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Expanding Deserts

Desertification is a global problem that reduces plant productivity, biodiversity, air and soil quality, and water availability. JRN scientists developed an integrated understanding of consequences of desertification in arid ecosystems, including loss of ecosystem services

Gibbens RP, McNeely RP, Havstad KM, Beck RF, Nolen B. 2005. Vegetation change in the Jornada Basin from 1858 to 1998. Journal of Arid Environments 61: 651-668.
Okin GS, Parsons AJ, Wainwright J, Herrick JE, Bestelmeyer BT, Peters DPC, Fredrickson EL. 2009. Do changes in connectivity explain desertification? BioScience 59: 237-244.
Schlesinger WH, Reynolds JF, Cunningham GL, Huenneke LF, Jarrell WH, Virginia RA, Whitford WG. 1990. Biological feedbacks to global desertification. Science 247:1043-1048.
Dr. Debra P.C. Peters
Landscapes at the Jornada LTER site show complex patterns related to vectors that redistribute resources: water flows from small mountain ranges to the basin (lower left), wind moves soil and nutrients (upper right), cattle concentrate impacts near water sources (center), and human activities occur on-site via roads (center) and on adjacent private land (lower right).
USDA ARS, Jornada Experimental Range archive
Jornada landscapes were dominated by perennial grasses in 1858. By 1915, 63% was shrub-dominated, and almost all of the area (92%) was shrubland in 1998.
Modified from Gibbens et al. 2006.



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