A Holistic View of an Arid Ecosystem: A Synthesis of Research and Its Applications

TitleA Holistic View of an Arid Ecosystem: A Synthesis of Research and Its Applications
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsBestelmeyer, BT, Brown, JR, Havstad, KM, Fredrickson, EL
EditorSchlesinger, WH
Series EditorSchlesinger, WH
Book TitleStructure and Function of a Chihuahuan Desert Ecosystem: The Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research Site
PublisherOxford University Press
CityNew York
Accession NumberLTER.2006-90496
KeywordsJRN, synthesis book

A primary objective of the Jornada Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program has been to provide a broad view of desert grassland ecology. Early architects of the LTER program felt that existing ecological datasets were usually of too short a duration and represented too few ecosystem components to provide a foundation for predicting dynamics in response to disturbances (NSF 1979). This recognition gave rise to the LTER approach—using long-term and multidisciplinary research at particular places to advance a holistic and broad-scale, but also mechanistic, view of ecological dynamics. Such a view is essential to applying ecological research to natural resources management (Golley 1993; Li 2000). In this synthesis chapter we ask: What has this approach taught us about the structure and function of a desert grassland ecosystem? How should this knowledge change the way we manage arid ecosystems? What gaps in our knowledge still exist and why?


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