Southwest Biological Science Center

Climate Change and Drought

Filter Total Items: 28
Date published: June 23, 2020
Status: Active

Genomic Research Supporting Western Conservation

In the western United States (U.S.), there are many regionally restricted, rare species resulting from complex demographic and ecological processes through time. In addition to the inherent risks associated with being rare (i.e., having few individuals spread over a limited area that could be disproportionately affected by chance events), anthropogenic disturbances are increasing in magnitude...

Date published: May 28, 2020
Status: Active

Genetics for Western Restoration and Conservation (GWRC)

Research using genetic principles, methods, and data provides critical information for restoration and conservation science. Genetic research may rely only upon genomic sequencing techniques, which generate abundant, genome-wide DNA sequences that can provide a glimpse into a species’ evolutionary history and adaptations. Genetic research may also look at an organism’s physical traits to...

Date published: February 13, 2020
Status: Active

Well Pad Reclamation and Research

Reclamation on lands impacted by energy development is complicated and extremely challenging in arid environments due to unstable soils, exotic species, and low and variable precipitation. The reclamation tactics employed by energy operators vary widely and outcomes can differ across plant communities and soil types. In order to address the knowledge gaps regarding how to successfully and...

Date published: September 27, 2019
Status: Active

Informing Seed Transfer Guidelines and Native Plant Materials Development: Research Supporting Restoration Across the Colorado Plateau and Beyond

As restoration needs for natural landscapes grow due to higher frequency and/or intensity disturbances, pressure from invasive species, and impacts resulting from changing climates, considerable time and resources are being invested to guide the development and deployment of native plant materials (NPMs). Across lower elevations of the Colorado Plateau, a region composed primarily of public...

Date published: February 25, 2019
Status: Active

Drylands are highly vulnerable to climate and land use changes: what ecosystem changes are in store?

Improper land use during drought has been a major driver of land degradation in drylands globally, especially in the western U.S.  Increasing aridity in western U.S. drylands under future climates will exacerbate risks associated with drought and land use decisions. This project provides critical observational, experimental, and modelling evidence to support our DOI partners with decision...

Date published: October 17, 2018
Status: Active

Digital Soil Mapping: New Tools for Modern Land Management Decisions

The field of digital soil mapping has bridged the classic theories of soil science into the modern computing age to produce high resolution predictive soil maps. This body of work utilizes classic soil factorial theory (soil = f[climate, organisms, relief (topography), parent material, time] + ɛ, or ‘clorpt’). The clorpt framework has been approximated using various environmental spatial data...

Date published: September 30, 2018
Status: Active

Wind Erosion and Dust Emissions on the Colorado Plateau

Wind erosion of soils and dust emissions are a significant resource management challenge on the Colorado Plateau. Loss of topsoil and associated aeolian sediment (wind-driven sediment) movement can lead to reduced soil fertility as well as abrasion and burial of vegetation. Dust in the atmosphere poses a threat to human health, visual resources, and regional water supplies (due to interactions...

Date published: September 16, 2018
Status: Active

Long-Term Vegetation Change on the Colorado Plateau

Drylands comprise ~35% of Earth’s terrestrial biomes, with over 1 billion people depending on these landscapes for their livelihoods. In the U.S., drylands comprise ~40% of the landmass and 83% of Department of Interior (DOI)-managed lands (excluding Alaska). Due to their vast extent nationally and globally, changes to these landscapes have the potential to affect global climate regulation. A...

Date published: August 5, 2017
Status: Active

RestoreNet: Distributed Field Trial Network for Dryland Restoration

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) researchers and land managers are co-producing a network of restoration field trial sites on DOI and surrounding lands in the southwestern U.S. The network systematically tests restoration treatments across a broad range of landscape, soil, and climate conditions. Each site in the network is used to test suitable seed mixes and treatments that promote plant...

Contacts: Seth Munson, Molly McCormick, Katie Laushman, Rebecca Mann, Mike Duniway, Ph.D., Brad Butterfield, Elise Gornish, Loralee Larios, Akasha Faist, Helen Rowe, Christopher Lortie, Caroline A. Havrilla
Date published: April 24, 2017

Colorado Plateau Futures: Understanding Agents of Change on the Colorado Plateau to Facilitate Collaborative Adaptation

The objective of this interdisciplinary research effort is to 1) characterize agents of change important to land management decision makers on the Colorado Plateau; 2) identify and analyze relationships between agents of change and key landscape attributes and processes; 3) collectively assess the influence of agents of change and attributes and processes on the services provided by the...

Date published: February 28, 2017
Status: Active

Southwest Energy Development and Drought (SWEDD)

Deserts of the southwestern US are replete with oil and gas deposits as well as sites for solar, wind, and geothermal energy production. In the past, many of these resources have been too expensive to develop, but increased demand and new technologies have led to an increase in exploration and development. However, desert ecosystems generally have low resilience to disturbance. More frequent,...

Date published: December 29, 2016

A Field Guide to Biological Soil Crusts of Western U.S. Drylands

Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are commonly found on the soil surface in arid and semi-arid ecosystems (collectively called drylands). Biocrusts can consist of mosses, cyanobacteria, lichens, algae, and microfungi, and they strongly interact with the soil. These organisms or consortium of disparate organisms, depending on the specific biocrust, are important to the functioning of...

Contacts: Jayne Belnap, Matthew Bowker