|Brown, Joel - USDA-NRCS|
|Alexander, Robert - BLM|
|Chavez, George - USDA-NRCS|
Submitted to: Society for Range Management New Mexico Section Newsletter
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2001
Publication Date: April 1, 2001
Citation: BESTELMEYER, B.T., BROWN, J.R., HAVSTAD, K.M., ALEXANDER, R., CHAVEZ, G., HERRICK, J.E. AN APPROACH TO MANAGING LANDSCAPE PATTERN AND DYNAMICS IN SOUTHERN NEW MEXICO. AVAILABLE FROM: HTTP://AGECON.NMSU.EDU/NMSRM. SOCIETY FOR RANGE MANAGEMENT, NEW MEXICO SECTION NEWSLETTER. 2001. Technical Abstract: The ecological site concept of USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service provides a hierarchical framework for classifying and distinguishing landscape units differing in the processes that determine plant and animal community dynamics within units and that determine interactions among units. Ecological sites are based upon important differences in landscape position and inherent soil properties as defined by the responses of dominant plant species to variation in climate and management. Dominant plants, in turn, regulate several ecosystem attributes including dynamic soil properties. State-and-transition models represent theories about the positive feedbacks between plants and ecosystems and the causes of irreversible changes in plant and animal composition. An understanding of these causes is needed to avoid ecosystem degradation, to fairly evaluate and manage instances of degradation, and to promote remediation. Here, we describe our ongoing efforts to improve the ecological site classification system for the Chihuahuan Desert of southern New Mexico by integrating current approaches to community and landscape ecology with the historical perspective and practical experiences of land managers and ranchers. Our approach emphasizes an increased understanding of patterns of dispersal, establishment, and growth of dominant plants along landscape and climatic gradients.