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International Arid Lands Consortium Creates an Information Resource on Public Land Management in the United States

The International Arid Lands Consortium (IALC) provides electronic access to public lands information via the World Wide Web and CD-ROM technology

September 6, 2000 (Tucson, AZ)--The International Arid Lands Consortium (IALC) is working to provide the public with access to valuable information about public lands, grazing allotments, and relevant regulations. Managing public lands today, particularly with respect to grazing allotments, requires the systematic collection of natural resource data, as well as knowledge of federal environmental regulations such as those defined in the National Environmental Policy Act (EPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). These requirements have significantly impacted the workload of resource managers in the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and other government agencies as well as grazing permittees who must provide in-depth documentation of land resources and their use.

Contributing to this situation is the fact that most grazing allotments have changed boundaries, management practices, and permittees many times. Information on these consolidations and management factors have been collected over the years but are often poorly organized and lack an effective information system to facilitate access. This has led to lost records, duplication of effort, and wasted time and financial resources.

To alleviate this situation, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Arizona and the USFS is collaborating on this two-year demonstration project, entitled, "Improved Management of Public Land Grazing Allotments: An Information Resource." The project provides electronic access to a representative set of public lands information via World Wide Web and CD-ROM technologies. In addition, researchers and information specialists are creating a model database, user interface, and database template for bringing this information to the public as well as to USFS and other government land managers. This set of information is presented in an application package that promotes learning, analysis, interpretation, and planning, and facilitates public knowledge and understanding of public land management issues in terms of environmental regulations. It does this using a representative set of data collected over the years on the Walker Basin allotment located on the Coconino National Forest near Arizona's Verde Valley.

Organizing this information into a searchable database available via Web and CD-ROM provides a case study for educational and planning purposes of the process used to develop allotment management plans. It also provides a model and template for others to build their own data sets and, thus, maximize past financial inputs, offer new planning opportunities, and facilitate compliance with federal laws and regulations. The variety of delivery mechanisms also ensures that clientele served will include a broad constituency ranging from public and private land managers, Extension specialists, environmental and other interested groups, to students and faculty in colleges and universities.

Support for this project came from the USDA Forest Service and the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service.



The International Arid Lands Consortium (IALC) is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to exploring the problems and solutions unique to arid and semiarid regions. IALC promotes cooperative research and practical application of new knowledge to develop sustainable ecological practices. The member institutions and their affiliates share a mission to enable people of arid lands to improve the quality of life for future generations. IALC members include the University of Arizona, Desert Research Institute-Nevada, the University of Illinois, Jewish National Fund, New Mexico State University, South Dakota State University, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and the Higher Council for Science & Technology-Jordan. The Ministry of Agriculture & Land Reclamation-Egypt is an affiliate member.

Project Addressed in this News Release:
  • 99D-01 Improved Management of Public Grazing Allotments: An Information Resource (The University of Arizona, USDA Forest Service)