Table 4. Rangeland health status criteria and characteristics for the (A) excellent health condition category.
I. Distribution pattern of plants across the site is nearly continuous, with foliage covering nearly the entire ground surface.
II. Plant species composition is diverse, with numerous desirable species in a mature community.
III. Age-class distribution of plants is diverse, with numerous plants of each age group. Recruitment of numerous young desirable plants is supported.
IV. Plants are vigorous, support robust growth, and show no signs of deformed growth patterns.
V. Plant roots are distributed throughout the available soil profile.
VI. The leaf area of the plants is adequate throughout the growing season so that rates of photosynthetic activity are sufficient to provide all the requirements for growth of leaves and roots.
VII. Litter distribution across the site is nearly continuous, with only a few bare soil areas.
VIII. The humic layer of decomposed organic matter is well developed across the site.
IX. The top layer of soil appears stable and is consistent across the site.
X. Soil removal by wind or water is not evident.
XI. Deposition of wind- or water-eroded material is not evident.
XII. Recent gully formation is not evident. If any gullies are present, they are small, smooth featured, and vegetated.
XIII. Plant pedestaling is not evident.
XIV. Scouring or sheet erosion from wind or water is not evident.
XV. Nutrient cycles and energy flow are functioning at adequate levels.
XVI. Plant community dynamics and processes are sufficient to maintain highly productive community structure and function.
XVII. Almost all the precipitation infiltrates the soil, and only a very small amount runs off.