While the framework presented in the Manager’s Guide and Field Guide is best suited to the pasture scale of 10,000s of acres, there is exciting ongoing work incorporating this process into remotely sensed maps. For a comprehensive list of all rangeland vegetation map products available in Oregon, visit the Oregon Explored Natural Resources Digital library.
The Southeast Oregon Nearest Neighbor Vegetation Composition Map provides a threat-based ecostate map as well as perennial grass cover, invasive annual grass cover, sagebrush cover and tree cover for all rangelands in Oregon. These maps use remotely sensed vegetation data and then categorize 30m by 30m areas into similar states.
The ecostate categories differ slightly because a more quantitative rule set was needed for state-wide monitoring and mapping. An intermediate state was added to depict ambiguous condition (A-D and B-D; grouped with poor condition classes C1 and D1 in the simplified map). In addition, early juniper encroachment stages were identified (C2/C3 and D2/D3), and later juniper stages were combined. Numbers were added to give ecostates simple, unique names. For threat-based mapping, ecostates were grouped into 6 categories (A: good condition sagebrush, B: good condition grassland, C: poor condition sagebrush, C: juniper encroachment, D: poor condition grassland, D: juniper encroachment with poor condition), with unique colors identifying each group. For more information on the similarities and differences of the TBLM and the Ecostate maps click the button below.
To access the ecostate maps through the interactive interface on Oregon Explorer with all the different layers click here: SageCon Landscape Planning Tool.
How to Use the Ecostate Map with Threat Based Land Management
When utilizing remotely sensed maps for monitoring or management, it is critical to understand how to understand remotely sensed products and evaluate multiple options to choose the map best suited to a particular purpose. For recommendations, guidelines and best practices when using remotely sensed rangeland maps read this article from the Institute of Natural Resources.
Use caution when utilizing remotely sensed maps. They are best used early in the planning process, and in combination with a boots on the ground approach. For example, remotely sensed maps should be utilized at the broadest scale for your question or management to help target where to implement a study, monitoring or management plan. They can then help inform where to go on the ground for work at smaller spatial scales or focal areas. For the TBLM approach outlined in the Manager’s and Field Guides, this might mean using these maps as a first look at the area for which threats are being assessed and a management plant is being created, and developing a draft map of the threats. These areas would then be ground-truthed and assessed for accuracy and management needs, and a management plan updated to reflect the on the ground conditions. These maps are not precise enough to be relied on exclusively at small scales, and should be used as a piece of the puzzle when putting together a threat based land management plan.
How to Download the Data
For a how to guide on using the SageCon Landscape Planning tool click the button below.