover is less than canopy cover and may exceed 100% (Bedell 1998)

Cover - ground - The percentage of material, other than bare ground, covering the land surface. It may include live and standing dead vegetation, litter, cobble, gravel, stones, and bedrock. Ground cover plus bare ground would total 100%. Syn. cover (Bedell 1998)

Critical areas - Those areas that must be treated with special consideration because of inherent site factors, size, location, conditions, values, or significant potential conflicts among uses (Bedell 1998).  Critical areas represent only smaller parts of management units that are more important to managers, such as riparian areas or specific places in riparian areas where there is a need to focus management and monitoring.

CV — Coefficient of variation - A relative measure of variability.

Decreaser - For a given plant community, those species that decrease in amount as a result of a specific abiotic/biotic influence or management practice (Bedell 1998).

Density - Numbers of individuals or stems per unit area. Density does not equate to any cover measurement (Bedell 1998).

Designated Monitoring Area (DMA) - The location in riparian areas and along the streambanks of a livestock grazing management unit where monitoring takes place (Burton et al. 2011).

Desired Future Conditions (DFC) - A quantitative expression of the resource attributes such as vegetation, soil, or water identified in management goals or objectives.  It usually focuses on important and attainable differences from current conditions in an area or on important resource attributes that could be lost or altered through management. DFC is similar to DPC but has a broader perspective including other measurable resource attributes or features in addition to the vegetation resource (e.g., channel width, width-depth ratio, etc.).

Desired plant community (DPC) - Of the several plant communities that may occupy a site, the one that has been identified through a management plan to best meet the plan’s objectives for the site (Bedell 1998). It may be described as dynamic, changing through time, or within a range of variability.

Disturbance response groups (DRGs) - are groupings of similar ecological sites that respond similarly to disturbances (fire, grazing, drought, insects, flooding, etc.). DRGs capture a broader range of ecological similarity than ecological sites and can be used to plan management or reduce the amount of monitoring sites needed (Stringham et al. 2016).

DMA — Designated monitoring area - A representative area selected for riparian monitoring.

DRG — Disturbance Response Group - A grouping of similarly behaving ecological sites.

Drought - (1) A period of abnormally dry weather sufficiently prolonged for the lack of water to cause serious hydrologic imbalance in the affected area. (2) A prolonged chronic shortage of water, as compared to the norm, often associated with high temperatures and winds during spring, summer, and fall. (3) A period without precipitation during which the soil water content is reduced to such an extent that plants suffer from lack of water (Bedell 1998).

Droop Height - The height of a grass or forb measured from the ground to the point where the plant naturally bends (maximum natural height). There may be no droop to some plants with relatively short stature (Connelly et al. 2003)

EA — Environmental assessment - A document for describing and sharing environmental effects of proposed actions by federal agencies under NEPA.

Ecological site - A conceptual division of the landscape that is defined as a distinctive kind of land based on recurring soil, landform, geological, and climate characteristics that differs from other kinds of land in its ability to produce distinctive kinds and amounts of vegetation and in its ability to respond similarly to management actions and natural disturbances (Caudle et al. 2013).

Ecological Site Inventory (ESI) - A resource inventory that involves the use of soils information to map ecological sites and plant communities and the collection of natural resource and vegetation attributes. The sampling data from each of these soil-vegetation units, referred to as site write-up areas (SWAs), become the baseline data for natural resource management and planning (Habich 2001).

End-point indicators - Guides to assess resource use impacts at the end of the grazing period and growing season, whichever comes last. They indicate whether grazing use left resources in an appropriate condition for moving toward objectives. Commonly, stubble height or utilization indicates the desired degree of use. Syn. End of season indicators

EIS — Environmental impact statement - A document for comparing and sharing environmental impacts of different alternatives for proposed actions by federal agencies under NEPA.

ESD — Ecological site description - Organized information on the known plant community types, soil properties and vegetation characteristics associated with that site.

Evaluation - The systematic process for determining the effectiveness of management actions at making progress toward meeting objectives.

Flexibility - The ability to adjust a plan or on-the-ground management to adapt to timely use of new information, unusual weather, or the spirit of innovation. Flexibility is fostered by adaptive management, preplanning, good principles, and relationship building which creates confidence that managers will have the responsibility to do what is right for the resources.

Frequency - The proportion of quadrats that contain the species in question. To make frequency comparable, the plot size must remain constant in each measurement time period.

Frequency of defoliation - (As used in GRI) The number of times forage plants are defoliated during the grazing period. It depends on plant growth rate and the length of time over which plants experience grazing within a growing season.

FS — Forest Service

FWS — Fish and Wildlife Service

Georeferencing - The process of connecting data to its precise geographic location. When two or more images or maps are georeferenced, they are effectively overlapped with the same scale and orientation.

GIS – Geographic Information System - A system designed to capture, store, manipulate analyze manage or present all types of spatial or geographical data.

GPS – Global Positioning System - A space or cell tower based navigation system that provides location and time information.

Goals - General statements of the desired direction of change or the desired condition of resources in the future (BLM TR4400-1).

Grazing Intensity - (as used in the GRI) The amount of plant material removed during the grazing period. The primary concern is the amount of photosynthetically active leaf material remaining for the plant to recover from grazing. This is not an estimate of percent utilization which also includes utilization after plants are dormant and/or may be modified by regrowth. Syn. intensity.

GRI — Grazing Response Index - A tool for evaluating past grazing and planning future grazing that considers the intensity, frequency and opportunity for growth and/or regrowth (Reed et al. 1999; Perryman et al. 2006; 2017). Each factor is valued at -1, 0, or + 1 (up to + 2 for opportunity for growth and/or regrowth).

Greenline - The first perennial vegetation that forms a lineal grouping of community types on or near the low water’s edge. Most often occurs at or slightly below the bankfull stage (Winward 2000). It is found along streams with defined channels. In meadows without defined channels, it is the lowest part of the meadow where flood waters would be deepest (Burton et al. (2011).

Herbaceous - Vegetation growth with little or no woody component; non-woody vegetation such as graminoids and forbs.

Herbivore - An animal that subsists principally or entirely on plants or plant materials (Bedell 1998).

HAF — Habitat Assessment Framework - An approach for evaluating sage-grouse habitat at multiple scales.

HMA — Herd management area - An area designated for wild horses and/or burros on BLM land.

HMP — Habitat management plan - Activity plans for managing fish and wildlife habitat.

Increaser - For a given plant community, those species that increase in amount as a result of a specific abiotic/biotic influence or management practice (Bedell 1998).

Inventory - The systematic collection of quantitative data about a resource and its condition. Often inventory data are used as a baseline for future comparisons.

Key Area - A relatively small portion of a range selected because of its location, use, or grazing value as a monitoring point for grazing use. It is assumed that key areas, if properly selected, will reflect the overall acceptability of current grazing management over the range (Bedell 1998).

Key species - (1) Forage species whose use serves as an indicator to the degree of use of associated species. (2) Those species which must, because of their importance, be considered in the management program (Bedell 1998).

Leader - The growing or most recently grown annual increment of the stem at the top of, or end of the branches of, a woody plant (tree or shrub).

Lentic - Referring to standing or slowly moving water, as in ponds, marshes, and seeps have lentic riparian areas.

Long-term monitoring - Measurement of changes in resource attributes such as plant composition of ground cover over time. Also called effectiveness monitoring, it is used to periodically assess progress toward meeting objectives.

Lotic - Referring to running water, as in streams, rivers, and springs have lotic riparian areas.

Monitoring - The orderly collection, analysis, and interpretation of resource data to evaluate progress toward meeting management objectives. This process must be conducted over time in order to determine whether or not management objectives are being met (Bedell 1998).

NEPA — National Environmental Policy Act

Nested frequency - The same as frequency except that a change in species abundance is anticipated by collecting data in nested quadrats of different sizes during each time period; occurrence in one plot equals occurrence in all larger nested plots. This allows future comparisons by selecting the most appropriate quadrat size for analysis (FS Handbook 2209.21).

NRCS — Natural Resources Conservation Service

Objective - Specific attributes of natural resource conditions that management will strive to accomplish, the area or location where this will occur, and the time frame. Resource objectives must be site-specific, measurable, and attainable statements of the desired resource attributes. Syn. Resource Objective.

Opportunity for growth and/or regrowth - (as used in GRI) The amount of time plants have to grow prior to grazing or regrow after grazing. This factor is related to time and duration of use. Syn., opportunity.

PFC — Proper functioning condition - A method and evaluation or riparian conditions that considers hydrology, vegetation, and geomorphology.

Pixel - Picture element or the smallest individual element of a digital picture or image over which reflectance characteristics are averaged.

Phenology - The study of periodic biological phenomena that are recurrent such as flowering, seeding, etc. especially as related to climate (Bedell 1998) or weather.

Photograph - An image captured by various means, including film, digital camera, video, etc.

Plant height - The maximum (or average maximum) height of woody or herbaceous (see droop height) vegetation within a defined sampling quadrat (or plot area)

Point bar - The deposit of sediment on the inside edge of a bend in a low-gradient stream or river.

Proper use - A degree of utilization of current year’s growth which, if continued, will achieve management objectives and maintain or improve the long-term productivity of the site. Proper use varies with time and systems of grazing. Syn., Proper utilization, proper grazing use, cf. allowable use (Bedell 1998).

P-value — Probability value

Quadrat - Sampling frame within which vegetation information is gathered.

Quantitative ecology - Comparison of a species composition data set against a reference standard for that ecological site. Each native or desired species percentage is counted up to some maximum allowable limit, determined by that specie’s maximum contribution to a historic climax plant community or a desired plant community.

RAC — Resource Advisory Council - Fifteen member stakeholder groups set up under Rangeland Reform to advise the BLM.

Rangeland - Land on which indigenous vegetation (climax or natural potential) is predominantly grasses, grass-like plants, forbs, or shrubs and is managed as a natural ecosystem. If plants are introduced, they are managed similarly. Rangeland includes natural grasslands, savannas, shrublands; many deserts, tundras, alpine communities, marshes and meadows (Bedell 1998).

Rangeland Health - The degree to which the integrity of the soil, vegetation, water, and air as well as the ecological processes of the rangeland ecosystem are balanced and sustained. Integrity is defined as the maintenance of the structure and functional attributes characteristic of a locale, including normal variability (SRM 1999).

Reference State - A reference state is recognized in each state and transition model that describes the ecological potential and natural or historical range of variability of the ecological site. Due to natural disturbance and climatic processes, reference conditions can be represented by more than one community phase depending on the time period in which an ecological site is observed (Caudle et al. 2013).

Remote sensing - Detecting information about the character of a resource from afar, such as through photography or other imagery, often obtained from aircraft or satellites.

Residual vegetation - The current year’s above-ground plant material remaining after grazing. It may be recorded as weight per unit area, stubble height, or as the opposite of utilization, the percent remaining.

Resilience - The capacity of ecological processes to recover following a disturbance. Resilience can be defined in terms of the rate of recovery, the extent of recovery during a particular period of time, or both (Pellant et al. 2005).

Resistance - The capacity of ecological processes to continue to function without change following a disturbance (Pellant et al. 2005).

Resource objectives - Specific attributes of natural resource conditions that management will strive to accomplish, the area or location where this will occur, and the time frame. Resource objectives must be site-specific, measurable, and attainable statements of the desired resource attributes. Syn. Objectives

Resource Value Rating - A measure of the value of vegetation present on an ecological site for a particular use or benefit. Resource value ratings may be established for each plant community capable of being produced on an ecological site, including exotic or cultivated species (Bedell 1998).

Rhizomatous - A group of plants that spread by rhizomes or underground stems.

Riparian - A form of wetland transition between permanently saturated wetland or aquatic and upland areas. Riparian areas can support vegetation that survives in or depends on moister or permanently saturated soils.

Riparian Proper Functioning Condition, Lotic - A lotic riparian area is considered to be in PFC, or “functioning properly,” when adequate vegetation, landform, or woody material is present to:

  • Dissipate stream energy associated with high waterflow, thereby reducing erosion and improving water quality.
  • Capture sediment and aid floodplain development.
  • Improve floodwater retention and ground-water recharge.
  • Develop root masses that stabilize streambanks against erosion.
  • Maintain channel characteristics.

A riparian area in PFC will, in turn, provide associated values, such as wildlife habitat or recreation opportunities. (Dickard et al. 2015).

Riparian Proper Functioning Condition, Lentic  - Lentic riparian-wetland areas are functioning properly when adequate vegetation, landform, or debris is present to: dissipate energies associated with wind action, wave action, and overland flow from adjacent sites, thereby reducing erosion and improving water quality; filter sediment and aid floodplain development; improve flood-water retention and ground-water recharge; develop root masses that stabilize islands and shoreline features against cutting action; restrict water percolation; develop diverse ponding characteristics to provide the habitat and the water depth, duration, and temperature necessary for fish production, water bird breeding, and other uses; and support greater biodiversity (Prichard et al. 2003).

Short-term monitoring - Addresses three topics, (1) Conformance with the plan (2) Current, annual, or short-term impacts of the implemented management on resources of interest, and (3) Weather and other unplanned events. This information guides day-to-day and year-to-year management and helps interpret long-term or implementation monitoring data.

Shrub - A plant that has persistent woody stems and a relatively low growth habit, and that may produce several basal shoots instead of a single bole. It differs from a tree by its low stature, (generally less than 5 meters or 16 feet), and non-arborescent form (Bedell 1998).

SMART — Specific, measureable, achievable, relevant, and Timely or trackable - Criteria for good objectives.

Stabilizer - A plant that is noted for its deep and/or dense root system and is particularly adept at holding soil against the forces of flowing water (Winward 2000).

State - A combination of vegetation and soil processes that perpetuate through time or cycle in response to disturbances.

STM — State and transition model - A description of vegetation dynamics and management interactions associated with each ecological site. The model provides a method to organize and communicate complex information about vegetation response to disturbances (fire, lack of fire, drought, insects, disease, etc.) and management (NRCS 2003).

Streambank - The edge of a stream that contains the flow of water except the water that floods out of the channel in flood conditions that may occur less often that once in two to three years. The streambank should not be confused with a gully bank or other high bank that is only wetted by the stream during rare flood events, if ever.

Streambank alteration - Streambank disturbance caused by animals (e.g., elk, moose, deer, cattle, sheep, goats, and horses) walking along the streambanks or the margins of the stream. The animals’ weight can cause shearing that results in a breakdown of the streambank and subsequent widening of the stream channel. Streambank alteration also exposes bare soil, increasing the risk of erosion of the streambank. Animals walking in the channel margins may increase the amount of soil exposed to the erosive effects of water by breaking or cutting through the vegetation and exposing roots and/or soil. Excessive trampling causes soil compaction, resulting in decreased vegetative cover, less vigorous root systems, and more exposure of the soil surface to erosion. (Burton et al. 2011).

Streambank stability - A measure of the degree to which an erosional streambank is covered by vegetation or anchored rock or logs versus the degree to which a streambank is showing signs of active erosion with a fracture, slump, slough, or bare bank. (Burton et al. 2011).

Stream channel morphology - The shape of a stream includes attributes such as average width and depth, slope, meandering, width/depth ratio, pool/riffle ratio, or other characteristics that may relate to energy dissipation, erosion, sediment transport, deposition, or fish habitats.

Stubble Height - The measure or height (in centimeters or inches) of herbage left ungrazed at any given time (BLM 1999b).

Succession - The progressive replacement of plant communities on a site which leads to the potential natural plant community, i.e., attaining stability. Primary succession entails simultaneous succession of soil from parent material and vegetation. Secondary succession occurs following disturbances on sites that previously supported vegetation, and entails plant succession on a more mature soil. Cf. plant succession (Bedell 1998).

Sustainable - Retaining a similar set of resource conditions and ecological processes or retaining a resilient nature so that changes are cyclic or dynamic, rather than permanent, or ones that would require significant restoration. This concept applies to human communities and economies as well as ecosystems and to the opportunity for future generations to choose among resource management options. Sustainable often refers to the triple bottom line of ecological, economic, and social factors.

Threshold - A point of irreversible transition to a new state. After the transition, significant management effort (e.g., seeding, herbicide control, fire control, etc.) is needed to restore the ecological processes of the prior state.

Tiller - The asexual development of a new plant from a meristematic region of the parent plant (Bedell 1998).

Transition - The trajectory of system change between states that lead to the establishment of a new state. The transition may be reversible for a time and may become irreversible after the new state has been reached. A transition involves the loss or significant change of ecological processes such as soil capture of water, reproduction of key species or species groups, resilience after fire, etc. Lost or changed processes do not recover without intervention.

Trend - The direction of change in an attribute as observed over time (Bedell 1998).

Trigger - Within-season guide for livestock managers to make changes or move livestock, for ensuring that end-point indicators are met.

Ungulate - A large herbivore with a hoof. Cattle, sheep, deer, antelope and elk are ruminants, llamas are camelids, and horses are equids. All are ungulates.

Use map - A map depicting zones of utilization by livestock or some other herbivore within a pasture or other defined area. It is likely to show patterns of heavier and lighter use that can be used to help evaluate management.

Utilization - The proportion of the current year’s growth that has been removed by herbivores.

Utilization cage - A small moveable exclosure to prohibit grazing within its boundary. By moving the utilization cage to new representative areas each year before the grazing period, it can be used to estimate the growth that would have occurred without grazing and, therefore, the amount of utilization of plants in similar outside locations.

UTM — Universal Transverse Mercator - A map projection and system for recording location using GPS devices or maps.

Water quality - The combination of biological, chemical, and physical characteristics of water and aquatic environments. Some agencies and laws have specific definitions for water quality.

Weather - The conditions of the atmosphere over a short period of time (months), for example, temperature, precipitation, humidity, cloudiness, brightness, and wind.

Woody - A term used in reference to trees, shrubs, or browse that characteristically contains persistent ligneous material (Bedell 1998).

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) || Appendix L - Glossary, Acronyms & Abbreviations, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, SP-18-03

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