Currently, there is no standard method to assess the complex systems in rangeland ecosystems. Decision makers need baselines to create a common language of current rangeland conditions and standards for continued rangeland assessment. The Sustainable Rangeland Roundtable (SRR), a group of private and public organizations and agencies, has created a forum to discuss rangeland sustainability and assessment. The SRR has worked to integrate social, economic, and ecological disciplines related to rangelands and has identified a standard set of indicators that can be used to assess rangeland sustainability. As part of this process, SRR has developed a two-tiered conceptual framework from a systems perspective to study the validity of indicators and the relationships among them. The first tier categorizes rangeland characteristics into four states. The second tier defines processes affecting these states through time and space. The framework clearly shows that the processes affect and are affected by each other. ?? 2009 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.