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Richard T Conant

Previous research suggests that soil organic C pools may be a feature of semiarid regions that are particularly sensitive to climatic changes. We instituted an 18-mo experiment along an elevation gradient in northern Arizona to evaluate the influence of temperature, moisture, and soil C pool size on soil respiration. Soils, from underneath different tree canopy types and interspaces of three semiarid ecosystems, were moved upslope and/or downslope to modify soil climate. Soils moved downslope experienced increased temperature and decreased precipitation, resulting in decreased soil moisture and soil respiration (as much as 23 and 20%, respectively). Soils moved upslope to more mesic, cooler sites had greater soil...
Soil respiration in semiarid ecosystems responds positively to temperature, but temperature is just one of many factors controlling soil respiration. Soil moisture can have an overriding influence, particularly during the dry/warm portions of the year. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the influence of soil moisture on the relationship between temperature and soil respiration. Soil samples collected from a range of sites arrayed across a climatic gradient were incubated under varying temperature and moisture conditions. Additionally, we evaluated the impact of substrate quality on short-term soil respiration responses by carrying out substrate-induced respiration assessments for each soil at nine different...
The Great Plains region plays an important role in providing water and land resources and habitat for wildlife and livestock, crops, energy production, and other critical ecosystem services to support rural livelihoods. The semiarid conditions of the region and tight coupling of livelihood enterprises with ecosystem services creates a situation of increased sensitivity to climate changes and enhanced vulnerability among the rural communities and Native American nations across the region. Recent climate conditions associated with warming trends, and altered atmospheric flows have resulted in rapid onset of drought conditions and other extreme weather events across the region that are changing seasonal patterns of...
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