For land managers, monitoring is a structured approach to tracking and recording biological resources. Within the LSRRP, this means tracking changes in plant communities over time to determine the response to management actions. In short, are we seeing a reduction of those species we wish to control over time? Are we seeing an increase in desirable native plant species? The answer for those of us who spend our day to day on the project site is yes, but how do we measure these factors?

Monitoring is one of the steps in the adaptive management process. Adaptive management is a systematic approach to improving resource management by learning from management outcomes. While monitoring is a crucial step in this process, it is often overlooked by land managers because it requires substantial amounts of time and therefore money and personnel.

The Ecoculture team at Northern Arizona University has turned to technology to help mitigate these factors by implementing the following strategies:

  • Utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to track and map all aspects of project management.
  • Collaborate with USDA Forest Service to implement strategic on the ground monitoring protocols.
  • Photo Point Monitoring: A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Hundreds of geotagged photographs are captured on the project site each year. These photos contain the location information of where they were captured and can therefore be replicated year after year.
  • Drone Monitoring: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what about 80,000 pictures? To learn more about Green Drone AZ and drone monitoring on the LSRRP click on the button below.

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