Brandon Bestelmeyer

Jornada People

Research Leader
Co-PI, Jornada Basin LTER
Adjunct Faculty, Departments of Biology and Plant and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State University


Primary Research Interests

My work addresses the causes and management implications of ecosystem dynamics in drylands and other ecological systems. I study processes at several spatial scales as a basis for understanding the formation and maintenance of alternative ecosystem states. I link research to management applications including “ecological site” land classifications, assessment and monitoring tools, and evaluations of restoration effects. This work has involved measurements and analysis of plant and animal community pattern and dynamics, plant growth/reproduction, characterization of soil surface and soil profile properties, mapping of vegetation, and social-ecological system perspectives. Applications are focused on US land management agencies and institutions in Mongolia, China, and Argentina.

Professional Experience

  • 2016 to present - Research Leader, Range Management Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • 2003 to 2016 - Research Ecologist, Range Management Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • 2000 to 2003 - Postdoctoral Ecologist, Range Management Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Las Cruces, NM


  • 2000 - Ph.D. in Ecology from Colorado State University
  • 1994 - M.S. in Zoology from Colorado State University
  • 1990 - B.S. in Biological Science from University of California, Irvine
  • 1990 - B.A. in Applied Ecology from University of California, Irvine

Synergistic Activities

  • Editorial Boards: Ecosystems, Restoration Ecology, The Rangeland Journal, Journal of Arid Environments
  • UNCCD Committee on Science and Technology Working Group 2
  • Consultant for Swiss Development Corporation Green Gold Pasture Management Program, Mongolia
  • Consultant for USDA NRCS on national ecological site description effort
  • Science committee of the Ecological Society of America, 2013-2016

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