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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #380559

Research Project: Science and Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Western Rangeland Systems

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Standardized aeolian transport observations to support local- to regional-scale modeling.

Author
item WEBB, NICHOLAS - NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY
item EDWARDS, BRANDON - NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY
item Van Zee, Justin
item Courtright, Ericha
item McCord, Sarah
item COOPER, BRAD - NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY
item DUNIWAY, MICHAEL - U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY (USGS)
item Huggins, David
item METZ, LORETTA - NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE (NRCS, USDA)
item Moriasi, Daniel
item Newingham, Beth
item Pierson, Fred
item Tatarko, John
item TEDELA, NEGUSSIE - BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
item Toledo, David
item Van Pelt, Robert - Scott
item Williams, Christopher - Jason

Submitted to: Association of American Geographers
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/5/2021
Publication Date: 5/20/2021
Citation: Webb, N., Edwards, B., Van Zee, J.W., Courtright, E.M., McCord, S.E., Cooper, B., Duniway, M., Huggins, D.R., Metz, L., Moriasi, D.N., Newingham, B.A., Pierson Jr, F.B., Tatarko, J., Tedela, N., Toledo, D.N., Van Pelt, R.S., Williams, C.J. 2021. Vegetation canopy gap size and height: critical indicators for wind erosion monitoring and management. Association of American Geographers. 76/78-83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2021.02.003.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2021.02.003

Interpretive Summary: Wind erosion can reduce the productivity of agroecosystems, affect human health, ecosystem services and climate. Wind erosion selectively removes fine soil particles, nutrients and carbon, which degrades air quality, reduces soil productivity and decreases ecosystem resilience to climate change. Wind erosion therefore influences the effectiveness of efforts to mitigate climate change and adapt agriculture to a changing climate. The ability to conveniently access information on soil erosion rates and interpret likely responses to management is critical for land managers to make informed selections of conservation practices. Further, evaluating erosion information in the context of other ecosystem services a key step for managers in identifying and addressing trade-offs among practices to meet management objectives. The National Wind Erosion Research Network, established in 2014 as a multi-partner effort with the USDA Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) network, supports new research into wind erosion across agroecosystems and the development of new tools and information to support management. We present an update on the development of an Aeolian Erosion (AERO) model using network data and its application to standardized vegetation monitoring datasets across western US rangelands. We describe the development of an online system that connects big monitoring datasets and AERO with ecological information to provide a framework for linking soil erosion information to conservation practices. Such a system will enable the display of dynamic (updateable) erosion information alongside other indicators of ecosystem services, as well as provide a rapid, low-cost assessment of where and when erosion could be a resource concern. We show how benchmarks established using AERO can help managers avoid crossing structural and functional thresholds in ecosystems that impact climate change mitigation and adaption efforts.

Technical Abstract: Managing wind erosion is an urgent challenge for maintaining productive agroecosystems, mitigating human risk, and maintaining ecosystem services under a changing climate. Wind erosion selectively removes fine soil particles, nutrients and carbon, which degrades air quality, reduces soil productivity and decreases ecosystem resilience to climate stressors. Wind erosion simultaneously impacts carbon stocks and carbon cycling, influences the efficacy of climate change mitigation, and reduces the potential benefits of adaptation strategies. The ability to conveniently access information on soil erosion rates and interpret likely responses to management is critical for land managers to make informed selections of conservation practices. The National Wind Erosion Research Network (NWERN), established in 2014 as a multi-partner effort with the USDA Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) network, supports new research into wind erosion across agroecosystems and the development of new tools and information to support management. The NWERN uses standardized protocols for data collection to address long-standing data quality and interoperability challenges in aeolian research. We present an overview of the NWERN and an update on the development of an Aeolian Erosion (AERO) model using standardized network data. We then describe how AERO is applied to large standardized vegetation monitoring datasets collected by land management agencies across the western US, and findings of new research leveraging the monitoring datasets and model to assess impacts of ecosystem disturbances on sediment transport and dust emissions.