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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #342067

Research Project: MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR CONSERVATION OF WESTERN RANGELANDS

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Effect of climeodaphic heterogeneity on woody plant dominance in the Argentine Caldenal region

Author
item SVEJCAR, LAUREN - University Of Western Australia
item PEINETTI, RAUL - University Of La Pampa
item Bestelmeyer, Brandon

Submitted to: Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/2/2018
Publication Date: 6/1/2018
Citation: Svejcar, L., Peinetti, R., Bestelmeyer, B.T. 2018. Effect of climeodaphic heterogeneity on woody plant dominance in the Argentine Caldenal region. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 71:409-416. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2018.03.001.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2018.03.001

Interpretive Summary: Woody plant encroachment is widespread throughout drylands of the world, but rates and patterns of encroachment at the regional scale can be mediated by soil and climate. Climoedaphic properties may therefore help to explain patterns of woody plant dominance. In the Caldenal region of central Argentina, which is experiencing widespread woody plant encroachment, we used stratified and targeted inventory of vegetation and soils alongside climate data to classify vegetation states and then identify factors indicating resistance to woody plant encroachment. We found that three climoedaphic contexts differed in the degree of woody plant dominance. Sandsheet landforms had the lowest likelihood of a shrub thicket state. Within loamy soils, sites with deep soil carbonates in warmer and wetter climates were less likely to feature a shrub thicket state than sites with shallow carbonates in cooler and drier climates. These contexts serve as a basis for recognizing different ecological sites to assist mapping and prioritization of management interventions in the Caldenal region. Simple inventory-based approaches can be helpful for designing land management recommendations in other ecosystems.

Technical Abstract: Woody plant encroachment is widespread throughout drylands of the world, but rates and patterns of encroachment at the regional scale can be mediated by soil and climate. Climoedaphic properties may therefore help to explain patterns of woody plant dominance. In the Caldenal region of central Argentina, which is experiencing widespread woody plant encroachment, we used stratified and targeted inventory of vegetation and soils alongside climate data to classify ecological states and then identify factors suggesting resistance to woody plant encroachment. We found that three climoedaphic contexts differ in the degree of woody plant dominance. Sandsheet landforms had the lowest likelihood of a woody plant thicket state. Within loamy soils, sites with deep soil carbonates in warmer and wetter climates were less likely to feature a shrub thicket state than sites with shallow carbonates in cooler and drier climates. These contexts serve as a basis for recognizing different ecological sites to assist mapping and prioritization of management interventions in the Caldenal region. Simple inventory-based approaches can be helpful for designing land management recommendations in other ecosystems.