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Piñon–juniper is a major vegetation type in western North America. Effective management of these ecosystems has been hindered by inadequate understanding of 1) the variability in ecosystem structure and ecological processes that exists among the diverse combinations of piñons, junipers, and associated shrubs, herbs, and soil organisms; 2) the prehistoric and historic disturbance regimes; and 3) the mechanisms driving changes in vegetation structure and composition during the past 150 yr. This article summarizes what we know (and don't know) about three fundamentally different kinds of piñon–juniper vegetation. Persistent woodlands are found where local soils, climate, and disturbance regimes are favorable...
Science is frequently touted as the solution to dryland management problems, yet most management decisions are, by necessity, based primarily on expert knowledge and experience. This paper describes an integrated framework for organizing, synthesizing, and applying our growing understanding of aridland ecosystems using a flexible, multi-objective assessment, monitoring, and management approach. The framework is dual-purpose: (1) to coordinate the use of existing tools, resources, and diffuse knowledge, and (2) to facilitate the integration and application of new knowledge as it is developed. In particular, this framework must facilitate the integration of new knowledge about linkages among landscape units across...