Desertification and biopedturbation in the Chihuahuan Desert

TitleDesertification and biopedturbation in the Chihuahuan Desert
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsJackson E., Whitford WG
Conference Name87th Annual Meeting, Ecological Society of America
Date PublishedAugust 4-9, 2002
Conference LocationTucson, AZ
ARIS Log Number139789
AbstractWe examined the relationship between biopedturbation (animal-caused soil disturbance) and several vegetation- and soil-based indicators of rangeland health to evaluate the effects of desertification on animal soil disturbance. The area, volume and abundance of various disturbance types were assessed at 117 sites in south-central New Mexico where vegetative cover and composition had been previously measured. There were significant relationships between biopedturbation and selected rangeland health indicators. Increasing percentage of shrub cover and bare patch size were both negatively associated with total soil disturbance area. Shrub cover best predicted the area of soild disturbed by animals. This relationship, however, cannot reliably predict total biopedturbation area or the area of soil disturbance types.