[Public Land Statistics, 1996]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]


Most of the goods and services that the BLM provides to the American people are resource-based, with the agency's ability to provide them ultimately depending on the health of the public lands. Healthy lands sustain resource- based economies; degraded lands do not. The Bureau is committed to maintaining the public lands in a healthy condition.

To effectively carry out its mission, the Bureau needs to (1) better understand historic and present conditions of the land, (2) use science and technology to identify and relieve stresses to the land's health, and (3) work with the public to develop consensus goals for the health of the land. Obtaining this information and achieving these goals requires coordinated planning and collaborative approaches. Periodic assessments are conducted to help the Bureau (1) define critical baseline information on the status and trend of the land's health; (2) predict direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of activities on the land, water, and air; and (3) identify and evaluate long-term trends.

Table 2-1 provides a summary of the Ecological Site inventories conducted during the past year. Ecological site inventories provide land managers with useful information for determining site capability and assessing whether resource management objectives are being met.

Table 2-2, Condition of Riparian-Wetland Areas, was first reported in PLS in 1995. A riparian-wetland area is healthy and functioning when adequate vegetation, landform, or large woody debris is present to dissipate the energy associated with high water flows.

Table 2-3, Resource Conservation and Improvement Accomplishments, is a summary of the many conservation, rehabilitation, and development projects completed on the public lands during the past year. These efforts help stabilize soils, maintain or improve water quality, control siltation and salinity, reduce surface runoff, and control flooding.

Table 2-4, Forest Development Accomplishments, shows the numerous reforestation and improvement projects completed during FY 96. These efforts lead to improvement of forest health conditions on the public lands.

Table 2-5 describes the various type of wildlife habitats that exist on the public lands. No single Federal or State agency manages more fish and wildlife habitat than the Bureau of Land Management. As the quality and quantity of the Nation's fish and wildlife habitats decrease, the varied habitats on public lands become increasingly important to maintain a national fish and wildlife heritage.

Table 2-6 shows an estimate of the numbers of big game species located on public lands. Most of this data is provided by the various State wildlife agencies.

Table 2-7 demonstrates the variety of improvement projects used to enhance fish and wildlife habitats on public land. Most of these efforts are accomplished in cooperation with State wildlife agencies and conservation groups.

Table 2-8 displays the Bureau's fire rehabilitation projects that were needed to stabilize soils after wildfires occurred.

Table 2-9, Prescribed Fire Projects, shows the Bureau's efforts to utilize fire as a critical natural process to maintain and restore ecosystems. In FY 96, the BLM utilized fire on 50,000-plus acres to enhance the health of our public rangelands and forestlands.