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1. Soil disturbance by animals affects the availability of water, nutrients, sediment and seeds, which are critical for the maintenance of functional ecosystems. We examined long-lived faunal structures across six vegetation communities in the northern Chihuahuan desert of New Mexico, USA, testing the proposition that disturbances in undesertified grassland differ in magnitude and effect from those in desertified grassland. 2. Vertebrate and invertebrate disturbances totalled 18.9 structures ha−1 across 18 sites. The most common were pits and mounds of American badgers (Taxidea taxus, 32%), nests of the ant Aphaenogaster cockerelli (18.8%) and mounds of kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spectabilis, 31%). 3. Desertification...
In semiarid complex terrain, the landscape creates spatial niches for different types of vegetation through the effects of aspect, slope and curvature on the water and energy balance at the soil surface. The ecohydrology of rangelands is defined by the interaction of soils, plants and climate occurring on a topographic surface. While these interactions have been studied for subtle terrain, little is known about the controls exerted by terrain position, in particular terrain aspect, on ecosystem processes. Furthermore, differential plant establishment can lead to measurable differences in rates of soil development, which in turn can affect soil hydraulic properties and the surface water balance. In this study, we...
Eolian dust constitutes most of the pedogenic material in latePleistocene and Holocene soils of many arid regions. Comparison ofthe compositions and influx rates of modern dust with the eoliancomponent of dated soils at 24 sites in southern Nevada andCalifornia yields information on: (1) the composition and influxrate of dust in late Pleistocene and Holocene soils, (2) paleoclimateand its effects on the genesis of aridic soils, especially withregard to "dust events", (3) the timing and relative contribution ofdust from playa sources versus alluvial sources, and (4) the effectsof accumulation of fines in soil horizons. The A and B horizons ofsoils formed on gravelly alluvial-fan deposits in the study area aresimilar...

    map background search result map search result map Quaternary Soils and Dust Deposition in Southern Nevada and California Quaternary Soils and Dust Deposition in Southern Nevada and California