Desertification and biopedturbation in the northern Chihuahuan Desert

TitleDesertification and biopedturbation in the northern Chihuahuan Desert
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsJackson E., Krogh S.N., Whitford WG
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Date PublishedJanuary 1, 2003
Accession NumberJRN00381
ARIS Log Number150384
KeywordsBiopedturbation, Chihuahuan Desert, condition indicators, desertification, disturbance, rangeland, soil

We examined the relationship between biopedturbation (animal-caused soil disturbance) and several vegetation and soil-based indicators of rangeland condition to evaluate the effects of desertification on animal soil disturbance. The area, volume, and abundance of various biopedturbation types were assessed at 117 sites in south-central New Mexico where vegetative cover and composition had previously been measured. There were significant relationships between biopedturbation and selected rangeland condition indicators. Increasing percentages of grass cover were positively associated with increasing total area of biopedturbation. Increasing percentages of shrub cover and mean bare patch size were negatively associated with total biopedturbation area. Biopedturbation area and volume were related to indicators of rangeland condition and percent shrub cover best predicts the area of soil disturbed by animals. This relationship, however, cannot reliably predict total biopedturbation area or the area of soil disturbance types.