Impacts of interrelated biotic and abiotic processes during the past 125,000 years of landscape evolution in the Northern Mojave Desert, Nevada, USA

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Interrelated, biotic (flora and fauna) and abiotic (pedogenesis and hydrology) processes were examined at four sites (30, and approximately 1000-3000, 7000-12,000, and 125,000 years before present) in the northern Mojave Desert. Data collected at each included floral and faunal surveys; soil texture, structure, and morphology; and soil hydraulic properties. Separate measurements were made in shrub undercanopy and intercanopy microsites. At all sites, shrubs made up greater than 86 percent of total perennial cover, being least on the youngest site (4 percent) and most on the 7000-12,000-year-old site (31 percent). In the intercanopy, winter annual density was highest on the 1000- ... continued below

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Shafer, D.S.; Young, M.H.; Zitzer, S.F.; Caldwell, T.G. & McDonald, E.V. March 1, 2007.

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Interrelated, biotic (flora and fauna) and abiotic (pedogenesis and hydrology) processes were examined at four sites (30, and approximately 1000-3000, 7000-12,000, and 125,000 years before present) in the northern Mojave Desert. Data collected at each included floral and faunal surveys; soil texture, structure, and morphology; and soil hydraulic properties. Separate measurements were made in shrub undercanopy and intercanopy microsites. At all sites, shrubs made up greater than 86 percent of total perennial cover, being least on the youngest site (4 percent) and most on the 7000-12,000-year-old site (31 percent). In the intercanopy, winter annual density was highest on the 1000- to 3000-year-old site (249 plants/m{sup 2}) and lowest on the oldest site (4 plants/m{sup 2}). Faunal activity, measured by burrow density, was highest on the 1000-3000- and 7000-12,000-year-old sites (0.21 burrows/m{sup 2}) and density was twice as high in the undercanopy versus the intercanopy. Burrow density was lower at the two oldest sites, although density was not statistically greater in the undercanopy than intercanopy. At the older sites, the soil water balance was increasingly controlled by Av horizons in intercanopy soils in which saturated hydraulic conductivity (K{sub sat}) decreased 95 percent from the youngest to the oldest site. No significant reduction in K{sub sat} in undercanopy soils was observed. Decreases in the intercanopy sites correlated with decreases in annual plant density and bioturbation, suggesting these processes are interrelated with surface age.

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  • Journal Name: Journal of Arid Environments; Journal Volume: 69; Journal Issue: 4

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  • Report No.: JA-2007-001
  • Grant Number: AC52-06NA26383
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2006.11.011 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 900968
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc887998

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  • March 1, 2007

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 29, 2016, 2:14 p.m.

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Shafer, D.S.; Young, M.H.; Zitzer, S.F.; Caldwell, T.G. & McDonald, E.V. Impacts of interrelated biotic and abiotic processes during the past 125,000 years of landscape evolution in the Northern Mojave Desert, Nevada, USA, article, March 1, 2007; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc887998/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.