Submitted to: Ecological Society of America Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/12/2013
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Arid and semi-arid rangelands worldwide provide important ecosystem services and see a diversity of land uses. To maintain the health of these lands, it is necessary to monitor rangeland conditions in response to management and disturbance. Spatial patterns from disturbance are superimposed on patterns caused by interactions of static site characteristics (e.g., soils, topography) and dynamic processes (e.g., weather events, plant growth, other disturbances). This greatly complicates the ability to isolate and quantify effects of disturbance at site and landscape levels. In highly dynamic systems, disturbance effects may be undetected due to sampling at wrong spatial and temporal scales. Thus, understanding spatial patterns and temporal dynamics of an area is necessary for designing effective and efficient monitoring. We used a 12-year monitoring dataset and MODIS satellite vegetation index time series (8-day NDVI composites) from Otero Mesa, southern New Mexico, USA to look at the role of landscape-scale patterns and dynamics in detecting effects of three types of disturbance. Vegetation and soil indicators measured annually at 30 sites were compared for concentrated and dispersed linear disturbance and grazing treatments. These results were compared to NDVI measurements over the same period, and to estimates of spatio-temporal autocorrelation for the area.