Viewpoint: Range site/ecological site information requirements for classification of riverine riparian ecosystems
western United States
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CitationLeonard, S. G., Staidl, G. J., Gebhardt, K. A., & Prichard, D. E. (1992). Viewpoint: Range site/ecological site information requirements for classification of riverine riparian ecosystems. Journal of Range Management, 45(5), 431-435.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractFew ecological sites have been described sufficiently to interpret the specific functions and processes unique to riverine riparian areas. The utility of using ecological site concepts for riparian classification has also been debated due to the dynamic nature of the systems and the paucity of unaltered vegetation. We evaluated riparian sites associated with streams or rivers in 9 western states to determine the feasibility of using ecological site concepts in describing and evaluating riverine riparian ecosystems. Associated water features must be described in riparian site descriptions to establish relationships and understand "process pathways." A concept of "site progression" is proposed to differentiate between secondary succession associated with vegetation changes within a given physical environment and physical "state" changes that lead to a "new" or different potential natural plant community (i.e., a change in ecological site and secondary succession sequences). We have concluded that ecological site classification and inventory techniques utilized on uplands can be used on riparian areas with some enhancements to maintain consistency in evaluations at a "management unit" level.