Landform influences on the resistance of grasslands to shrub encroachment, Northern Chihuahuan Desert, USA

TitleLandform influences on the resistance of grasslands to shrub encroachment, Northern Chihuahuan Desert, USA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsRachal DM, H. Monger C, Okin GS, Peters DC
JournalJournal of Maps
Pagination1-7, iFirst Article
Date Published11/2012
Accession NumberJRN00599
ARIS Log Number286466
Keywordsarid geomorphology, Chihuahuan Desert, desertification, grassland resistance, shrub encroachment
Abstract

In arid and semiarid regions, vegetative boundaries are often strikingly similar to landform boundaries. However, it is not well documented whether landforms exert an influence on the resistance of desert grassland to shrub encroachment. Dominant grassland communities have been displaced by woody shrubs over the last 150 years in the Jornada Basin, southern New Mexico. Digital vegetation maps from 1858, 1915–1916, 1928–1929, 1938, and 1998, in conjunction with a detailed landform map, were analyzed in a Geographical Information System. The generated time series maps and spatial data compiled from these datasets were used to quantify the extent and rate that grasslands were replaced by shrubs on eight contiguous landforms. From this assessment, we generated a resistance index that revealed desert grasslands were least resistant (most susceptible) to shrub expansion on sandy landforms and bajadas and most resistant to shrub invasion on ephemerally flooded playas. This study demonstrates that landforms both provide the broad-scale background for detailed mechanistic studies and affect the sensitivity of grasslands to shrub encroachment.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17445647.2012.727593.

URL/files/bibliography/12-027.pdf
DOI10.1080/17445647.2012.727593