Developing an Understanding of Vegetation Change and Fluvial Carbon Fluxes in Semi-Arid Environments at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico: Rainfall Runoff Events

Summary

Abstract: 

Dryland environments are estimated to cover around 40% of the global land surface, and are home to approximately 2.4 billion people. Many of these areas have recently experienced extensive land degradation. This study focuses on semi-arid areas in the US Southwest, where degradation over the past 150 years has been characterized by the invasion of woody vegetation into areas previously dominated by grasslands. This vegetation change has been associated with increases in soil erosion and water quality problems, including the loss of key nutrients such as carbon from the soil to adjacent fluvial systems. Such loss of resources may impact heavily upon the amount of carbon that is lost as the land becomes more heavily degraded.

Therefore, understanding these vegetation transitions is significant both for sustainable land use and global biogeochemical cycling. This study uses an ecohydrological approach to develop an understanding of the relationship between structure and function across these transitions. This is done via the monitoring of rainfall-runoff events across instrumented runoff plots with different vegetation characteristics to investigate fluvial sediment fluxes during intense summer monsoon season rainfall events.

Data set ID: 

247
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Dates

Date Range: 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 to Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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Data Manager