A landscape view of the Mojave Trails National Monument, California, photo by Bob Wick, BLM

A Landscape Approach

Center Content: 

How We Manage 

For the men and women who manage the nation’s public lands, a landscape is a large swath of terrain that has similar plants, animals and geography – think Alaska’s vast coastal plain, the arid Sonoran desert of Arizona and California, or the colorful red rock country of the Colorado Plateau.

The BLM is beginning to implement a landscape  approach to managing the public lands  to better respond to large-scale  challenges such reducing the risk of wildfire, controlling weeds and insect outbreaks, and providing for energy development on the public lands. Scientists, land managers, and land management partners are working to gather and share the scientific information needed to better understand these wide-ranging impacts and to develop and implement shared conservation strategies.

This landscape approach maintains the central role that BLM’s field offices play in managing public lands. They prepare land use plans, authorize land uses, conduct monitoring, and work with partners and stakeholders to develop and implement local management strategies. Partnerships are critical to successful resource stewardship, particularly at the broad landscape level, where the diversity of land ownership (Federal, tribal, state, county, municipal, and private) requires cooperation and coordination to implement effective responses to widespread environmental issues.

How is the BLM implementing a landscape approach?

The BLM’s landscape approach consists of multiple interconnected parts that provide a way to integrate science with the agency’s management responsibilities for the public lands. It incorporates gathering data to determine the health of the public lands, using that data in preparing land use plans, designing projects and authorizing uses to implement these plans, and monitoring how well these management actions are working in achieving their goals.  All of these efforts are based on strong science and continually improved uses of mapping technology.  

To help support this effort, the BLM has:

  • Initiated 15 eco-regional assessments covering more than 800 million acres to evaluate patterns in the ways that plants and animals rely on these landscapes.  These Rapid Ecoregional Assessments, or REAs, provide map-based data to examine resource conditions and trends over broad areas.  You can access the studies and the data produced for each of the REAs through the REA section of BLM’s Geospatial Portal.
  • Developed landscape-based plans, such as California’s Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan and Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, to more effectively integrate conservation and development decision-making.
  • Expanded the collection of native seeds for on-the-ground project work through the National Seed Strategy.
  • Adopted the Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring or AIM Strategy that allows the BLM to collect data in a structured manner that meets local management needs and addresses broader, landscape-level concerns.

The purpose of these initiatives is to help BLM managers and public land stakeholders understand environmental conditions and trends from a broader perspective, and to use this information to inform, focus, and coordinate management efforts on the ground.

Sagegrouse seedlings established through BLM Oregon partnership, BLM photo