Nutrient cycling within an arid ecosystem

TitleNutrient cycling within an arid ecosystem
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsSchlesinger W.H., Tartowski, Sandy L., Schmidt S.M.
EditorHavstad K, Huenneke L., Schlesinger W.H.
Book TitleStructure and Function of a Chihuahuan Desert Ecosystem. The Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research Site
PublisherOxford University Press
CityNew York, NY
ARIS Log Number182741
Keywordscycling, erosion, Jornada, nutrient, semiarid, soil
AbstractIn arid and semiarid lands, soil erosion by wind is an important process that affects both the surface features and the biological potential of the ecosystem. The eolian flux of soil nutrients into or out of an ecosystem results in enrichment or impoverishment of its biological potential. In the Jornada Basin, wind erosion is the only significant mechanism for the net loss of soil materials because fluvial processes do not remove materials from the basin. Vigorous wind erosion leads to topographic changes, altering the growing conditions for plants and animals. Examples of such changes in topography are the formation of sand dunes or the removal of whole soil horizons. Our goal in this chapter is to describe the construction of a mathematical model for wind erosion and dust production for the Jornada Basin. The model attempts to answer the following questions:1. Which soils are affected by wind erosion?2. How does wind erosion occur on Jornada soils?3. Does changing vegetation cover lead to a change in the source/sink relationship? 4. Is the Jornada a source or sink of eolian materials? If it is a source, what materials are lost?5. How does wind erosion change the soil-forming process?