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The cold deserts of the Colorado Plateau contain numerous geologically and geochemically distinct sedimentary bedrock types. In the area near Canyonlands National Park in Southeastern Utah, geochemical variation in geologic substrates is related to the depositional environment with higher concentrations of Fe, Al, P, K, and Mg in sediments deposited in alluvial or marine environments and lower concentrations in bedrock derived from eolian sand dunes. Availability of soil nutrients to vegetation is also controlled by the formation of secondary minerals, particularly for P and Ca availability, which, in some geologic settings, appears closely related to variation of CaCO3 and Ca-phosphates in soils. However, the results...
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Aeolian dust strongly influences ecology and landscape geochemistry over large areas that span several desert ecosystems of the southwestern United States. This study evaluates spatial and temporal variations and trends of the physical and chemical properties of dust in the southwestern United States by examining dust deposited in natural depressions on high isolated surfaces along a transect from the Mojave Desert to the central Colorado Plateau. Aeolian dust is recognized in these depressions on the basis of textural, chemical, isotopic, and mineralogical characteristics and comparisons of those characteristics to the underlying bedrock units. Spatial and temporal trends suggest that although local dust sources...
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Over the last century there has been marked expansion and infilling of pinyon (Pinus spp.)–juniper (Juniperus spp.) woodlands into grassland and shrubland ecosystems across the western United States. Although range expansions in pinyon-juniper populations have been documented with changing climate throughout the Holocene, over the last century, local scale impacts such as livestock grazing, changes in fire regimes, and increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations are thought to be more recent drivers of pinyon-juniper woodland distribution. Our objective was to examine the role of historical livestock grazing relative to past climate in regulating pinyon (Pinus edulis Engelm.) recruitment and growth over the last...
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Over the past several decades, the expansion and thickening of woodlands in the western United States has caused a range of ecological changes. Woody expansion often leads to increases in soil organic matter (SOM) pools with implications for both biogeochemical cycling and ecological responses to management strategies aimed at restoration of rangeland ecosystems. Here we directly measure C and N stocks and use simple non-steady-state models to quantify the dynamics of soil C accumulation under and around trees of varied ages in southern Utah woodlands. In the two pinyon-juniper forests of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument studied here, we found approximately 3 kg C/m2 and approximately 0.12 kg N/m2 larger...
This paper discusses the important limitations in several areas of element interaction research and highlights the discrepancies between model formulations and observable ecosystem properties, including carbon dynamics in soils and element ratios and threshold effects. Some difficulties in sampling of individual species within microbial communities and in determining the flexibility of microbial stoichiometry are discussed. Also covered are the new approaches and recent advancements in element cycling research, e.g., resolving the chemical identity of element observations, element analysis for individuals and species, and scaling element interactions from sites to regions. Finally, some elements of a proposed experimental...
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Many soils in southeastern Utah are protected from surface disturbance by biological soil crusts that stabilize soils and reduce erosion by wind and water. When these crusts are disturbed by land use, soils become susceptible to erosion. In this study, we compare a never-grazed grassland in Canyonlands National Park with two historically grazed sites with similar geologic, geomorphic, and geochemical characteristics that were grazed from the late 1800s until 1974. We show that, despite almost 30 years without livestock grazing, surface soils in the historically grazed sites have 38-43% less silt, as well as 14-51% less total elemental soil Mg, Na, P, and Mn content relative to soils never exposed to livestock disturbances....
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Relatively few studies have examined the ecological and biogeochemical effects of livestock grazing in southeastern Utah. In this study, we evaluated how grazing has affected soil organic carbon and nitrogen to a depth of 50 cm in grasslands located in relict and actively-grazed sites in the Canyonlands physiographic section of the Colorado Plateau. We also evaluated differences in plant ground cover and the spatial distribution of soil resources. Results show that areas used by domestic livestock have 20% less plant cover and 100% less soil organic carbon and nitrogen compared to relict sites browsed by native ungulates. In actively grazed sites, domestic livestock grazing also appears to lead to clustered, rather...
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Rock-derived nutrients in soils originate from both local bedrock and atmospheric dust, including dust from far-distant sources. Distinction between fine particles derived from local bedrock and from dust provides better understanding of the landscape-scale distribution and abundance of soil nutrients. Sandy surficial deposits over dominantly sandstone substrates, covering vast upland areas of the central Colorado Plateau, typically contain 5–40% silt plus clay, depending on geomorphic setting and slope (excluding drainages and depressions). Aeolian dust in these deposits is indicated by the presence of titanium-bearing magnetite grains that are absent in the sedimentary rocks of the region. Thus, contents of...
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Regional, high-resolution mapping of vegetation cover and biomass is central to understanding changes to the terrestrial carbon (C) cycle, especially in the context of C management. The third most extensive vegetation type in the United States is pinyon-juniper (P-J) woodland, yet the spatial patterns of tree cover and aboveground biomass (AGB) of P-J systems are poorly quantified. We developed a synoptic remote-sensing approach to scale up pinyon and juniper projected cover (hereafter "cover") and AGB field observations from plot to regional levels using fractional photosynthetic vegetation (PV) cover derived from airborne imaging spectroscopy and Landsat satellite data. Our results demonstrated strong correlations...
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Recent research has dramatically advanced our understanding of soil organic matter chemistry and the role of N in some organic matter transformations, but the effects of N deposition on soil C dynamics remain difficult to anticipate. We examined soil organic matter chemistry and enzyme kinetics in three size fractions (>250 Î&frac14;m, 63–250 Î&frac14;m, and <63 Î&frac14;m) following 6 years of simulated atmospheric N deposition in two ecosystems with contrasting litter biochemistry (sugar maple, Acer saccharum—basswood, Tilia americana and black oak, Quercus velutina—white oak, Q. alba). Ambient and simulated (80-kg NO3 −–N ha−1 year−1) atmospheric N deposition were studied in three replicate stands...


    map background search result map search result map Multiscale analysis of tree cover and aboveground carbon stocks in pinyon-juniper woodlands Influence of Livestock Grazing and Climate on Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis) Dynamics - Rangeland Ecology & Management Controls of Bedrock Geochemistry on Soil and Plant Nutrients in Southeastern Utah Biogeochemical and ecological impacts of livestock grazing in semi-arid southeastern Utah, USA Soil carbon storage responses to expanding pinyon–juniper populations in southern Utah Multi-Decadal Impacts of Grazing on Soil Physical and Biogeochemical Properties in Southeast Utah Atmospheric dust in modern soil on aeolian sandstone, Colorado Plateau (USA): Variation with landscape position and contribution to potential plant nutrients Compositional trends in aeolian dust along a transect across the southwestern United States Nitrogen deposition effects on soil organic matter chemistry are linked to variation in enzymes, ecosystems and size fractions Controls of Bedrock Geochemistry on Soil and Plant Nutrients in Southeastern Utah Biogeochemical and ecological impacts of livestock grazing in semi-arid southeastern Utah, USA Multi-Decadal Impacts of Grazing on Soil Physical and Biogeochemical Properties in Southeast Utah Atmospheric dust in modern soil on aeolian sandstone, Colorado Plateau (USA): Variation with landscape position and contribution to potential plant nutrients Nitrogen deposition effects on soil organic matter chemistry are linked to variation in enzymes, ecosystems and size fractions Influence of Livestock Grazing and Climate on Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis) Dynamics - Rangeland Ecology & Management Soil carbon storage responses to expanding pinyon–juniper populations in southern Utah Multiscale analysis of tree cover and aboveground carbon stocks in pinyon-juniper woodlands Compositional trends in aeolian dust along a transect across the southwestern United States