New Research Project
The Jornada Research Unit has a new ARS research project for 2013-2017
Project summary: The goal of the Jornada is to develop ecologically based knowledge systems and technologies for management, conservation, monitoring, and assessment of western rangelands. Our long-term research objective is to increase understanding of the fundamental relationships among management practices, ecological processes, and climatic variability to improve rangeland production, conservation, and restoration. Two key challenges for expanding rangeland capacities are sustaining production while maintaining desirable conditions and restoring capacities of degraded rangelands. For rangelands to achieve their full potential in meeting food security and other ecosystem services objectives, appropriate practices for use, conservation, and restoration must be strategically tailored to the specific conditions of a particular site. Our research plan contains five objectives designed to produce technologies to address regional and national concerns relevant to major land resource areas across the western U.S. We will build upon hundreds of existing data sets from our field station and collaborating sites. We will integrate short- and long-term data sets with simulation modeling, geographic information systems, and remote sensing tools. We will combine short-term experiments to test specific hypotheses with synthetic experiments requiring a complex integration of ecosystem components and drivers. Decision-support tools resulting from this work are intended to meet the needs of public and private land managers, be adaptable across temporal and spatial scales, and be usable for assessing, monitoring, and implementing conservation practices. This is an ambitious proposal that reflects the singular efforts of a collaborative, interdisciplinary group of 10 ARS scientists based at the Jornada working towards a common goal.