Monitoring and adaptive management are fundamental concepts to rangeland management across land management agencies and embodied as best management practices for private landowners. Historically, rangeland monitoring was limited to determining impacts or maximizing the potential of specific land uses—typically grazing. Over the past several decades, though, the uses of and disturbances to rangelands have increased dramatically against a backdrop of global climate change that adds uncertainty to predictions of future rangeland conditions. Thus, today’s monitoring needs are more complex (or multidimensional) and yet still must be reconciled with the realities of costs to collect requisite data. However,
conceptual advances in rangeland ecology and management and changes in natural resource policies and societal values over the past 25 years have facilitated new approaches to monitoring that can support rangeland management’s diverse information needs. Additionally, advances in sensor technologies and remote-sensing techniques have broadened the suite of rangeland attributes that can be monitored and the temporal and spatial scales at which they can be monitored. We review some of the conceptual and technological advancements and provide examples of how they have influenced rangeland monitoring. We then discuss implications of these developments for rangeland management and highlight what we see as challenges and opportunities for implementing effective rangeland monitoring. We conclude with a vision for how monitoring can contribute to rangeland information needs in the future.