Rangeland health and soil quality are interdependent. Rangeland health is characterized by the functioning of both the soil and the plant communities. The capacity of the soil to function affects ecological processes, including the capture, storage, and redistribution of water; the growth of plants; and the cycling of plant nutrients. Changes in vegetation may precede or follow changes in soil properties and processes. Changes in soil quality that occur as a result of management affect the amount of water from rainfall and snowmelt that is available for plant growth; surface runoff; water infiltration; the potential for erosion; the availability of nutrients for plant growth; the conditions needed for germination, seedling establishment, vegetative reproduction, and root growth; and the ability of the soil to act as a filter and protect water and air quality. Ecological processes on rangeland are evaluated with soil and vegetation indicators. Evaluations made through assessment and monitoring provide information about the functional status of soil and rangeland. Soil quality indicators are used to increase the value and accuracy of rangeland assessments and trend analysis. Assessments help to identify areas where problems occur and areas of special interest. Land managers can use this information and other inventory and monitoring data to make management decisions, which, in turn, affect soil quality.
Link to Presentation (pdf; 2MB)
Jerry Daigle - Jerry J. Daigle is currently State Soil Scientist for Louisiana NRCS. He is a native of White Castle, Louisiana and grew up on and contributed to the operation of a sugarcane farm. Jerry received a BS in Agronomy in 1968 from Louisiana State University. He has served in several positions for NRCS, including Field Soil Scientist, Area Soil Scientist/Soil Survey Project Leader, and Assistant State Soil Scientist.