Sevilleta LTER Vegetation Demography Study:1989-1993

This project was designed to investigate the response of plant growth and reproduction to short- and long-term variation in biotic and abiotic environmental variables. Several perennial taxa, including tree (Juniperus monsperma and Pinus edulis), shrub (Larrea tridentata) and bunch grasses (Oryzopsis hymenoides (nowAchnaterum hymenoides) and Sporobolus contractus) species, were monitored at 1-3 sites differing in elevation and topography as well as edaphic variables and annual precipitation.

The sites represented optimal or marginal/transitional zones for particular species. Demographic measurements were made biannually, after the 'wet' (fall) and 'dry' (spring) seasons. For tree and shrub species, estimates of growth and reproduction were based on branch demography, with ten branch tips from 10-20 individuals per species per site repeatedly measured from 1989-1993.  For J. monspermaP. edulis and L. tridentata, vegetative growth (i.e., branch growth) as well as reproduction were monitored. Additional measurements included needle length for P. edulisand leaf production, leaf size and branchlet production for L. tridentata. For grasses, basal diameter, leaf length and reproduction were monitored for 100 individuals per species per site.