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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Soil Survey Enhancements for Assessment, Monitoring, and Restoration: Big Bend National Park Case Study

Authors
item Tugel, Arlene - USDA-NRCS
item Loomis, Lynn - USDA-NRCS
item Dyess, Judith - USDA-NRCS
item Bestelmeyer, Brandon
item Herrick, Jeffrey
item Andrews, Susan - US SOIL TILTH LAB
item Peacock, George - USDA-NRCS
item Biggam, Pete - USDI-NPS

Submitted to: Chihuahuan Desert Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2004
Publication Date: October 15, 2004
Citation: Tugel, A.J., Loomis, L., Dyess, J., Bestelmeyer, B.T., Herrick, J.E., Andrews, S., Peacock, G., Biggam, P. 2004. Soil survey enhancements for assessment, monitoring, and restoration: Big Bend National Park case study [abstract]. Sixth Symposium on the Natural Resources of the Chihuahuan Desert Region, October 14-17, 2004, Alpine, Texas. p. 43.

Technical Abstract: Changes 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.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014