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Rangeland Restoration

Picture of pinon-juniper woodland. Over the last 200 years, North American ecosystems have been subject to more diverse and complex disturbances and stresses than those under which the ecosystems naturally evolved. Restoring ecosystem health to disturbed rangelands is one of the most critical challenges for rangelands managers.

Increases in human population, development, and land use have disturbed rangeland ecosystems. Such activities as mining, mineral exploration, road construction, recreation, expansion of towns, air and water pollution, and in some cases livestock grazing have resulted in widespread disturbance. The disturbances have included loss of native soil and vegetation, introduction of non-native plant and animal species, impacts to water quality and quantity, loss of wildlife habitat, and exclusion or interruption of natural fire cycles.

Long-term planning is necessary to restore native rangeland ecosystem functions. Identifying the problem and removing it might be all that is needed to start restoration of natural ecosystem processes. Natural methods, such as fire, are usually considered first when looking at a restoration project. Other methods are applied to correct more severe imbalances and disturbances.

Continued research and monitoring is necessary to discover and better understand ecosystem processes and to judge the effects and effectiveness of our restoration efforts. Other sections of this web describe the state of the rangeland resource and the Forest Service's efforts in these areas.

US Forest Service, RGE
1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mailstop Code: 1103
Washington DC 20250-1103

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Last modified: Tuesday, 13-Sep-2016 11:38:13 CDT