Location: Range Management ResearchTitle: Generalizing ecological site concepts of the Colorado Plateau for landscape-level applications
|Duniway, Michael - Us Geological Survey (USGS)|
|Nauman, Travis - Us Geological Survey (USGS)|
|Johanson, Jamin - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)|
|Green, Shane - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)|
|Miller, Mark - National Park Service|
|Williamson, Jeb - New Mexico State University|
Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/10/2016
Publication Date: 12/20/2016
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5570587
Citation: Duniway, M., Nauman, T., Johanson, J., Green, S., Miller, M.E., Williamson, J.C., Bestelmeyer, B.T. 2016. Generalizing ecological site concepts of the Colorado Plateau for landscape-level applications. Rangelands. 38:342-349.
Interpretive Summary: Numerous ecological site descriptions in the southern Utah portion of the Colorado Plateau can be difficult to navigate, so we held a workshop aimed at adding value and functionality to the current ecological site system. We created new groups of ecological sites and drafted state-and-transition models for these new groups. We were able to distill the current large number of ecological sites in the study area (ca. 150) into eight ecological site groups that capture important variability in ecosystem dynamics. Several inventory and monitoring programs and landscape scale planning actions will likely benefit from more generalized ecological site group concepts.
Technical Abstract: The Colorado Plateau is an iconic landscape of the American West— containing dozens of national parks, monuments, historic sites, and several UNESCO World Heritage Sites— including some of the Nation’ s most recognizable landmarks, such as the Grand Canyon and the Arches National Park. The concentration of outdoor destinations has led to a rapid increase in recreational tourism on the Plateau— visitation to the Arches National Park has nearly doubled over the last 15 years. Energy development (mostly oil and gas) has also accelerated in recent years, with a threefold increase in drilling rates in Utah between 2000 and 2008. Agriculture has been an important activity in the region from the prehistoric ages to modern times, with irrigated agriculture carried out in locations with suitable soils and water and domestic livestock grazing (primarily cattle) occurring across the majority of the region. Management of these co-occurring land uses are complicated by forecasts of a more arid and variable climate in the southwestern United States.