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 J., Havstad K, Fredrickson E.L.
EditorHavstad K, Huenneke L., Schlesinger W.H.
Series EditorHavstad K, Huenneke L., Schlesinger W.H.
Book TitleStructure and Function of a Chihuahuan Desert Ecosystem: The Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research Site
Chapter17
Pagination354-368
PublisherOxford University Press
CityNew York
ARIS Log Number172322
KeywordsChihuahuan Desert, desert grassland ecosystem, holistic view, Jornada Basin, LTER, multidisciplinary, patch-based correlations, research, synthesis book
AbstractA 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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