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Title: Integrating dynamic soil and vegetation properties into ecosystem service-based state and transition models to guide rangeland management

item Roche, Leslie
item Tate, Kenneth
item O'geen, Anthony
item Eviner, Valerie
item Derner, Justin
item George, Melvin

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/31/2010
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: California’s annual rangelands cover approximately 6.4 million hectares, and produce 70% of the state’s forage base. This ecosystem supports more than 300 vertebrate, 5000 invertebrate, and 2000 plant species. Annual rangeland soils have the capacity to support high primary productivity, accumulate significant belowground organic matter, and sequester carbon. Widespread degradation of these annual rangelands is driven by: 1) Blue oak (Quercus douglasii) tree removal for fuel wood and increased livestock carrying capacity; 2) Persistent weed invasion; and 3) Improper grazing management (e.g., continuous heavy wet season grazing). These drivers create conditions that may deliver different levels of ecological services. State and transition models have been utilized to catalog ecological information and assess management risks and benefits on rangeland sites. These models are one approach to describing the various states that a particular site can achieve, the forces which transition a site between states, and the role range management plays in the process. In the oak rangeland ecological sites of the Sierra Nevada foothills, development of state and transition models has been based upon vegetation properties, with little integration of soil change and ecosystem services derived from plant-soil interactions (e.g., carbon sequestration, biodiversity). We will discuss the integration of dynamic soil and vegetation properties into ecosystem service-based state and transition models for oak rangeland ecological sites. We will present data supporting the: 1) Identification of cost-effective and easily measurable proxies for dynamic soil and vegetation properties supporting key ecosystem services; 2) Identification of ecologically unique sites and states based upon plant-soil dependent ecosystem services; 3) Quantification of associations between proxies/properties, ecosystem services, and common oak and grazing management scenarios to assess potential for management; and 4) Determination of ecological resilience of sites and states to grazing management.