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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Tucson, Arizona » SWRC » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #337824

Research Project: Soil Erosion, Sediment Yield, and Decision Support Systems for Improved Land Management on Semiarid Rangeland Watersheds

Location: Southwest Watershed Research Center

Title: Hydrology and erosion in Pinyon and Juniper woodlands of the Great Basin and implications for management 2352

Author
item Williams, Christopher - Jason
item Pierson, Fred

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/27/2016
Publication Date: 1/29/2017
Citation: Williams, C.J., Pierson Jr, F.B. 2017. Hydrology and erosion in Pinyon and Juniper woodlands of the Great Basin and implications for manaagement. Presented in Symposium: Pinyon and Juniper Woodlands in the Great Basin and Colorado Plateua: Natural History, Ecology, and Management, at the 70th Annual Society for Range Management Meeting, Red Rock and Rangelands, January 29-February 2, 2017, St. George, UT. (Invited).Symposium Abstract 5-09:20.

Interpretive Summary: The expansion of pinyon and juniper woodlands in the western US and the associated ecological implications have been well reported in the literature. Primary concerns regarding woodland expansion include the degree to which this vegetation type conversion alters hydrologic processes, the annual water balance, and erosion rates and whether these respective changes perpetuate long-term site degradation and a reduction in delivery of ecosystem goods and services. A key attribute of these systems is that vegetation amount and structure strongly regulate hydrologic function and erosion processes, and, in turn, hydrology exerts substantial influence on the amount and structure of vegetation. In this presentation, we discuss the hydrologic function of pinyon and juniper woodlands in the context of vegetation-hydrology interactions and the potential ecohydrologic responses of these communities to management. We use a suite of experimental data, model results, and inferences from literature to describe hydrology and erosion processes of woodlands across the point to small watershed scales, with an emphasis on the hillslope scale. We also present experimental results from multiple studies that chronicle short- and long-term vegetation, hydrology, and erosional responses of woodlands following conservation practices. Collectively, this work provides an overview of pinyon and juniper woodland hydrology with implications for management of this expanding vegetation type.

Technical Abstract: The expansion of pinyon and juniper woodlands in the western US and the associated ecological implications have been well reported in the literature. Primary concerns regarding woodland expansion include the degree to which this vegetation type conversion alters hydrologic processes, the annual water balance, and erosion rates and whether these respective changes perpetuate long-term site degradation and a reduction in delivery of ecosystem goods and services. A key attribute of these systems is that vegetation amount and structure strongly regulate hydrologic function and erosion processes, and, in turn, hydrology exerts substantial influence on the amount and structure of vegetation. In this presentation, we discuss the hydrologic function of pinyon and juniper woodlands in the context of vegetation-hydrology interactions and the potential ecohydrologic responses of these communities to management. We use a suite of experimental data, model results, and inferences from literature to describe hydrology and erosion processes of woodlands across the point to small watershed scales, with an emphasis on the hillslope scale. We also present experimental results from multiple studies that chronicle short- and long-term vegetation, hydrology, and erosional responses of woodlands following conservation practices. Collectively, this work provides an overview of pinyon and juniper woodland hydrology with implications for management of this expanding vegetation type.