Invasive plant species effects on wind and water erosion across US grazing lands

Title Invasive plant species effects on wind and water erosion across US grazing lands
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsWebb N, McCord SE, Bonefont K, Courtright E, Duniway MC, Edwards BL, Goodrich DC, Heilman P, Hernandez M, Metz L, Moriasi DN, Nearing MA, Newingham B, Nichols MH, Pierson FB, Tatarko J, Toledo DP, Van Pelt S, Van Zee JW, Williams J
Conference NameLTAR Annual Meeting
Date Published7/16/2021
ARIS Log Number386712
Keywordserosion, Invasive plant, species, US grazing lands, water, wind

Soil erosion by wind and water reduces the productive potential of agroecosystems, threatening the efficacy of climate change mitigation and adaption, and strategies for the sustainable intensification of agriculture. The extensive US grazing lands encompass diverse ecosystems with different inherent resistance and resilience to erosion. Land uses, land management, and disturbances vary across these regions and have great potential to change (accelerate or reduce) soil erosion rates. Over the last century, a combination of land management pressures (e.g., grazing), altered fire regimes, drought, and climate change have facilitated establishment and spread of invasive plant species across grazing lands, which has directly and indirectly affected the susceptibility of sites to soil erosion. The LTAR Rangeland Soil Erosion Working Group is collaborating with natural resource agencies (NRCS and BLM) to understand how invasive plant species are influencing wind and water erosion across public and private grazing lands, and where conservation practices may be most effective. We are applying the Aeolian Erosion (AERO) model and Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model (RHEM) to estimate aeolian sediment transport and water erosion rates using monitoring datasets collected by the NRCS and BLM at over 60,000 locations and harmonized in the Landscape Data Commons. The erosion indicators are being assessed relative to indicators of vegetation cover and structure, including invasive and native species, which attenuate soil erosion. We hypothesize that vegetation cover and structure are influenced by the presence and cover of invasive plant species, and that modelled indicators of soil erosion are responding across ecoregions.