Submitted to: Chihuahuan Desert Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2004
Publication Date: 10/15/2004
Citation: Monger, C., Gillette, D., Bestelmeyer, B.T. 2004. Broad-scale landscape, soil, and wind influences on fine-scale dynamics [abstract]. Sixth Symposium on the Natural Resources of the Chihuahuan Desert Region, October 14-17, 2004, Alpine, Texas. p. 35.
Technical Abstract: Desertification and other ecogeomorphic changes in the Chihuahuan Desert are connected to broad-scale landscape, soil, and wind drivers via fine-scale processes. Landscapes function as a driver by their lithic composition and topographic configuration. These impact water redistribution and wind movement across the landscape that influence soil patterns at the landscape scale. Strong winds in the Jornada Basin, for example, have decapitated sandy soils, formed erosional streets, pushed sand grains up the piedmont slope and over ridges into intermountain valleys where they have accumulated as thick, eolian deposits overlying bedrock. Fine-scale processes are influenced by these broad-scale drivers in several ways. Wind erosion, for instance, removes organic matter and coarsens soil texture, thereby lowering water-holding capacity, cation exchange capacity, and nutrient availability. Because such fine-scale processes exert important controls on plants, vegetation patterns at the landscape scale reflect patterns of the broad-scale drivers. Consequently, some ecogeomorphic conditions, such as black grama on sandy, eolian upland soils, are more prone to desertification than other conditions, like tobosa grass on silty, alluvial soils in run-in positions.