Submitted to: Ecological Society of America Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2000
Publication Date: August 6, 2000
Citation: HERRICK, J.E. RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN SOIL ORGANIC MATTER DYNAMICS AND DISTURBANCE REGIME AND APPLICATIONS TO MONITORING AND MODELING VEGETATION CHANGE. 85TH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE ECOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA. 2000. ABSTRACT P. 404. Technical Abstract: Soil organic matter is widely cited as a key ecosystem property which both affects and reflects water and nutrient storage and redistribution. Relationships between soil organic matter and soil structure in arid ecosystems and the effects of soil biota and disturbance are poorly understood. Our research is designed to develop an understanding of how interactions between plants, soil organic matter and soil biota affect patch-scale soil water infiltration and storage under different disturbance regimes and how variability in these processes across the landscape contributes to resource redistribution and vegetation patterns. We are applying this understanding to the development of (1) a quantitative monitoring system for grassland, shrubland and savanna ecosystems, (2) a spatially interactive gap dynamics model (ECOTONE see Peters and Herrick poster), and (3) ecologically-based remediation approaches for degraded rangeland. Our results show termites, ants and microbiotic crusts contribute significantly to the spatial variability of water infiltration and runoff and the resistance and resilience of soil properties and processes are strongly dependent on both soil type and the soil biotic community. The monitoring system includes a suite of rapid soil and vegetation indicators selected and applied on a site-specific basis and interpreted in a landscape context.