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Research Project: MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR CONSERVATION OF WESTERN RANGELANDS

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Beyond desertification: New paradigms for dryland landscapes

Author
item Peters, Debra - Deb
item Havstad, Kris
item Archer, Steven - University Of Arizona
item Sala, Osvaldo - Arizona State University

Submitted to: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/2/2014
Publication Date: 2/2/2015
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/60367
Citation: Peters, D.C., Havstad, K.M., Archer, S.R., Sala, O.E. 2015. Beyond desertification: New paradigms for dryland landscapes. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 13:4-12.

Interpretive Summary: The dryland desertification paradigm focuses on losses of ecosystem services accompanying transitions from grasslands to systems dominated by bare ground or woody plants unpalatable for domestic livestock. However, recent studies reveal complex transitions across a range of environmental conditions and socioeconomic contexts. Papers in this Special Issue illustrate how an understanding of these dynamics is generating more ecologically robust paradigms where state- and regime-changes occur within the context of land use against a backdrop of climate change, and are modified by landform and antecedent conditions. New and emerging technologies integrate processes and outcomes across a range of scales and levels of organization. Concurrent developments in education are using these new perspectives to improve the ecological literacy of future generations. A framework that integrates these new paradigms will improve understanding and prediction of dryland dynamics across spatial and temporal scales.

Technical Abstract: The dryland desertification paradigm focuses on losses of ecosystem services accompanying transitions from grasslands to systems dominated by bare ground or woody plants unpalatable for domestic livestock. However, recent studies reveal complex transitions across a range of environmental conditions and socioeconomic contexts. Papers in this Special Issue illustrate how an understanding of these dynamics is generating more ecologically robust paradigms where state- and regime-changes occur within the context of land use against a backdrop of climate change, and are modified by landform and antecedent conditions. New and emerging technologies integrate processes and outcomes across a range of scales and levels of organization. Concurrent developments in education are using these new perspectives to improve the ecological literacy of future generations. A framework that integrates these new paradigms will improve understanding and prediction of dryland dynamics across spatial and temporal scales.