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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Agroecosystems Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #398391

Research Project: Sustainable and Resilient Cropping Systems for Midwestern Landscapes

Location: Agroecosystems Management Research

Title: Emergent role of critical interfaces in the dynamics of intensively managed landscapes

item KUMAR, PRAVEEN - University Of Illinois
item ANDERS, ALISON - University Of Illinois
item BAUER, ERIN - Illinois State Water Survey
item BLAIR, NEAL - Northwestern University
item CAIN, MOLLY - Indiana University
item DERE, ASHLEE - University Of Nebraska
item DRUHAN, JENNIFER - University Of Illinois
item FILLEY, TIMOTHY - University Of Oklahoma
item GIANNOPOULOS, CHRISTOS - University Of Tennessee
item GOODWELL, ALLISON - University Of Colorado
item GRIMLEY, DAVID - Illinois Water Survey
item KARWAN, DIANA - University Of Minnesota
item KEEFER, LAURA - Illinois State Water Survey
item KIM, JIEUN - Northwestern University
item MARINI, LUIGI - University Of Illinois
item MUSTE, MARIAN - University Of Iowa
item Papanicolaou, Athanasios - Thanos
item RHOADS, BRUCE - University Of Illinois
item RODRIGUEZ, LEILA CONSTANZA - University Of Illinois
item ROQUE-MALO, SUSANA - University Of Illinois
item SCHAEFFER, SEAN - University Of Tennessee
item STUMPF, ANDREW - Illinois State Geological Survey
item WARD, ADAM - Oregon State University

Submitted to: Earth-Science Reviews
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/14/2023
Publication Date: 8/28/2023
Citation: Kumar, P., Anders, A., Bauer, E., Blair, N.E., Cain, M., Dere, A., Druhan, J., Filley, T., Giannopoulos, C., Goodwell, A.E., Grimley, D., Karwan, D., Keefer, L.L., Kim, J., Marini, L., Muste, M., Papanicolaou, A.N., Rhoads, B.L., Rodriguez, L.H., Roque-Malo, S., Schaeffer, S., Stumpf, A., Ward, A. 2023. Emergent role of critical interfaces in the dynamics of intensively managed landscapes. Earth-Science Reviews. 244. Article 104543.

Interpretive Summary: Our work demonstrates the fundamental importance of landscape connectivity in dictating spatial and temporal patterns of mobilization and storage of sediment and particulate carbon across uplands, from uplands to channels, and between channels and floodplains. Therefore, an understanding of the controls on connectivity is required in order to understand sediment and carbon transport and storage. In the intensively managed Central Lowlands connectivity is dictated by both the inherited landscape morphology, which is a footprint of climate and geological coevolution, overlayed by human management. Connectivity varies in space and time and exhibits threshold behavior. This study provides a conceptual framework to evaluate how anthropogenic modifications of the landscape fundamentally altered spatial and temporal patterns of connectivity and changed the strength of the couplings between water, sediment, biota, and nutrient fluxes.

Technical Abstract: Critical zone embodies complex interactions involving transport of water, dissolved and suspended material, and gases that are a result of geologic structure and their chemical composition, biological activities from microbes to organisms and associated ecological communities, and geomorphological forms. These attributes are co-evolving through inter-dependencies that weave many space and time scales. In industrialized agricultural landscapes, these interactions are disrupted to derive agro-ecosystem services. However, these disruptions are not uniform across the landscape. We summarize findings from over eight years long study through the Intensively Managed Landscape Critical Zone Observatory, which indicates that the dynamics of intensively managed critical zones do not operate uniformly over time and space, and critical interfaces have a relatively large regulatory role in the storage, transport, and transformations of material and energy, often through threshold responses and intermittent connectivity between these interfaces. We show how these impact water, energy, carbon, nutrient and sediment dynamics. Anthropogenic impacts are continually and extensively altering the critical interfaces in these landscapes, and this understanding is crucial for sustainable management decisions.