Easy Monitoring to Track Pasture and Rangeland Changes

Would you like to have concrete proof of your management successes? Would you like to be able to identify management strategies that did or did not work? For most of us the answer is "Yes!" But we often don't have that proof or the information we need because it requires monitoring, and when we think of monitoring, we think of tedious counting, or weighing and measuring, all of which are something most of us don't have the inclination to do, let along the time to spend. On the other hand, most of us today are walking around with the perfect monitoring tool in our pocket or purse - it's that smartphone you use to take pictures of your family, friends, pets and tasty meals. If we just add "repeat photo monitoring" to the ways we use it, we'll have the info we need to be able to say, "Yeah! That worked!" or "Hmmm.....I need to do something a little differently there." Repeating your photo at the same site on an ongoing basis allows you to use the photo to analyze and demonstrate what your management has done. It solves the problem of relying on our memories, which often only capture the very best or the very worst. It can be the basis for making decisions as varied as livestock movement to wildlife harvest rates and for determinations of water quality and ecosystem health. Finally, it makes it easier for you to demonstrate to others what’s happening in the places you’re caring for. This can be especially important for those of you working on public lands who deal with

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3 thoughts on “Easy Monitoring to Track Pasture and Rangeland Changes

  1. My out of state family might think my Facebook posts are bragging on my garden but for me they are ways to let the family know my health status (am I well enough to do the work) and for me it has helped me chart times of year and types of experiments etc. When I post a picture I do fill in many details that must make them shake their heads but priceless info/dates/visuals for me and I am surprised how frequently useful! A simple phone that will send the picture to Messenger has done the trick for me.

  2. GrassSnap from UofNeb is a great electronic monitoring method with your phone. I still use camera and paper so my 3 ring book can be passed around. LtC George Custer’s photographer has some great photos of 1876 and Paul Horsted has the same spot in 1999; creating a great history recaptured. Keith Klement did the same from old range photos at Sheridan College in WY. Sooo I think I am creating a historical document everytime I take a documented photo location and describe the plants and environmental situation that I have observed. Range, pasture and forest monitoring is fun activity.

  3. A few months ago, my wife and I learned how to use her smart phone to video tape some trees on our place. The nice thing about it was, I was able to speak and give a nice narrative to our film. With the aid of the pause button we were able to skip around the pasture. Now we are able to go back and film again and report progress, etc.

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