Riparian ecosystems of the Manti-La Sal National Forest: an assessment of current conditions in relation to natural range of variability.
We conducted this assessment to provide information on the current conditions of riparian and wetland ecosystems in reference to their natural range of variability on the Manti-La Sal National Forest during forest plan revision. We used peer-reviewed literature, data from the Forest and other partners, and site visits to evaluate the status of four key ecosystem characteristics: (1) distribution including livestock and wild ungulate grazing, altered flow and fire regimes, road construction, timber harvest, invasive and encroaching species, vegetation mortality due to insects and disease, and altered temperature and precipitation regimes. Some geographical units of the Forest, particularly the Abajo Mountains, Mesas, and Canyons, appear to be more resistant to stressors. Our results have been incorporated in the assessment completed during the Forest plan revision process and will continue to be useful to resource managers and planners during efforts to restore and/or maintain riparian and wetland ecosystems on the Manti-La Sal National Forest.