Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2005
Publication Date: 7/1/2006
Citation: Bestelmeyer, B.T., Brown, J.R., Havstad, K.M., Fredrickson, E.L. 2006. A holistic view of an arid ecosystem: a synthesis of research and its applications. In: Havstad, K.M., Huenneke, L.F., Schlesinger, W.H., editors. Structure and Function of a Chihuahuan Desert Ecosystem. The Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research Site. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 354-368.
Interpretive Summary: The book chapter reviews and synthesizes Jornada LTER research to date.
Technical Abstract: A primary objective of the Jornada Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program has been to provide a broad view of desert grassland ecology. Early architects of the LTER program felt that existing ecological datasets were usually of too short a duration and represented too few ecosystem components to provide a foundation for predicting dynamics in response to disturbances (NSF 1979). This recognition gave rise to the LTER approach—using long-term and multidisciplinary research at particular places to advance a holistic and broad-scale, but also mechanistic, view of ecological dynamics. Such a view is essential to applying ecological research to natural resources management (Golley 1993; Li 2000). In this synthesis chapter we ask: What has this approach taught us about the structure and function of a desert grassland ecosystem? How should this knowledge change the way we manage arid ecosystems? What gaps in our knowledge still exist and why?