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Jackson, Robert B

Increases in the abundance or density of woody plants in historically semiarid and arid grassland ecosystems have important ecological, hydrological, and socioeconomic implications. Using a simplified water-balance model, we propose a framework for conceptualizing how woody plant encroachment is likely to affect components of the water cycle within these ecosystems. We focus in particular on streamflow and the partitioning of evapotranspiration into evaporation and transpiration. On the basis of this framework, we suggest that streamflow and evaporation processes are affected by woody plant encroachment in different ways, depending on the degree and seasonality of aridity and the availability of subsurface water....
As the earth becomes a quilt of managed patches, ecohydrologists need to move from describing to predicting the consequences of human activities, using knowledge to improve human well-being. We highlight three current opportunities in ecohydrology. The first is the need for stronger research in arid and semi-arid ecosystems, where water is scarce and a tight coupling exists between hydrology and ecology. The second is to build better predictive frameworks for understanding the consequences of vegetation change. The new framework we propose here combines landscape connectivity, through recharge and discharge dynamics, with global climate. In systems where annual precipitation and evapotranspiration are similar, the...
In many temperate and annual grasslands, above-ground net primary productivity (NPP) can be estimated by measuring peak above-ground biomass. Estimates of below-ground net primary productivity and, consequently, total net primary productivity, are more difficult. We addressed one of the three main objectives of the Global Primary Productivity Data Initiative for grassland systems to develop simple models or algorithms to estimate missing components of total system NPP. Any estimate of below-ground NPP (BNPP) requires an accounting of total root biomass, the percentage of living biomass and annual turnover of live roots. We derived a relationship using above-ground peak biomass and mean annual temperature as predictors...
Root proliferation in nutrient-rich soil patches is an important mechanism facilitating nutrient capture by plants. Although the phenomenon of root proliferation is well documented, the specific timing of this proliferation has not been investigated. We studied the timing and degree of root proliferation for three perennial species common to the Great Basin region of North America: a shrub, Artemisia tridentata, a native tussock grass, Agropyron spicaturn, and an introduced tussock grass, Agropyron desertorum. One day after we applied nutrient solution to small soil patches, the mean relative growth rate of Agropyron desertorurn roots in these soil patches was two to four times greater than for roots of the same...
Increased nutrient availability reduces vesicular?arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) associations with plants, but whether increased nutrients in small volumes of soil affect local VAM colonization is not known. In a field experiment we investigated VAM colonization at different times following fertilization of small soil patches. Soil volumes of ~ 1000 cm3 were treated with a nutrient solution (enriched patch) or distilled water (control patch) on opposite sides of individual plants of the tussock grass Agropyron desertorum and the shrub Artemisia tridentata. Agropyron had significantly lower (p = 0.03) arbuscular infection in the locally enriched patches compared to control patches (32 and 40%, respectively). This reduced...
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