Spatial heterogeneity of dynamic soil properties for management and restoration of desert landscapes

TitleSpatial heterogeneity of dynamic soil properties for management and restoration of desert landscapes
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsTugel A.J., Loomis L., Andrews S., Dyess J., Bestelmeyer BT, Herrick JE, Peacock G., Biggam P.
Conference Name89th Annual Meeting, Ecological Society of America
Date PublishedAugust 1, 2004
Conference LocationPortland, OR
ARIS Log Number168840
Keywordsdesert landscapes, management, rangelands, restoration, soil, vegetation
AbstractRestoration of rangelands requires information about the temporal dynamics of soil and vegetation. However, soil survey databases do not provide information about the historical or expected dynamics of soil properties in response to management and disturbances. Information about the temporal nature of soil and its heterogeneity at multiple scales requires new soil survey methods for gathering and reporting soil and vegetation dynamics. A preliminary study in the Chihuahuan Desert for the collection of dynamic soil properties was conducted by the NRCS soil survey crew at Big Bend National Park, Texas. The soil survey map, ecological site description and state-and-transition model were used to select plots. State-and-transition models were also used to illustrate relationships among data. Soil and vegetation measurements included bulk density, salinity, pH, carbon, soil surface stability, canopy cover and canopy gap. Soil surface stability, bulk density and electrical conductivity differed significantly among ecological states. However, differences for bulk density and salinity may not be functionally significant. Near-surface soil property information can provide additional information about the consequences of degradation as well as insight to the feasibility of restoration success.