Remotely Sensed Ecostate Maps- A Landscape Scale Approach
Threat-based ecostate maps provide wall-to-wall spatial data depicting rangeland condition based on the level of threat from invasive annual grasses, juniper encroachment, and wildfire based on the principles of threat-based land management. Ecostate maps provide a snapshot of current condition and a time series of change in condition over time starting around 1990 and extending to present. Ecostate maps have been used widely at a variety of spatial scales within Oregon and are increasingly used by partners across the Great Basin.
A storymap explains how the ecostate maps were built, applications of ecostate maps, and appropriate uses. These maps build upon the Threat Based Land Management Framework (presented in the Manager’s and Field Guide) and provide a glimpse of what vegetation conditions or “ecostates” you’re likely to encounter before you get out to the field and while you’re planning management actions to improve rangeland condition across large landscapes.
The Institute for Natural Resources ecostate mapping home page provides further links to detailed documentation and how to access the data within and outside of Oregon. The SageCon Landscape Planning Tool facilitates access to spatial data for Oregon, including ecostate maps and a variety of other datasets.
Ground-truthing and Pasture Scale Mapping
The ecostate maps presented above are a great first look at rangeland condition, but should be ground-truthed and adjusted as needed when applied at the pasture and ranch scale. You may want to hand delineate (draw out) areas or polygons designating the different ecological states by first lumping areas with similar remotely sensed ecostates (states A and A-C, the dark and light green pixels for example). These polygons are most beneficial when drawn at the scale at which management decisions are made. Once in the field you should adjust the polygons to reflect on the ground conditions. To learn more about an online course that walks natural resource professionals and land owners through a process that incorporates TBLM into GIS tools, such as google earth pro, and culminates in the creation of a pasture or ranch management plan, click here.