Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333941

Research Project: MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR CONSERVATION OF WESTERN RANGELANDS

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Resolving dust emission responses to land cover change using an ecological land classification

Author
item Galloza, Magda
item Webb, Nicholas - New Mexico State University
item Bleiweiss, Max - New Mexico State University
item Winters, Craig - Consultant
item Herrick, Jeffrey - Jeff
item Ayers, Eldon - New Mexico State University

Submitted to: Aeolian Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/20/2018
Publication Date: 3/2/2018
Citation: Galloza, M.S., Webb, N.P., Bleiweiss, M., Winters, C., Herrick, J.E., Ayers, E. 2018. Resolving dust emission responses to land cover change using an ecological land classification. Aeolian Research. 32:141-153. doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2018.03.001.

Interpretive Summary: Uncertainty in efforts to establish the effects of land cover change on wind erosion is large. We address this uncertainty by evaluating how ecological site concepts and state-and-transition models (STMs) can be used to describing the impacts of land cover change on wind erosion. We apply a dust emission model over a rangeland study area in the northern Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico, USA, and evaluate patterns of wind erosion in the context of ecological sites and their vegetation states; representing a diversity of land cover types. Our results show how the impacts of land cover change on dust emission can be quantified and compared across land cover classes. Our results also reveal the importance of established weaknesses in how the dust model represents soils and vegetation. We found the model was largely insensitive to land cover change. New models that address these weaknesses, coupled with ecological site concepts and field measurements across land cover types, could significantly reduce assessment uncertainties and provide opportunities for identifying land management options.

Technical Abstract: Despite efforts to quantify the impacts of land cover change on wind erosion, assessment uncertainty remains large. We address this uncertainty by evaluating the application of ecological site concepts and state-and-transition models (STMs) for detecting and quantitatively describing the impacts of land cover change on wind erosion. We apply a dust emission model over a rangeland study area in the northern Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico, USA, and evaluate spatiotemporal patterns of modelled horizontal sediment mass flux and dust emission in the context of ecological sites and their vegetation states; representing a diversity of land cover types. Our results demonstrate how the impacts of land cover change on dust emission can be quantified, compared across land cover classes, and interpreted in the context of an ecological model that encapsulates land management intensity and change. Results also reveal the importance of established weaknesses in the dust model soil characterisation and drag partition scheme, which were largely insensitive to the impacts of land cover change. New models that address these weaknesses, coupled with ecological site concepts and field measurements across land cover types, could significantly reduce assessment uncertainties and provide opportunities for identifying land management options.