Soil survey enhancements for assessment, monitoring, and restoration: Big Bend National Park case study

TitleSoil survey enhancements for assessment, monitoring, and restoration: Big Bend National Park case study
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsTugel A.J., Loomis L., Dyess J., Bestelmeyer BT, Herrick JE, Andrews S., Peacock G., Biggam P.
Conference NameSixth Symposium on the Natural Resources of the Chihuahuan Desert Region
Date PublishedOctober 15, 2004
Conference LocationAlpine, Texas
ARIS Log Number171335
Keywordsassessment, Big Bend National Park, monitoring, near-surface soil, restoration, soil properties, soil survey
AbstractChanges in near-surface dynamic soil properties should be considered when selecting locations for assessment, monitoring, and restoration. However, soil surveys do not currently provide information about the historical or expected dynamics of soil properties in response to management and disturbances. A preliminary study in the Chihuahuan Desert for selected, dynamic soil properties was conducted by the NRCS soil survey crew working at Big Bend National Park, Texas. The soil survey map, ecological site description, and state-and-transition model were used to select plots on the same ecological site. Soil and vegetation measurements included bulk density, salinity, pH, organic and inorganic carbon, soil surface stability, infiltration, canopy cover, and canopy gap. Comparisons were made among ecological states within an ecological site. Mean values for bulk density, salinity, organic carbon, soil surface stability, and the variance of soil organic carbon and salinity differed significantly among ecological states. However, differences in means for bulk density and inorganic carbon may not be functionally significant. The state-and transition-model was used to help explain relationships among data and the data were used to validate the model. Information about the spatial heterogeneity and temporal dynamics of near-surface soil properties should be added to soil surveys to provide data needed by land manager. Dynamic soil property data in conjunction with traditional soil survey information can be used to interpret results of assessments and monitoring, select restorable sites, and develop treatment alternatives.