Definition of Rangelands and Forests. Paul Geissler Alison Hill. We have a good conceptual definition of rangelands.
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"Land on which the 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. Rangelands included natural grasslands, savannas, shrublands, many deserts, tundras, alpine communities, marshes and meadows” - Society for Range Management
To collect data in the field and estimate the area of rangelands, we need agreement on an operational definition.
The Oregon Demonstration Project looked at differences between the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA, Forest Service USFS) definitions and the National Resources Inventory (NRI, Natural Resources Conservation Service NRCS) definitions.
FIA classifies oak woodland and juniper woodland as forests, whereas NRI classifies as rangeland
The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) can help reach agreement on definitions.
"The Federal Geographic Data Committee coordinates the development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The NSDI encompasses policies, standards, and procedures for organizations to cooperatively produce and share geographic data. The 17 federal agencies that make up the FGDC are developing the NSDI in cooperation with organizations from state, local and tribal governments, the academic community, and the private sector."
The MOU states that "Agencies will work together to resolve data issues that are beyond the means or jurisdiction of any single agency, avoid future inconsistencies and incompleteness in data coverage, and otherwise coordinate data activities as appropriate to their missions and consistent with their statutory responsibilities."
FGDC Sample Inventory and Monitoring of Natural Resources and the Environment (SIMNRE) Working Group