• Asymmetric Ecological and Economic Responses for Rangeland Restoration: A Case Study of Tree Thickening in Queensland, Australia

      MacLeod, Neil D.; Scanlan, Joe C.; Brown, Joel R. (Society for Range Management, 2014-04-01)
      On the Ground • Ecological and economic thresholds are important considerations when making decisions about safeguarding or restoring degraded rangelands. • When degradation levels have passed a threshold, most managers figure it is either time to take action or too late to take action depending on the particular circumstances of the case. • Considerations of ecological responses and thresholds have largely come from rangeland studies involving perennial vegetation with longlived cycles of causes and effects, whereas thinking on economic responses to management and thresholds have often been informed by studies of weeds and pests in annual pastures and crops where cycles are fairly short and responses to control are generally fast. • In many cases of rangeland degradation, an asymmetry may exist between opportunities for taking action on the basis of shorter-term ecological signals and where that action will actually yield an economic response, which is often in the intermediate to longer term. • In many cases the time for economically warranted action is well past the point at which low-cost ecological control options exist, leaving only scope for higher-cost treatments or capitulation. Keywords: ecological thresholds, economic thresholds, rangeland rehabilitation, prescribed fire, timber thickening, ranching, bio-economic modelling.
    • Valuing and Rewarding Ecosystem Services From Rangelands

      MacLeod, Neil D.; Brown, Joel R. (Society for Range Management, 2014-04-01)
      On the Ground • Ecosystem services are the wide array of benefits that people gain from natural ecosystems but many are not paid for nor is their future supply guaranteed. • Many attempts are being made to define, measure, and value these natural services in order to secure their future—many of these methods are theoretical. • Finding practical ways to reward land managers for providing elevated levels of services and protecting the capacity of range resources to provide those services is a challenge—theory well precedes practice. • Range landscapes typically encompass heterogeneous ecological units dominated by native vegetation and have the capacity to provide different levels of ecosystem services depending on both site features and local management. • Ecological Site Descriptions are potentially valuable for organizing information related to management options to achieve ecosystem service objectives and provide benchmarks for stewardship rewards or compliance expectations.