Spatial heterogeneity in Chihuahuan Desert vegetation

Implications for sampling methods in semi-arid ecosystems

Laura F Huenneke, Dennis Clason, Esteban Muldavin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Patchiness of above-ground vegetation, such as that in semi-arid grasslands and shrublands, can pose problems in sampling plant cover, biomass and productivity. We present a method of measuring above-ground plant biomass and production that can be applied consistently among vegetation types and that generates seasonal, spatially-explicit results. Results from 15 sites within the Jornada Basin (Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico, U.S.A.) confirm considerable patchiness and non-normal distributions of plant biomass, even in grasslands. However, tests of adequacy of sample size and of sample error associated with the regression-based estimates of biomass confirmed that the estimates of above-ground net primary productivity are sufficiently precise to be useful in comparisons of both shrub-dominated and grassland sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-270
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume47
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Chihuahuan Desert
desert
grasslands
vegetation
ecosystems
ecosystem
grassland
patchiness
biomass
sampling
ground vegetation
ground cover plants
shrublands
vegetation types
productivity
aboveground biomass
primary productivity
shrubland
shrubs
methodology

Keywords

  • Bouteloua eriopoda
  • Chihuahuan Desert
  • Jornada LTER program
  • Larrea tridentata
  • Net primary productivity
  • Prosopis glandulosa
  • Semi-arid ecosystems
  • Spatial heterogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Ecology

Cite this

Spatial heterogeneity in Chihuahuan Desert vegetation : Implications for sampling methods in semi-arid ecosystems. / Huenneke, Laura F; Clason, Dennis; Muldavin, Esteban.

In: Journal of Arid Environments, Vol. 47, No. 3, 2001, p. 257-270.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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