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Research Project: Understanding Water-Driven Ecohydrologic and Erosion Processes in the Semiarid Southwest to Improve Watershed Management

Location: Southwest Watershed Research Center

Title: Connectivity of surface susceptibility and physical processes regulates hydrologic and erosional responses of water-limited lands

Author
item Williams, Christopher - Jason
item Pierson, Fred
item AL-HAMDAN, O.Z. - West Texas A & M University
item Nouwakpo, Sayjro
item Newingham, Beth
item ROBICHAUD, P.R. - Us Forest Service (FS)
item Johnson, Justin
item HOWARD, BRIAN - University Of Nevada
item Polyakov, Viktor

Submitted to: Biological Engineering (ASABE)
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/12/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Water-limited lands around the world are undergoing transformative changes associated with shifting climate, plant community transitions, and altered disturbance regimes. Natural and induced disturbances on these landscapes commonly affect runoff and erosion dynamics through alteration of vegetation and ground cover patterns, associated soil properties and sediment availability, and connectivity of runoff and sediment sources and processes. Knowledge regarding these pattern-process or structural-functional relationships is critical in predicting potential landscape ecohydrologic responses to climate change, plant community dynamics, wildfire, land use, and management. Further, such knowledge also forms the basis for informing conceptual and quantitative models used to manage wildlands. In this presentation, we discuss advances in knowledge of important structural-functional ecohydrologic relationships based on more than a decade of field experiments and modeling studies spanning shrublands, woodlands, and dry forests in the western US. The study domain includes disturbances such as wildfire, prescribed fire, woody plant encroachment, and various land management practices. The experiments address both short- and long-term ecohydrologic responses to natural and induced perturbations and provide insight regarding potential landscape responses to ongoing broad-scale ecological changes occurring on water-limited lands around the world.

Technical Abstract: Water-limited lands around the world are undergoing transformative changes associated with shifting climate, plant community transitions, and altered disturbance regimes. Natural and induced disturbances on these landscapes commonly affect runoff and erosion dynamics through alteration of vegetation and ground cover patterns, associated soil properties and sediment availability, and connectivity of runoff and sediment sources and processes. Knowledge regarding these pattern-process or structural-functional relationships is critical in predicting potential landscape ecohydrologic responses to climate change, plant community dynamics, wildfire, land use, and management. Further, such knowledge also forms the basis for informing conceptual and quantitative models used to manage wildlands. In this presentation, we discuss advances in knowledge of important structural-functional ecohydrologic relationships based on more than a decade of field experiments and modeling studies spanning shrublands, woodlands, and dry forests in the western US. The study domain includes disturbances such as wildfire, prescribed fire, woody plant encroachment, and various land management practices. The experiments address both short- and long-term ecohydrologic responses to natural and induced perturbations and provide insight regarding potential landscape responses to ongoing broad-scale ecological changes occurring on water-limited lands around the world.