Southwest Biological Science Center

Land Use and Energy Development

Filter Total Items: 17
Cattle behind a fence in a dry environment containing few plants and a lot of exposed soil.
Date Published: August 5, 2017

Distributed Field Trial Network for Dryland Restoration

Recovery from disturbance represents a substantial challenge to agencies that manage large tracts of land in the Southwest. Despite the demand for restoration and rehabilitation, little information is available to help managers effectively reestablish native perennial vegetation and stabilize soils, especially given changing climate and disturbance regimes.

Forestry and agriculture have...

Contacts: Molly McCormick, Seth Munson, Brad Butterfield
Delicate Arch, a sandstone arch, at Arches National Park
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...

Drill rig in the distance off a dirt road in a semi-aid system.
Date Published: February 28, 2017

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,...

A view of Glen Canyon Dam from the Colorado River
Date Published: February 28, 2017

Amazon Dams Network: Advancing Integrative Research and Adaptive Management of Social-Ecological Systems Transformed by Hydroelectric Dams

The overall goal of this project is to advance inter- and trans-disciplinary research coordination, focusing on the transformation of social-ecological systems by hydroelectric dam construction in the Amazon and the United States. The experience gained by Southwest Biological Science Center researchers working on the...

Contacts: Theodore Melis, Simone Athyade, Bette Loiselle, David Kaplan, Stephanie Bohlmann
Arizona map depicting the number of bat species found across Arizona.
Date Published: February 14, 2017

Informing Renewable Energy Development Siting Decisions with Vertebrate Biodiversity Measures

Renewable energy development is expanding in southwestern deserts, including in Arizona. Energy developers look to resource management agencies to provide siting guidance on public lands where there might be conflicts with wildlife. Often, agency guidance considers species of conservation concern and economic importance, but information on comprehensive vertebrate biodiversity has been hard to...

Agave plants in a field
Date Published: December 30, 2016

Biofuels in the Southwest

Concerns about energy security and rising greenhouse gas emissions have stimulated an unprecedented increase in the push for alternative energy use, including the use of plant biomass as a source of renewable energy (bioenergy). However, meeting alternative energy goals, while also meeting food demands and mitigating potential detrimental effects of industrialized agriculture, has emerged as a...

Contacts: Sasha C Reed
Healthy dryland vegetation and biocrusts in Utah. Biocrusts are the darker colored patches between the bunches of grasses.
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
A wheat field (right panel) adjacent to a grassland (left panel) that was restored
Date Published: December 16, 2016

Restoration and Ecosystem Recovery Dynamics in Arid and Semiarid Landscapes

Dryland regions have been degraded by invasive species, wildfire, overgrazing, agricultural conversion, energy development, recreational activity, and urban growth. These disturbances and others are accelerated by one of the fastest growing human populations in the country and a pressing background of decreasing water availability due to drought and elevated temperatures that are projected to...

Contacts: Seth Munson
Anglers departing the boat dock at Lees Ferry, AZ with canyon walls in the background.
Date Published: December 15, 2016

Economics of Outdoor Recreation

Economic research at Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center is used to determine economic benefits of outdoor recreation in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area below Glen Canyon Dam and in Grand Canyon National Park, as affected by operation of Glen Canyon Dam. This research identifies recreationists’ preferences for attributes associated with their trips, spending that occurs regionally...

Contacts: Lucas Bair
Close-up of a small Pima pineapple cactus in coarse-textured soil in the desert.
Date Published: December 14, 2016

Endangered Cacti in Arizona

Arizona is the home to at least 10 cacti that are listed as endangered, threatened, or under conservation agreement. Land use and management activities that occur on federal, and to some extent state, lands on which the cacti occur require consultation among the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency (USFWS), the agency managing the land on which the cacti is growing, and the party proposing an...

RAMPS scientist meeting with two land managers in arid shrubland
Date Published: December 9, 2016

Restoration Assessment & Monitoring Program for the Southwest (RAMPS)

The Restoration Assessment and Monitoring Program for the Southwest (RAMPS) seeks to assist U.S. Department of the Interior and other land management agencies and private partners in developing successful restoration strategies for dryland ecosystems of the southwestern United States. Invasive species, fire, urban expansion, and other disturbances have degraded southwestern ecosystems. In...

Contacts: Molly McCormick, Seth Munson, John Bradford, Brad Butterfield
A terrapin (turtle) walking on moist soil and leaf litter
Date Published: December 8, 2016

Turtle Ecology

Turtles are among the most recognizable and iconic of animals. Any animal with a shell and a backbone is a turtle whether they are called turtles, tortoises, or terrapins. In fact, terrapin is an Algonquian Native American name for turtle. Worldwide there are 356 turtle species on all continents except for Antarctica. The United States has more species than any other country with about 62 ...