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vertical graphic barRangeland Health Standards


BLM logoREAD | Idaho Standards for Rangeland Health & Guidelines for Livestock Grazing Management  

Rangeland health standards set out the conditions that ensure functioning rangelands in particular areas.  Based on the set of regulations known as Fundamentals of Rangeland Health, the BLM uses Standards as management goals for improving ecosystems and sustaining rangeland productivity with the specific intent of continuing sustainable multiple use of the public lands, while protecting the various resources found there. 

Idaho Rangeland Health Standards were adopted in 1997 after being developed collaboratively with full public involvement of various stakeholders under the leadership of BLM-Idaho's resource advisory councils.

They are based on the best available scientific knowledge about rangeland ecosystems in Idaho.  The Standards are not "one size fits all" nationally or BLM-wide.  Standards in other states differ from Idaho's according to differences in their rangelands.

BLM range specialists gather indicator data

cattle grazing

Rangeland Health Standards were developed specifically to answer the question, "How can the BLM provide continued, sustainable multiple use of the public lands?"

Rangelands should either be meeting the Standards for their area or making significant progress toward meeting them.  On rangelands where Standards are being met, nutrients, water and energy are cycling properly, and they can sustain livestock grazing, provide suitable habitat for wild species and help maintain a more natural pattern in the area's fire regime. 

Standards are not "all of the above." Not every Standard applies to every area, allotment or pasture in a State.  The goal is protecting the various resources found in a particular area, not requiring that every possible rangeland resource be found on every acre.

Monitoring is the primary tool for assessing rangeland health and evaluating condition and trend to determine whether Standards are being met or progress is evident.

Indicators are physical and biological factors or processes associated with each Standard that can be measured or observed to determine rangeland condition.  Examined over time, they can be used to determine trend.  Indicators vary by soil type, climate and landform, and in most instances, no single indicator is sufficient to determine rangeland health. 

Scale is important when considering indicator data: individual, isolated sites within a landscape may not be meeting Standards, while broader areas may be in functioning condition. 

Each Standard has associated Guidelines that direct the selection of grazing management practices that promote significant progress toward, or attainment or maintenance of that Standard.  When grazing is determined to be a causal factor for sub-Standard conditions on an allotment, the BLM is required to adjust grazing management (and livestock management facilities, where present) so that significant progress toward meeting the Standard is made during the next grazing season.  

Last updated: 08-01-2013