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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Nonlinear Dynamics in Arid and Semi-Arid Systems: Interactions among Drivers and Processes Across Scales

Authors
item Peters, Debra
item Havstad, Kris

Submitted to: Journal of Arid Environments
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 26, 2005
Publication Date: April 1, 2006
Citation: Peters, D.P.C., Havstad, K.M. 2006. Nonlinear dynamics in arid and semi-arid systems: Interactions during drivers and processes across scales. Journal of Arid Environments. 65:196-206.

Interpretive Summary: We discuss a new conceptual framework for arid and semiarid systems that accounts for nonlinear dynamics and interactions across spatial and temporal scales in explaining landscape scale patterns and dynamics. Our framework includes five key interacting components: (1) historical legacies of climate, disturbance, and management regimes, (2) patterns in ecological variables and spatial context, (3) vertical and horizontal transport processes (wind, water, animals), (4) the rate, direction, and amount of resource redistribution, and (5) feedback mechanisms among plants, animals, and soils. We illustrate how this framework can be used to understand, forecast, and manage ecological systems that exhibit nonlinear dynamics. This paper provides the foundation for a series of papers from the Jornada Experimental Range ARS-LTER research site in southern New Mexico, USA that support this new conceptual framework.

Technical Abstract: We discuss a new conceptual framework for arid and semiarid systems that accounts for nonlinear dynamics and cross scale interactions in explaining landscape patterns and dynamics. Our framework includes a spatial and temporal hierarchy, and five key interacting components that connect scales of the hierarchy: (1) historical legacies that include climate, disturbance, and management regimes, (2) dynamic template of patterns in ecological variables and spatial context, (3) vertical and horizontal transport processes (fluvial, aeolian, animal), (4) the rate, direction, and amount of resource redistribution between high and low resource areas, and (5) feedbacks among plants, animals, and soils. We illustrate how this framework can be used to understand, forecast, and manage ecological systems that exhibit nonlinear dynamics across a range of spatial and temporal scales. This paper provides the foundation for a series of papers from the Jornada Experimental Range ARS-LTER research site in southern New Mexico, USA that support this new conceptual framework.

Last Modified: 11/22/2014