Submitted to: Complete Book
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2005
Publication Date: 7/1/2006
Citation: Havstad, K.M., Huenneke, L.F., Schlesinger, W.H., editors. 2006. Structure and Function of a Chihuahuan Desert Ecosystem. The Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research Site. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press. 492 p.
Interpretive Summary: Interpretive summary not required.
Technical Abstract: This book is a synthesis of the arid rangeland research conducted in southern New Mexico for nearly a century. The Jornada Basin is truly a long-term research site, and this history is reflected in the databases described in many of the chapters in this book. Research in this basin formally began in 1912 with the creation by Presidential Order within the US Department of Agriculture of the 77,000-ha Jornada Range Reserve. Early publications, primarily USDA bulletins or journal articles in Ecology and the Botanical Gazette, appeared in print beginning in 1917. Researchers such as C.L. Forsling, J.T. Jardine, R.S. Campbell, and R.H. Canfield authored many of these early works, which are both classics in rangeland management and part of the foundation of studies decades later. The creation in 1927 of the Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center (initially known as the College Ranch) under the jurisdiction of New Mexico State University on 24,000 ha adjacent to the Jornada Range established the 101,000-ha area for long-term research in the basin that operates today. This history of research during the early twentieth century had numerous themes. Much of the early emphasis was on management related to agricultural production. Many of the principles that have been developed about livestock grazing management and rangeland improvement practices in the southwestern US and for arid lands in general can be traced to studies in the Jornada Basin. Yet, during these earlier decades there were also classic papers published on vegetation dynamics, resource redistribution, and small-mammal ecology. Over 40 years ago the first interdisciplinary studies were initiated; these studies served as a forerunner for the collaborative studies of the International Biological Programme (IBP) of the 1970s and those of the Jornada Basin that continue today. This 18-chapter book concludes with a description of future research for important issues in the twenty-first century