Interpreting results is driven by the data user. You are the expert on your management goals and your field data! However, quantitative monitoring objectives, especially with proportional estimates, may present a different way of thinking than what you have done in the past. To help with interpreting AIM data, we have provided examples of how you can can use AIM data to inform whether land health standards are being met, whether treatments have been effective, whether land use plans are effective, and other applications.
Explore how decision-makers are using AIM data to inform land management by reviewing these examples. They use various analysis approaches to address their management objectives.
Next Steps: Project evolution
Many current AIM projects are designed to address the question of land use plan effectiveness. These projects are on the time scale of data collection for 2-5 years. However, what happens to a project once data collection is complete? There may be a desire to step AIM monitoring down from land use plan effectiveness to other permitted uses or both kinds of analyses may be done concurrently. Below are some possible options for future monitoring and questions to consider prior to collecting additional data (Figure 1).
Figure 2. Land use plan AIM project evolution
Further monitoring related to land use plan effectiveness
- Collect more points to reduce confidence intervals
- Is the data you have collected to date sufficient enough to answer your management question or would increasing your sample size slightly significantly improve your ability to answer those questions?
- Area priorization
- Are there certain regions within your reporting unit that you are more concerned about than others?
- Using the preponderance of evidence approach are there certain areas with several indicators in degraded condition?
- Stressor prioritization
- Which stressors are the most extensive across the reporting unit?
- Which stressors are having deleterious impacts on the biota?
- Can you focus more resources on trying to address stressors that are having the largest impacts?
- Causal analysis
- Are permitted uses and other BLM management activities responsible for degraded conditions?
- Can the BLM work with other neighboring landowners to address degraded conditions due to upstream or adjacent activities?
- Are conditions changing through time at a plot/reach?
- Are conditions changing through time across the whole resource?
Monitoring to meet other policy mandates
- Assessing impacts of permitted uses
- Determining habitat viability for species of management concern
- Environmental assessments: Current conditions
- Restoration or reclamation efficacy