Table 7. Rangeland health status criteria and characteristics for the (D) poor health condition category.
I. Distribution pattern of plants across the site is clumped or fragmented, with numerous large bare ground areas not covered by foliage.
II. Plant species composition is restricted, with few desirable species, many less desirable species, and many undesirable species in a developing community.
III. Age-class distribution of plants is restricted, with predominantly old or deteriorated plants. Recruitment of young desirable plants is nearly absent.
IV. Plants are weak, and many plants show deformed growth patterns, developing close to the ground.
V. Plant roots occupy only a small portion of the available soil profile.
VI. The leaf area of the plants is greatly reduced during portions of the growing season so that photosynthetic activity is restricted to rates too low to provide much of the energy or many of the nutrients required for growth of leaves and roots.
VII. Litter distribution across the site is sparse or absent, with numerous large bare soil areas.
VIII. The humic layer of decomposed organic matter is sparse or absent from most of the site.
IX. The top layer of soil is sparse or absent from large areas of the site or is present only in association with depressions or prominent obstructions.
X. Soil degradation resulting from soil particle, organic matter, and nutrient removal from the site by wind or water is evident.
XI. Deposition of wind- or water-eroded material is evident, appearing as large bare deposits, as dunes, or in association with prominent plants.
XII. Recent gully formation is evident, and structures are well developed, active, and integrated into a branching pattern.
XIII. Plant pedestaling is severe enough that roots are exposed.
XIV. Bare soil with scours and dunes from wind erosion is evident. The structures are active and well developed. Sheet erosion from water is evident on large areas after thunderstorms.
XV. Nutrient cycles and energy flow are decelerated, and the distribution pattern is fragmented, with numerous large bare areas between fragments.
XVI. Plant community dynamics and processes are not sufficient to maintain viable community structure and function.
XVII. Only a small amount of the precipitation infiltrates the soil, and most runs off.